The three little pigs, natural childbirth edition

The Tthree little pigs kids story

Hi, folks! It’s Ima Frawde, CPM (counterfeit professional midwife) here with a retelling of that favorite children’s story, The Three Little Pigs.

I and my colleagues have performed a hermeneutical analysis of the story and uncovered role of the hegemonic patriarchy within. We’ve rewritten the story to more closely reflect our values.

[pullquote align=”right” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]Wolves are natural so there was no reason for the pigs to fear.[/pullquote]

Without further ado:

Once upon a time there were three little pregnant pigs.

One pig planned a homebirth in her straw house while the second pig planned a birth at the birth center made of wooden sticks. Their midwives came to them for home visits that lasted an hour, they avoided all those unnecessary medical tests, and then they sang and danced all day. Regrettably, the third little pig, having failed to do her research and educate herself, planned to give birth in a brick hospital.

A big wolf saw the two little pigs while they danced and played. No worries: wolves are natural so there was no reason for the pigs to fear. Sadly, many pigs have been socially conditioned by the patriarchal, hegemonic farmers to fear wolves. But these pigs, having educated themselves reasoned that if wolves ate pigs, they wouldn’t be there, all their ancestors having been gobbled up by wolves. They were still here, ergo there was no reason to fear wolves.

But just in case, their midwives taught them wolf affirmations to better trust wolves.

Coincidentally, all three pigs went into labor on the same day. They weren’t due on the same day, but due dates don’t really mean anything (just another way for farmers to frighten pigs), so it didn’t matter that the first pig was 3 weeks past her due date and the second pig was five weeks before hers.

The big wolf went to the first house and huffed and puffed. The first pig became frightened.

“What will happen if the wolf blows down my straw house?” she wailed.

Her midwife reassured her. “There’s no reason to be frightened of wolves. Even if he blows your house down, the hospital is only 10 minutes away.”

The wolf huffed and puffed and blew the straw house down, just as the first little pig was about to give birth. Everyone piled into the midwife’s car, which wouldn’t start. Fortunately, the midwife had an oxygen mask with her, just like the hospital does; unfortunately, the tank to which it was attached was empty. The midwife had been meaning to get a new oxygen tank but couldn’t because of her car trouble.

By the time the midwife had hot wired her car and driven 30 minutes to the hospital (there was traffic so it took longer than anticipated), the piglet had been born vaginally. It was dead, but that didn’t change the first little pig’s feeling of empowerment.

Meanwhile, the big wolf went to the second pig’s birth center that was made from sticks. He huffed and he puffed.

“What will happen if the wolf blows down my birth center made of sticks?” the second pig wailed.

Her midwife reassured her. “There’s no reason to be frightened of wolves. Even if he blows your house down, the hospital is only 10 minutes away.”

The wolf huffed and puffed and blew the stick birth center down, just as the second little pig was about to give birth. Her midwife had no car, so they called for an ambulance. In the meantime the piglet’s umbilical cord had prolapsed. By the time the ambulance arrived the piglet had been born vaginally but had not drawn a breath in 10 minutes. The piglet was transported to the hospital and placed on total body cooling treatments. Sadly the piglet died, but at least the mother was nearby on another floor in the hospital recovering from her massive postpartum hemorrhage. She posted on Facebook to tell her friends that she had had a successful vaginal birth.

Finally, the wolf arrived at the brick hospital where the third pig was in labor.

“Should I be worried the wolf will blow the hospital down?” the pig asked.

“That can’t happen,” she was reassured. “We’ve undertaken many interventions to prepare for exactly this scenario. The brick is just a facade for the hospital’s steel reinforced superstructure, the windows have been wolf-proofed, and in the unlikely event that the wolf breaks in we are prepared to cut him into pieces with a scalpel (a W-section).

The wolf huffed and puffed for hours trying to blow down the brick hospital with the steel reinforced superstructure, but he could not. Ultimately he went away. In the meantime, the third little pig had given birth to a healthy piglet.

What did everyone learn from their experience?

The third pig was happy and grateful that she had given birth to a healthy piglet in the hospital. The other two pigs were already planning for their healing second births. This time, though, there would be no attendant and they would both give birth at home. They were happy to have had vaginal births, but sad that their piglets had died. Surely they hadn’t trusted wolves enough. This time they would really trust wolves so they were building their new houses out of tissue paper!

  • The Computer Ate My Nym

    The poor wolf. It didn’t even get dinner out of all that work. Couldn’t you amend the story a little? Maybe the wolf met the doula on the way home from trying to blow down the hospital and gobbled her or him up.

    • The Bofa on the Sofa

      The moms in the straw and stick houses gave the wolf a good meal after they had their babies.

  • Irène Delse

    “Wolf affirmation”! Love it XD

  • guest

    I am reminded of when Hurricane Sandy forced the evacuation of a Manhattan hospital because that “wolf” DID manage to blow down their power supply. Backup generators kicked in and maintained the life-saving machinery for delicate patients, but evacuation was still necessary. The backup generators gave them they time they needed to coordinate it safely, and the NICU nurses walked down flights of stairs squeezing oxygen into infant lungs. Every infant survived the initial transfer

    Even so, the hospital studied what could have been done better in case there ever is a next time. You don’t trust birth like you don’t trust a wolf OR a hurricane.

    http://abcnews.go.com/Health/nicu-nurses-saved-babies-remember-harrowing-triumphant-hurricane/story?id=17632993

    http://www.medscape.org/viewarticle/835535

    • BeatriceC

      I no longer recall the details, but the hospital situation in South Florida after Hurricane Andrew was horrible. South Dade county was vastly underprepared because the storm was supposed to hit significantly farther north and took an 11th hour jog to the south, leaving a huge chunk of the county vastly under-prepared to face a direct hit from such a huge storm (we were well prepared to get the outer bands, but nothing like what we actually got). If I recall correctly, the hospital in the worst area had issues because the storm took out their generator, as well as huge chunks of the building, and the roads were impassible, so there was no way to transfer. Andrew was a storm like nothing I’ve seen before or since. When we surfaced after the storm we discovered that somebody’s full sized refrigerator/freezer had been picked up and thrown through the roof of my grandmother’s house. Imagine the kind of wind strength needed to do that. The local telephone switching office was built of steel-reinforced concrete (18 inches thick), yet something managed to blow a roughly 3 foot hole through one of the outside walls. Sometimes the wolf does get through even the brick houses.

      • guest

        Very true. Generally speaking, though, hospitals are more willing to acknowledge when they’ll need outside help than CPMs are. But hurricanes don’t give a lot of warning. At least they give more than earthquakes.

  • Karen in SC

    Read about this for real – in Midwifery Magazine 2008 http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17889971

    • Karen in SC

      OBJECTIVE: to explore the ways of knowing used by the midwife while attending women during childbirth through textual analysis of poems written by American midwives.

      DESIGN: a hermeneutic phenomenology and human science research method inspired by van Manen was used. Midwifery ways of knowing during childbirth were thematically derived from 10 poems written by midwives about attending childbirth or the experience of being a midwife. Textual analysis included examination of the poems as a whole, via verse and metaphor, and via individual lines of prose.

      • The Bofa on the Sofa

        What?
        The?
        Fuck?

        • Daleth

          I would love to see someone try a study like this on a real profession. For instance: “To explore the ways of knowing used by the lawyer while at trial through textual analysis of poems written by American lawyers.” I’m sure that would fly really well with malpractice insurers.

          Example:

          THE KARMA OF PHARMA, OR, INTUITIVELY LITIGATING BIOMEDICAL PATENTS

          As I explained to the jury
          My client
          Was not liable for patent infringement
          Because
          What is a patent anyway?
          And what is infringement?
          And what is “ownership”
          Of this kaleidoscope of human
          Innovation
          Imagination
          Intuition?
          Who can own inspiration?
          And anyway
          The allegedly infringed invention
          Was actually really complicated
          I don’t even understand it
          Myself
          It’s all about molecules
          (Who can own a molecule?)
          And even if you could own
          Something so ineffable
          My client is at heart a simple man
          So how
          Could such a simple man
          Copy something
          So complicated?
          Yet somehow
          For reasons I intuit must be karmic
          We lost.

          • *clap clap clap*

          • Amazed

            I nominate you to the Annual Poetry Award, Daleth!

            On the topic: well, we have always known that the woman who matters in this “with the woman” mentality is the midwife so why the hell are we even surprised?

          • Guest

            Okay, so without going into too much identifying detail, one of the things I do as a humanities scholar is study the representation of things in the arts. So, for example, I know I’ve seen a book on the representation of lawyers in film. It’s a useful area of study, because we gain some of our understanding of social roles and professions through their representations in entertainment media.

            But the scholars and I who do this do NOT publish our studies in the lawyer’s professional magazines or in medical journals, you know? And I am specifically interested in how the imagination of a social role in entertainment is different from the reality of that profession.

          • Irène Delse

            Back in my student days, I took a course on cultural anthropology. Not everyone in that discipline studies exotic cultures. In fact, many researchers nowadays focus on the workplace in industrialised countries and the lived experience of farmers, factory workers – or healthcare providers. In this context, they may study what the members of a profession say about themselves. Poems by midwives about their profession would be very interesting to an anthropologist studying, say, the culture of midwifery and how it has evolved (or not) in response to progress in medicine. But that paper would be published in an anthropology or social sciences journal, not a midwifery venue!

          • BeatriceC

            That was my thought. I can see studying poetry or prose from a sociological/anthropological point of view, and it would probably be quite interesting. Actually, the NCB crowd probably should study the writings of midwives and women from past eras regarding pregnancy, childbirth and early infancy. Maybe it would open their eyes to how brutal and deadly childbirth really is.

          • guest

            Yes, anthropologists also do this. They also wouldn’t go around claiming this should shape actual medical practice!

          • An Actual Attorney

            This made my week! I would like to use it someday in a brief.

          • The Bofa on the Sofa

            My only criticism is that it doesn’t reference the lawyers jumping off the cliff. That should be implied at the end.

          • Daleth

            Be my guest! For what, after all, is copyright? Who can own poetic inspiration?

          • Gatita

            Literally LOL’ing at my work desk!

          • momofone

            Me too!

          • Deborah

            11 out of 10 for this! LOL!

          • Roadstergal

            I regret I have only one upvote to give to this post.

      • Valerie

        Wow. I’m not sure how they can read some poems and come to the conclusion that “Care of women during childbirth can be enhanced with the use of multiple knowers and multiple ways of knowing. “

        • Daleth

          BINGO!

        • LaMont

          So… multiple doctors (knowers) and multiple diagnostic/monitoring pieces of equipment (ways of knowing)?

          • Valerie

            I was thinking the same thing. Even if we take the analysis at face value- that we can understand how midwives make decisions and care for women based on their poetry- it still doesn’t tell us if other ways of knowing or the quantity of knowers have any positive impact on mothers or babies. I think the authors must have used yet another way of knowing to come to that conclusion.

      • Irène Delse

        I know this stuff is out of postmodernist studies, but this talk of “many ways of knowing” reminds me of the Creationists pushing to devaluate science and edge it out of the classroom. Oh, they have “other ways of knowing”, too! I wonder if the midwives in question are aware of what they are echoing here…

        • Rach

          I see it crop up in various fields. “Other ways of knowing” really just means “science was hard for me at school”.

          • Rach

            Or else “science doesn’t tell me what I want to hear “. It’s always in opposition to science.

          • AirPlant

            Lactivists man. Science is OMG AMAZING AND A VALIDATION OF ALL THAT IS GOOD IN THE WORLD when it finds those three magical IQ points but a tool of the patriarchy when the results swing the other way. I will never forget Meg Nagle posting that she would never believe any study that claimed ill effects from breastfeeding. It was a fight to resist the urge to tell her off.

          • Gatita

            It’s also a misguided attempt to value the knowledge of women. The problem is it’s identified as being in opposition to science, which is supposedly patriarchal. Certainly a lot of scientific institutions are patriarchal but the capacity to understand and practice science is not uniquely male, regardless of what our culture says. Look at the number of women going to medical school and into the bio sciences.

      • Bombshellrisa

        I probably need a drink or some drug you find at a club to make sense of this.

        • BeatriceC

          I have a fully stocked bar (temporarily relocated to the master bedroom closet…doesn’t leave much room for clothes). We could have a virtual club scene to drown our frustrations. The advantage of a virtual club is no getting puking drunk and no hangovers. Plus we can have whoever we want as bartenders, since it’s all virtual.

          • AirPlant

            elderflower and ginger martini?

          • Charybdis

            Singapore Sling, please! With an amaretto sour chaser.

          • BeatriceC

            *slides drinks to both you and AirPlant*

            I think I’ll stick with my rum runner on the rocks. 5oz of alcohol of some sort (including a 151 floater) in a 7 oz drink.

            http://www.florida-keys-guide.com/rum-runner-recipe/

          • Charybdis

            Rum runners are good too!

          • BeatriceC

            As long as they’re not of the frozen variety. But I can’t stand frozen drinks, so I might be biased.

          • Charybdis

            I like the frozen drinks; kind of like an adult icee or snowcone.

            I had a lovely concoction at Dave & Busters: it was an alcoholic blueberry lemonade with a side shot of strawberrry moonshine. It was really good, and the moonshine shot was *exceptionally* good.

          • Who?

            Gin and tonic, thanks! Heavy on the tonic unless you want me snoring in the corner two drinks in.

          • BeatriceC

            You and MrC have the same tastes in adult beverages. Any particular gin? He’s got quite the selection.

          • Who?

            I’ll let him choose for me, I’m sure it will be delicious.

            Can I say I’ve just had breakfast so it might be a little early in the day here, though no doubt the sun is over the yardarm somewhere.

          • BeatriceC

            I’ll have to text him to ask. He’s in Los Angeles at the moment. I’m a rum girl, though I can’t afford my taste in rum, so I have to settle for “second best” selections.

          • MI Dawn

            I’ll have gin, but bitter lemon as the mixer rather than tonic, if you have it.

          • Deborah

            Vodka and orange please. Are we allowed to slip in a Valium? You Know – considering it is virtual.

          • BeatriceC

            Funny thing is that I’m reading this is an attempt to pass the time in the forever long line at the pharmacy to pick up a Valium prescription (and others).

          • Bombshellrisa

            I am serving up classic daiquiris or straight up rye because that is what we have. If you are serving, then a gin and tonic please.

          • BeatriceC

            One Gin and tonic coming right up!

      • RMY

        My wife read that and just said “the world is dumber for that being written down”

      • Jennifer

        Thanks for sharing. I took a qualitative research class once. I’m sure it has a place but this kind of stuff gives it a bad name. Also I wonder who funded this. Ugh.

      • CSN0116

        OMG I thought this was satire that the clever Karen in SC wrote up to amuse us… totally missed the 2008 citation above.

        This is real?!

  • corblimeybot

    I LOLed at “W-section”.

  • lawyer jane

    O/T: Really interesting piece in the NYT about the US’s shamefully high infant mortality rate. http://www.nytimes.com/2016/06/07/upshot/the-us-is-failing-in-infant-mortality-starting-at-one-month-old.html

    Key points for readers of this blog:
    1) The excess in infant mortality is *after* one month – not in the first 28 days of life, the neonatal period. For the neonatal period, the US is doing very well. So the canard that NCB’ers use that “babies are dying in hospitals!” is completely wrong. The authors basically say that we will not improve the rate solely on a focus on health at birth/prenatal care – that does not seem to be what’s causing the deaths.
    2) The excess infant mortality is linked to SIDS and accidental deaths among lower-income women’s babies.
    3) The recommendation the authors make is increased home health care visits, but they don’t go into any additional details – like the role of unsafe cosleeping, breastfeeding, smoking, etc, which might all be linked to poverty.

    • Amy Tuteur, MD

      Exactly what I’ve been saying for years!

    • AA

      and look what commenters come out of the woodwork on NYTimes….Bradley Diet advocates!

      • Gatita

        FFS.

    • lawyer jane

      Some posters on the NYTimes piece are suggesting that lack of maternity leave could be the issue. I find that plausible – leaving very tiny infants in daycare or with untrained carers could lead to more unsafe sleep conditions and SIDS/suffocation.

      • T.

        Since the cost of trained childcare is so high, women could be forced to leave their babies with sub-par carers, maybe? That could be parte of it.

      • BeatriceC

        Wait! Why would we ever institute actual solutions to the real problems! That doesn’t make any sense. We’ll just judge moms for using formula and disposable diapers and tell them it’s all their fault that their kids are sicker than rich, white kids because they formula fed instead of actually making it possible for them to stay home and care for their babies in the early months/years.

      • Inmara

        For me it seems like a no-brainer that lack of maternity leave is the biggest culprit (and especially affects poor families). But there are already lactivists in comments who blame formula, how predictable!

      • An Actual Attorney

        Personal nitpick — lack of PARENTAL leave. Parents, regardless of sex or gender, should have time off to care for a baby. That leave can be simultaneous or stacked. I also believe that if more men took time off, women would suffer less sex discrimination, as now there is definitely an attitude that a woman will take time off for babies. That’s not irrational. If everyone did it, both women and men would be better off.

        • BeatriceC

          My brother in law had to threaten a lawsuit to be able to take time off when my nephew was born and sick enough to need NICU. His employer was actually calling him demanding he come into work while my sister was actually in labor. At the time he was a graphic designer for a very well known online medical information site that starts with “web”. There’s a reason I refuse to click on any link that goes back to them or or any of their affiliate sites.

          • An Actual Attorney

            Good for him. Appalling on the company’s part. Men are starting to sue for their leave rights, and I think that’s a very good thing. When my co-worker announced he was taking paternity leave, he had to explain to our then-boss (a) what it was and (b) that is was in our company policies. The boss kept calling on his leave for questions that “just had to be answered.” He kept meticulous records of the time he spent working and then when he came back, demanded to be given that same amount of time off later in the year when his wife had a trial (she is also a lawyer). I cheered!

          • Who?

            My son is a policeman, and his two immediate male superiors are both on family leave this month.

            The more senior one is about to be dad for the first time, and told the boy to phone him anytime while he’s on leave. The boy asked what i thought of that, I told him to ring the next town, on the basis that the man had no idea what was coming, and also that this was actual leave, not some kind of half at work scenario.

          • An Actual Attorney

            I thought the same way before my first. Thought it would be like a boring 3 month sabbatical. Hah! I got one of those defective mumsnet versions, and have never been so sleep deprived in my life.

          • KeeperOfTheBooks

            A friend of mine had the labor from hell–two days of prodromal labor followed by 20+ hours of the real thing. Mom and baby were fine at the end, but in a not-even-remotely surprising turn of events, Dad was almost as exhausted as mom from being up for 72 hours+ with a few minimal catnaps here and there. When he called work to notify them he was taking the day off, he was told his options were a) come in or b) get fired. He was a low-level manager at a restaurant at the time, and though the pay was crap, he couldn’t afford to lose the job, so he went in. Never mind that he was the person responsible for taking temperatures and verifying how long food had been sitting out, and there’s no way in hell I’d have wanted the person in charge of my food’s safety to have been up for three days straight beforehand…
            Higher management was also shocked, SHOCKED that he found a better job and turned in his two weeks’ notice a week later, after ALL they’d done for him!

          • BeatriceC

            Good for your friend! I’m sorry he had to go in like that, and that’s the sort of thing that would keep me out of restaurants even if I didn’t have allergy issues that keep me out of them anyway. Servers and cooks have it even worse than management. No sick leave and threats of being fired if they don’t come in even when they’re extremely sick. One friend of mine in college got fired because she didn’t check herself out of the hospital AMA and come into work. It’s insane. I’m really glad your friend found a better job and hope he’s much happier.

        • swbarnes2

          I looked up rules in Sweden, I think, and they have a quota system…there is so much leave split between the two parents, but some of it is earmarked just for Dad; he can’t give it to Mom; if he doesn’t take it, it’s just gone. But yeah, it needs to be mandatory, so companies aren’t tempted to hire men on the grounds that they will be out of the office less.

    • Gatita

      Kids are at risk when their mothers are couch surfing or living in a car or staying in a domestic violence situation because the guy who beats her also pays the bills or lives in a home with drug use that she can’t afford to leave and, and, and. Life for poor people is incredibly difficult. Not to mention incomprehensible to a big chunk of the upper middle class.

      • BeatriceC

        I taught in one of the worst neighborhoods in the entire US. It’s unbelievable the obstacles faced by the extremely poor. I had my own bout with poverty and instability, but my road back to self-sufficiency was made easier by the privilege accorded to me by my color, education, and upper-class upbringing. I had some tough times but they were nowhere even in the same ballpark as what the real* poor people actually go through.

        *I don’t consider that I was ever really “poor”, even though I was living in a homeless shelter for a few months, because of those aforementioned advantages.

        • Gatita

          I know what you mean. I grew up working class and there were times when we were on food stamps and government cheese and Medicaid but that was nothing compared to what other people go through. My parents were both high school grads and were employed (mom was a secretary and then a teacher’s aid, dad was a carpentry), we never went hungry and always had a place to live. Just those things put me at an advantage even before I went to college.

  • QuantumMechanic

    I think in “Sadly, many pigs have been socially conditioned by the patriarchal, hegemonic farmers to fear pigs.” the final “pigs” should be “wolves”.

    • Amy Tuteur, MD

      Thanks! Fixed it.

      • Angie Young-Le

        Also, “and in the unlikely even that the wolf…” even should be event.