Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Too Posh To Push

Last week at a restaurant on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, a group of women gathered for lunch, martinis, and to discuss their Cesarean sections. There was one pregnant woman, sipping cranberry juice and seltzer, she was deciding whether or not to become a member of “Too Posh To Push”, a collective of women who have scheduled and advocate for other women to schedule cesarean sections so that they do not need to enact the ‘primitive’ and ‘uncivilized’ drama of childbirth. The existence of the “Too Posh To Push” movement makes the embodied experience of childbirth a performance necessary only for poor, the rural, or those who (gasp) chose it

Who ‘should’ be having babies, and the method in which they do, is clearly socially constituted.
By its very animal nature childbirth is a rupture of civility and femininity. It is also a physical rupture, a rupture of skin, of water, of fluid and blood, and of two bodies separating. The “Too Posh to Push” women are advocating to enact a prescribed discourse of motherhood which says that the blood, sweat, tears and moans; the fluids and sounds of childbirth are threatening to their identity and thus, the performance of entry into motherhood. Those who advocate for it promote staying ‘honeymoon fresh’, suggesting intrinsically that after being stretched out women become less desirable to their men. The childbirth ‘event’ is thus planned and carefully staged within notions of ‘good’ femininity (one can even wear makeup and not sweat it off), rather than the random, un-timable and ‘out of control’ event of natural childbirth. The women scheduling cesarean sections, separate their ‘self’, their notions of motherhood, from their bodies. The fact that the medical institution agrees to these planned Cesarean sections speaks volumes about where pregnant women are located in ‘the body politic’.

Christina Aguilera is the latest celebrity to join the club. Christina honey, labor lasts a day or two. A scar will mess up your bikini style forever.

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