This semester I decided to move off campus, after living with my boyfriend for about 5 months I decided to get my own place…honestly it was the “suggestions” of my mother that actually persuaded me to move out, I guess she is a little old fashioned. Anyway, while I lived with my boyfriend through the end of the spring semester and throughout the summer I partook in the daily regimen of what would be a stay at home mother. I cooked and cleaned and prepared meals, and in my free time, which I had a lot of, feel in love with the cable channel TLC, (The Learning Channel.) ironically TLC, also is an acronym for tender love and care. The shows on this channel were all basically reality shows that dealt with care of children and the home. For example my favorite show A Baby Story, followed an expecting mother the last weeks of before pregnancy and then videotaped the trials and tribulations of her delivery. The graphic nature of the show compelled, me, because I like many other girl my age have begun to think about our near future, pregnant lives. My thoughts constantly wandered with what it would be like for me to be in the same position as the televised new mothers, and often excitement took control, rather than fear and uncertainty, that which would seem to be the more common reactions. Because I had watched hours of deliveries and been taken through detailed narratives of these women, I felt adequately prepared to engineer my perfect delivery, dodging the mistakes that I had witnessed.
Narrative to me represent a story, and birth I would also conclude is a very scientific process allowing for room to either make it more or less pleasant for the mother, in essence engineering a better experience.. As I witnessed time and time again on the show, these mostly well prepared and put together mothers had in fact engineered a very specific schedule and procedure for their deliveries. Although many aspect of delivery are out of the specific control of the mother, every detail that can be calculated and planned, I found, these women and calculated and planned.
Thanks to the many leaps science has made over the years with respect to birthing practices, mothers can control details of their births that previously remained out of their hands, for example mothers can choose to induce their labor, or slow it down, and choose the level of pain that they wish to endure, with the administration of an epidural, or by choosing to give birth in bathing tubs, women can even choose to give birth safely at home with the aid of a midwife in order to or feel more relaxed. All these decision previously for the safety of the child had been left up to the medical authorities, but now, I can watch on daytime television, women taking control of their deliveries, and make the experience exactly what they want, leaving very little room for surprise.
When I think about my future, and what my child bearing experience will be, I feel almost a little sad, because my curiosity has killed that cat, (the cat being the unexpected nature of deliveries and the excitement to be found in the “mystery” of the experience.) But then again, since I have the opportunity to engineer my delivery making it the most comfortable and enjoyable experience possible, aren’t I just enhancing the positivity surrounding the ordeal, thus making the experience more memorable? Where is the line to be drawn, exactly what should we continue to try and engineer to perfection? Thank you very much TLC for opening this Pandora’s box.