Curse of The Third

You’re a seasoned Mother

You’ve birthed before

You did it well 

You know the score

You know your body

Your know your mind

But third time ’round

Here’s what you’ll find:

You’ll be told it was just luck

And to forget all you’ve inferred

For anything can happen now,

This is The Curse of The Third.


I would like to talk about a Big Issue in women’s rights, based on the poem above and this quote below from Glosswitch’s Independent article (my bold):

In addition to the pain, there is also the risk. When I rang the hospital in labour with my third child, I was told (unhelpfully, in my view) that “third ones are notoriously difficult”. Looking back, I suppose it may have been to stop me getting ideas above my station and deciding I was now an expert at this labour business. Giving birth safely once or twice provides no guarantee that a third time will go to plan.

(via Independent: As Kate Middleton gives birth to a baby boy, we need to talk about her ‘public property’ womb and misogyny in the monarchy — Old Wives’ Tales)

I am pulling out this quote because I too was told this bullshit about The Third.  Along with the ‘can’t plan for birth’ myth, this kind of care provider extolled nonsense serves only to take away women’s confidence and autonomy, reminding them they are nothing.

I’ve spoken, at length, before about the trouble with the word ‘plan’ and ‘What if’s’.  It is so ingrained in our western birth culture that birth must be medicalised, is dangerous and uncontrollable, that we must ‘leave our dignity at the door‘ and accept the conveyorbelt of standardise care.  If a woman dares to be seen or heard, she is accused of being a ‘birthzilla’. We have simultaneously over-sexualised and infantislised women, which makes birthing confronting and terrifying.  It is easier to hand over to an ‘authority’ and mentally disengage.  On top of this, Consent is not all it is meant to be.  Enough is enough!

As long as we ignore Women’s Rights in birth and mothering, brushing it off as old fashioned or ‘essentialist’, we are doing ourselves – as a society – a HUGE disservice.

Cartoonist David Sipress Cognitive Dissonance

More poetry (and commentary) on this theme:

To Birth Plan or not to Birth Plan a pastiche

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