The celebri-net is buzzing with the news that Jamie Lynn Spears is (no way!) “afraid” of giving birth. More specifically, she seems to be terrified of the pain associated with childbirth. Reactions run the gamut from this writer’s conclusion (after learning that the Spears matriarch reportedly had Jamie Lynn watch a video of women giving birth to show her daughter how beautiful and natural childbirth is):
In Jamie Lynn’s defense, Britney Spears scheduled c-sections for both Sean Preston and Jayden James, so this is likely the first she’s heard of this.
To this piece:
She’s 17 and didn’t know what happens during childbirth? Ugh.
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The celeb reporters have it wrong. Of course she’s afraid of giving birth – most women have that fear because, well, childbirth is painful.
It’s not just painful, it’s other-wordly, it’s unimaginably difficult, unpredictable, uncontrollable, intense and mystical. This doesn’t make it terrible or something to be avoided. It doesn’t mean we should take all measures not to feel the pain or, in Jamie Lynn’s case, necessarily request to be “knocked out.” It means we, as a culture, have not instilled in women the confidence and support we need to take childbirth on with the strength one needs to bring another human into the world.
Sadly, I have no doubt that at 17 she may not know what happens during childbirth. Congress is finally taking on abstinence-only programs for the ineffective sham that they are but we do not yet live in a society that allows for women’s reproductive health experiences to be openly shared in such a way that young women understand that there is a legacy from which they can learn and for them to follow. Whether Jamie Lynn chooses pain medication or not to assist her through her birth process, it’s up to her. One would hope that she makes the decision based on the knowledge that there are many roads to travel for a healthy pregnant woman – home birth, midwifery, obstetricians, water birth, birthing centers, hospitals – and that birth is more than pain.
Childbirth is a journey for which all women deserve to be prepared.