Saturday, July 26, 2008

Childbirth: The Ordinary Miracle

Writing a short story wherein the lead character is a pregnant woman, and I stumbled on this article, Childbirth: The Ordinary Miracle by Dr. Gayle Peterson. Perhaps not entirely relevant to what I was looking for, but all the same, it's a moving article.

One key point that Dr. Peterson emphasizes early on is that "the message of our society (presumably Western society in which she writes) is that the experience of childbirth is unimportant."

Dr. Peterson writes:

The experience of pregnancy and childbirth is uniquely female. Not all women give or want to give birth. However women who do give birth whatever the circumstances, are faced with the reality of one of nature's most powerful events. The fact that women can express extremely negative or incredibly positive experiences of childbirth is evidence of the generic power of the experience itself. This most basic fact, that childbirth is a powerful force to be respected, has been lost in the overall devaluation of the feminine in our society.

Women often feel alone with the responsibility of motherhood, even when they have supportive partners. Mothers are criticized quickly when things go awry in childrearing, while their positive contributions go unsung. In fact, many aspects of female development remain invisible to our culture at large. Childbirth is no exception. The message of our society is that the experience of childbirth is unimportant .

I can't speak for the Western experience but my own observations and recollections from where I grew up tell me that that isn't the case in the Philippines. In our environment, pregnancy and childbirth is largely a community experience. Yes, everyone is a nosy busybody, with his or her own guess as to the gender of the child; but that's our way of caring. Coming as we do from our agricultural backgrounds, Filipinos are emotionally healthy about these matters.

This is what is what the contraceptive mentality is destroying, whether directly or indirectly -- by viewing pregnancy as a disease, by holding economics in higher regard, by setting unrealistic standards of beauty.

Ultimately it's a matter of strength of the Filipino psyche is with its community bonds and values whether or not it can withstand the onslaught.


  1. Dome, they don't call it "home economics" for nothing. One of a mother's traditional roles is to make ends meet.

    You know what I find hypocritical? Fr. Mon Castro saying the "culture of contraception" will breed infidelity, promiscuity etc. As if these don't already exist! Pwede ba??!?

    And then they say, this culture of contraception will break up families.

    If that's the case, then why doesn't the Church condemn mass migration?

  2. If that's the case, then why doesn't the Church condemn mass migration?

    Because migration, unlike contraception, is not evil of itself.

    As to whether the Church is acting on migration issues or not, I point you to Migration Ministry of the Archdiocese of Manila. And that's just one of many ways in which the Church is acting as a support group for migrant families.

  3. Also: because of the necessity of migration, Filipinos have become the new evangelists of the Church. One only needs to attend Mass in other parts of the world to see this effect. I have personally seen it in Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia, South Korea, the United States, India, and Pakistan.

  4. Dom,

    How is putting on a condom evil?

    The Church endorses means to prevent conception - only they don't want to use technology.