I’ll grant you a terse congratulations, but that’s it. Britney Spears had a healthy baby boy today, via primary cesarean section. To quote the Reuters article: “Spears…had been previously reported as saying she planned to have the baby by Caesarean section to avoid the pain of a natural birth.” In other words, too posh to push.
Now, I have two conflicting thoughts here. On the one hand, it’s her body, her choice, she’s a woman, and I have to respect her decision, even if I would have counselled her otherwise, or made a different decision myself. On the other hand, she’s an icon with a huge following and therefore an untold amount of influence and power, and therefore an extraordinary opportunity to create positive change and lead by example. Some celebrities use this power to its utmost (just look at Sean Penn in New Orleans in his own boat, doing what he personally could to save lives and ease suffering); others fritter it away and could care less, and still others abuse their power and influence to terrible ends.
Britney had an opportunity to educate herself about birth. Britney’s family had an opportunity to edcuate themselves about birth. Britney’s health care providers had an opportunity to educate her about birth. Her fans were watching her pregnancy and the decisions she made very closely. She could have created far-reaching positive change in the way young women in this country view birth. Instead, she upheld the status quo, and embraced the idea that childbirth is painful, not something a woman can or should go through, if she can afford not to, and cesarean birth is an easier and safer ideal. Why did she have to go to the far extreme of technological intervention? Why not show instead that women’s bodies are strong, capable of birth, and that babies don’t need an exit through the abdomen when one has already been so perfectly designed for them? I mean, c’mon…if she really wanted to avoid the pain of natural childbirth, why didn’t she just have an epidural? Then she could have still delivered vaginally, at least.
Golden opporunity pissed down the drain.
I guess while we’re at it, we can always encourage Britney to breastfeed.