Warning: Pregnant readers might want to skip this one.
The silencing of womens’ voices has always been a theme in patriarchy-blaming circles. But to silence us in labour?
Katie Holmes, who has probably suffered enough already, has to undergo a “silent birth” because that’s what’s required under Tom’s nutty Scientological doctrine.
Many of us who have one or more sprogs will remember- unless they were more sensible than me – being snowed by the natural childbirth movement. We’d keep fit and healthy through our pregnancy and then we’d just breeeeeathe through the labour, oh yes we would!
Crap. What we expect of our first labour is one thing, the reality often quite another.
As those on the other side of childbirth will know, there are different stages within labour, and the shortest but most intense part – when your body is getting ready to expel the wee thing – is called “transition”. Aah, Katie, let me talk to you about “transition”.
• Transition phase. This phase can last anywhere from a few minutes to a several hours. It’s here that your partner is most likely to swear at you like a truck driver. (Don’t take it personally; even women who have coped well up to this point often “lose it” during the transition phase.) Contractions last 60 to 90 seconds and come two or three minutes apart.
During this stage, a woman is likely to experience such things as: Trembling, vomiting, irritability, backache, despair (Can I go home now? I’ll come back tomorrow!), feeling hot or cold, need for support (hear that, Tom?), “loss of modesty” (don’t you love that one?), involuntary bowel movements (that’d be after the loss of modesty), belching, farting, and – not surprisingly – wanting to just bloodywell give up, or yelling for drugs.
From my own experience and the birth stories of others I know it’s more like an episode of Little Britain than a gooey spiritual experience. Some of the language might make a pirate blush. You can have your birth plans, but you need to know disinhibition is going to occur. Since Cruise has been through the process more than once with Our Nic, you’d think this tool might have demonstrated more realistic knowledge of what labour involves. Oh, but he’s going to provide an iPod with soothing music.
How much do you bet she’ll rip off the iPod ear buds before ripping Tom’s bloody arms off and screaming, “Get me outta here, you f###ing wanker!!!”
And whose idea was this jolly Scientologist birth plan, anyway? L. Ron Hubbard? Well, as he’s dead, I suggest we get Tom and John Travolta and tie a string around their nuts for the duration of Katie’s labour. Katie will get to yank it when she feels the need to, you know, share the depth of her womanly experience with these patriarchal potatoheads. Given their commitment to the deep spirituality of the experience, I feel it’s unfair to keep the experience of birth pain away from them. Let’s see how they enthuse about the virtues of silence then.