Like anarchists and skinheads, with irrational grudges, ideological arguments and every debate turning into a fight. That’s how mothers-to-be and obstetricians treat each other. What is strange about it is that both sides are interested in the same thing and their objective is the same as the entire society’s: that healthy and happy Czech women give birth to healthy and happy babies.
The war has been intensifying for years. Doctors blame women for a lack of knowledge and for naivety regarding medical issues, while women criticise doctors for being blinded by medicine and saying again and again that childbirth is not a disease, that it is a natural thing – to which doctors reply that medical science makes birth better and safer and so on. None of their arguments is silly, both parties are right, but they still fail to come to mutual terms. Because the main problem rests in a total lack of confidence, in fear, and in doctors and mothers being paranoid about each other.
One doctor, who of course is irritated in advance and unnecessarily offensive, talks about this in a new document called Birth Plan, which will be available for the first time this week to coincide with World Respected Childbirth Week. He compares the problem to automotive repair: When I want to have my car fixed, I find a good mechanic whom I trust and let him do the work. I am not going to question his every single step and ask mistrustfully whether it really is necessary to lubricate it here and to replace this.
He’s right, and the truth is that mothers-to-be don’t trust doctors. In numerous discussions on the internet, in various stories that women tell, the obstetrician is mostly a negative character and it’s almost always his fault. It’s not because he’s incompetent in medical terms, but because he does not ask about the mother-to-be’s wishes, does not explain his decisions, does not offer alternatives, which every good mechanic does do.
Up to here, the comparison to a mechanic is quite apt, but, still, giving birth is not just a technical issue. However, doctors have insurmountable distrust of the nontechnical issues of childbirth. They dread talking about subjective feelings, they trivialize the mystery of birth, they don’t like words like “birth experience”, because the objective actually is to take the baby out of the uterus. By contrast, mothers-to-be are irrationally scared of medical and technical interventions although they can really be the best solution at a given time.
We already know what the result is: Women complaining, scared of any injection and wanting natural behaviour. Doctors complain and don’t want to hear anything. It is into this atmosphere that children are born, and they are really healthy and more or less satisfied. They are born into a neurotic environment of grudges and needless never-ending fights that probably only they will finally resolve.