This article sums up a rather ridiculous problem in our society. Competitive birthing and who gets to set The Standard.
Kate Middleton, apparently, has had three uncomplicated births. Keira Knightly, apparently, had a rather difficult and unpleasant birth. Kate Middleton, apparently, had a birth plan. Keira Knightly, apparently, felt they were pointless. Draw whatever conclusions you want from this.
Kate Middleton’s approach to birthing, is apparently “unrealistic”. And yet it happened.
Likewise, Keira Knightly’s experience of birth happened.
Neither is the ‘poster woman’ for birth. Neither experience is more realistic than the other. There is no ‘Standard’. So why do the media keep reporting like there is some sort of competition where we can’t decide if the trophy goes to ‘the easiest’, ‘the hardest’, ‘the shortest’, ‘the longest’, or some other random measure?
One woman knew the expectations upon her. Reportedly, the royal birth plan was incredibly thorough. There were multiple pathways. It was really a Birth Map, by the sounds of things. Some think Kate Middleton was forced to present herself perfectly after the birth. I do not think this is the case. I think, her birth went very well and she took advantage of the oxytocin high to relocate quickly – satisfy the waiting press – and getting down to the business of being a newborn mother privately. This is not a ‘standard’ circumstance. It can not be held up as ‘The Standard’ for everyone else. This aspect of Kate Middleton’s preparations was unique to her extraordinary circumstances.
I suspect, that because of the thorough preparations and planning, if the royal birth had not been conducive to a royal appearance, it would not have played out as such. A royal announcement would have been made, and the press would have been moved on.
That the birth was conducive to the appearance, which from the footage was on Kate’s terms, should be celebrated. An awesome birth, a new baby, a happy couple. Fabulous news. It is their story. It is what it is.
Keira Knightly shares her birth graphically, apparently, in an essay to appear in a new book called Feminists Don’t Wear Pink (and other lies). She seems to think her experience is more realistic, and therefore more ‘right’ to share.
It seems odd that only one story can be told.
And that that story must be everyone’s story.
My opinion is that if you decide to ‘go with the flow’, your reality may be more like Knightly’s. If you decide to be informed, taking time to understand birth physiology and the medical approach to birth, and preparing a Birth Map based on your unique circumstances, your reality may be more like Middleton’s (minus the media circus). There are many storylines. And in reality – you add another unique story.
There is no one way. Taking ownership of your experience, and not comparing it to anybody else’s, is a much more positive approach. Tearing down someone who presents a positive experience is hardly helpful to anyone.
Whether Knightly’s essay has been represented out of context or not is not the issue. The issue is the media focus on competitive birthing, perpetuating the myth that only one story can be the real one.