The Duchess of Sussex has been in the news in recent days for breaking with Royal protocol when it comes to birthing her first child due in the coming weeks.
Not only has she deigned to choose her own (female) doctor, but has also decided where she wants to birth, how she wants to birth and has refused the usual post-baby photoshoot in front of the hospital afterward. This had led to the media dubbing her a ‘birth brat’.
How very dare she? She’s the Duchess of Sussex!
The cheek of her! Imagine having autonomy over one’s body (royal or not!). Imagine taking the time to go through all your options and choosing the ones that work best for you, your body and your baby?
It infuriates me that the moment a woman decides to stand up for what she feels is the best choice for her, she is instantly labeled, in this case, ‘a brat’.
It’s not just the media that do this, we do it to each other. I can’t tell you how many eye-rolls I got when I decided to try hypnobirthing or when I said I wanted to birth in the water. Most often these eye-rolls came from women in my own social circle.
Birth Brat? Her body, her choice
What is so wrong with the Duchess of Sussex making choices about her own body and her own care? Why are we all so invested in the choices of women that have absolutely no relevance in our own lives?
I would love to see a world where a woman can be free to make these choices without ridicule or scorn, where we realise that what is right for one woman isn’t necessarily right for another? When we support each other in our decision-making and realise that women can be trusted with their own care?
A healthy baby is the bare minimum
Despite the oft-repeated adage when it comes to birth that a healthy baby is all that matters, it is not. A healthy baby is the bare minimum. By including women in their care and by making them feel safe, the numbers of women suffering from birth trauma can be drastically reduced. So can the long-ranging effects that it can have on the whole family.
In the UK alone it is estimated that 30,000 women suffer from birth trauma every year! This can lead to mental illnesses such as depression, anxiety, OCD and post-traumatic stress disorder.
Given that maternal mental health services are so shockingly under-resourced, it makes sense that we do everything we can to prevent these illnesses from taking hold in the first place. That starts with a woman’s pregnancy and birth experience.
Well done Meghan Markle!
I applaud the Duchess of Sussex for sticking to her guns in getting the care that is right for her and if that makes her birth brat, then I want to be a birth brat too!
Birth Brats Unite!