I came across this comic on Facebook. It originated with NAMI of Oregon, an organization devoted to helping people with mental illness, and it was designed to satirize the way that people often chide those with mental illness, as if the illness were a choice or as if simply changing outlook would cure it. It asks us to think about the way we would react if physical illness were brushed off the way that mental illness often is.
The comic was being shared because someone thought that the memes were strikingly similar to those of natural childbirth advocacy.
That got me thinking:
In the world of natural childbirth, women’s needs ARE brushed off as if they are irrelevant or if their pain or illness or complications were there fault and could easily be treated with a better attitude and trust in birth.
The original comic is also being shared on the Facebook page of a prominent homebirth advocate who complains that she has heard these memes used to denigrate those with psychiatric issues. She fails to see that she (and other natural childbirth advocates), use exactly the same memes — the same blame, dismissiveness and insistence that the very real pain and suffering of laboring women could be easily controlled if they simply thought the right thoughts — to belittle women who choose pain relief in labor, experience pregnancy complications, or accept (or even request!) interventions in childbirth.
Ironic, isn’t it?