And, actually, this time this one didn't really irritate too much. Mostly because Joanna Kavenna, a mother of two herself, acknowledges that each woman's "choice" is personal to her, and based on her history, both medical and emotional, the circumstances she finds herself in, the size and position of her baby and a million other factors, over most of which she has absolutely no control.
But she did get me swearing at this:
Now it seems we have lost confidence in our ability to give birth naturally: today one in four babies is born by caesarean, up from one in 10 in 1990"Why, why, why, why, why, can't she and any of the other hundreds of people who opine on this subject not see what seems so perfectly obvious to me: this isn't about our confidence in ourselves; women don't choose to have caesarians. The medical profession chooses for you. Women simply, in the main, do what they are told is best for them and their baby.
Look around at your friends and relations. I bet lots of them will have had, or their partners will have had, caesarians. How many of them actually, prior to the birth of their first baby, decided, with no medical requirement to do so, to have a caesarian? One? None?
How many of them, rather, after a 24, or 36, or 58-hour labour, exhausted and frightened, were medically advised that it was necessary; or were told their baby was breech and the hospital didn't have enough midwives with the necessary expertise to deliver a breech baby; or they were (like me) having identical twins and were informed (although it turns out this isn't the policy at all hospitals) that the risks to mother and babies meant a caesarian was the safest option? Pretty much all of them, I suspect.
So why do we say this is about maternal choice? Why do we use words like "elective" caesarian, when what we mean is "planned" or "medically advised", or even "had an absolutely horrendous time last time, culminating in an emergency operation, followed by weeks of painful recovery, and is understandably terrified to go through it again"? Why does the media label four in ten British women "too posh to push"?
Now, I accept that there may be women who really do have the mythical tummy tuck at the same time, or want to time their birth so it fits in with the release of their latest fitness DVD or whatever, but I don't know any of them, and I'd be pretty surprised if they make up even a thousandth of a percent of the many, many women who have caesarians, on medical advice, and against what they had originally hoped for in this country every year.
So can we please, please, stop beating women up about this? Why can't we accept that any delivery that results in a healthy mother and healthy baby (or babies) is a successful delivery, whether it costs the NHS more or less and whether it is the one we planned or not?