Dear Midwives & Birth-Workers--Get Out of Our Vaginas

Dear Midwives & Birth-Workers--Get Out of Our Vaginas

Now that birth images and video footage are all over instagram (or rather, those few profiles and individuals and companies who have managed to get on the “list” are now exempt from being blacklisted while the remaining women get banned for posting their birth material, however innocuous), I think it’s time to let midwives and birth-workers in on a little secret: *it is not necessary for you to routinely put your hands on mother’s vaginas while their babies emerge*.

It’s really not necessary for you to fondle women’s labias or clitorises, or to run your fingers along the introituses to our vaginas while our babies’ heads are crowning. 

You really don’t need to cup your hands around your client’s vulva.  Our bodies are actually made to give birth. Not only is your pawing unnecessary, it’s actually (probably in most cases) counterproductive, and even for some, demeaning, not to mention annoying. 

Please, midwives and birth-workers, do some research into the physiology of childbirth.  Look into how birth actually works, and the conditions under which birth works optimally. The facts might surprise you!

Women don’t need your gloved hands prodding our vaginas while we’re trying to focus on surrendering to the most profound and vulnerable act of our lives. 

Please know that for many women who understand birth, and who claim the experience as our own, having your gloved fingers intrude into the most intimate spaces of our bodies as our babies are being born actually comes across as a little bit fetishistic, and something of a violation.

All the birth footage that’s now everywhere, and which makes up the majority of my Instagram newsfeed, only confirms and emphasizes the ubiquity of birth workers’ sense of entitlement to women’s genitals.  You really can't resist getting right in there, face-to-vag, can you? 

For the sake of women’s dignity and your own, step back.  Stop importing these practices that so grotesquely mimic the patriarchal industrial obstetric model. Stop manufacturing your own importance.

Stay in your lane.  Your interference is unbecoming and in conflict with your supposed commitment to women’s autonomy, and evidence-based birth. 

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