Homebirth shows woman at her most powerful? That’s a joke, right?

It would be laughable if it were not so utterly pathetic.

I’m referring to the latest nonsensical mantra circulating in among homebirth advocates: “Homebirth shows woman at her most powerful.

No doubt that comes as an utter shock to the women of Afghanistan and other 3rd world countries who are dying in droves because they have no alternative to homebirths.

No doubt that would have come as an utter shock to the countless generations of women who desperately yearned for political power, economic power, and the opportunity to develop their intellectual gifts. In the view of the patriarchal societies they fought against, giving birth was all the “power” that women needed or should be allowed to have.

No doubt that would have come as an utter shock to Indira Ghandi, Golda Meir, and Margaret Thatcher. All were mothers, yet all sought and obtained substantial political and economic power as leaders of their own nations.

No doubt that would come as an utter shock to women who are diplomats, bankers and professors, like Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, International Monetary Fund leader Christine Lagarde, and Brown University President Ruth Simmons. These women wield real power in the halls of Washington, the banks of the world and the higher education system.

No, homebirth does not show woman at her most powerful. It shows woman at her most gullible and powerless.

Only the gullible could be tricked into believing that a natural bodily function has anything to do with power. Only the most powerless could possibly convince themselves that a bodily function that even a comatose woman can accomplish is a sign of power.

Only the most gullible (due to lack of education in science, statistics, and obstetrics) could believe that something almost all mothers who ever existed have already done (or died trying to do) is a sign of their power.

Only those most gullible (due to ignorance of basic history) would dare to suggest that the traditional excuse for preventing women from gaining and wielding political, economic and intellectual power is actually valid.

Only the most gullible and powerless would believe that reflexive defiance of authority, petulance and resentment are signs of power.

We know what power is and what it isn’t. Power is the ability to control one’s own destiny, not one’s bodily functions. Power is the ability to develop one’s intellectual gifts, not one’s pelvic musculature. Power is the ability to rule over nations, not infants.

There is nothing powerful about giving birth, but there is something unspeakably pathetic about believing that there is.