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Mayim Bialik Touches Off Heated Childbirth Debate: When is Natural Wrong?

By AD Lynn |

mayim bialik childbirthIn a thoughtful piece appearing in Self magazine (and online at MSNBC.com), writer Taffy Brodesser-Akner looks at her own experience with childbirth, and considers things she might do differently on her second try. She also speaks with Mayim Bialik (hello, Blossom!), who is a spokesperson for the nonprofit Holistic Moms Network. I won’t recap the entire article, since it’s well worth reading yourself. Instead, here’s a snippet of what Bialik had to say, and the bit that’s setting Twitter and Blogosphere tongues wagging:

Bialik has two sons, ages 4 and 2, and with her first, tried and failed to have a home birth (the boy ended up being born in the hospital when, after 3 days of labor, she wasn’t dialated enough). Why was she so set on a home birth? “We wanted to do everything we could to reduce the possibility of intervention. A culture that encourages you to let someone else tell you when to push instead of feeling it yourself scared me. I wanted to have power over my experience. Not to be a martyr but because my body was made to do this.”

But are all women’s bodies made to do this? the author asks. Because for some women, without intervention, the baby or the mother would die. Bialik responded to the author by email:

“There are those among us who believe that if the baby can’t survive a home labor, it is OK for it to pass peacefully,” she writes. “I do not subscribe to this, but I know that some feel that … if a baby cannot make it through birth, it is not favored evolutionarily.”

Kudos to Bialik for not believing this, but it’s tough to support her for repeating the frighteningly absurd claim without totally debunking it. The author reacts immediately: “I think about my appendectomy, back in 2003. Had I not made it to the hospital in time, I would be dead. What would it be like to refuse medical intervention? I’d call my family, say my good-byes. ‘I’m sorry,’ I’d say. ‘But I’m not evolutionarily favored. It’s time for me to go.’”

What are your thoughts? Have you read the article?

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About AD Lynn

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AD Lynn

Allison Lynn is a writer and editor whose articles have appeared in publications ranging from PEOPLE to The New York Times Book Review. She blogged for Babble’s Famecrawler, and authored the novels "The Exiles" and "Now You See It". Read more of her work on her blog, Allison Lynn.

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4 thoughts on “Mayim Bialik Touches Off Heated Childbirth Debate: When is Natural Wrong?

  1. m2h says:

    Mmm, probably an easy position to take if you’ve not lost a child. Also makes them right, not matter what. If the child dies, well, she wouldn’t have survived anyway, evolutionarily speaking, so it’s not the fault of the homebirth. Irresponsible nutbars (and this coming from someone who’s all for minimal intervention and midwife-supported home birth).

  2. Leanne says:

    There are some fringe cultures and religions who do subscribe to the “let God – or fate – be responsible for the health and safety of me and my child” but those are and always have been extremists. The vast majority of people who support choice in birth setting also believe in appropriate health care as well and they know that the only way to have safe home births is with appropriate health care. I am very lucky to live in a culture of government funded health care that includes midwifery and supports a woman’s right to choice of birth place. I never once had to worry that I would be unsafe in the hands of my chosen health care provider.

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