The Twilight Saga and Modern Birth Stories

Warning- Spoiler Alert!
If you haven't read the Twilight Saga and don't want to know how it ends- stop reading now!

Vampire Birth-
I admit- I was totally addicted to the Twilight Saga (yeah - I know I am too old for that) and I like the movies too, but when I read the last one I hated the birth!
I realize it makes me a nut job to actually be upset by a fictional vampire birth but- hear me out- I have a few good reasons.

The Birth-
If you haven't read the books, the last one ends with the heroine (a human) pregnant with a vampire baby. Of course, who knows how this will work out! Can a human woman survive a vampire birth!?
As we get closer to the rapidly approaching due date mama is sick, this crazy baby is hurting her from the inside out, and then, suddenly, emergency strikes!
Mama starts bleeding and the only thing that can save her is- you guessed it- a vampire c-section! Things are pretty touch and go for a while but with the help of some blood transfusions, lots of emergency medicine, (luckily there was a doctor present for this home birth) and narcotics, mom and baby pull through. Their survival of the horrors of birth are of course all due to the emergency c-section that mom received! (Don't even get me started on the breastfeeding situation. You think it hurts to nurse a regular baby, try one with fangs!)

Real Birth Stories-
So this is all pretty dramatic and silly, but how similar does it sound to almost ALL of the birth stories I hear from women? Very similar in fact (except for the vampire part). Most women I talk to are so afraid of birth, especially home birth because they had to be "saved" from their last birth.
How many times have you heard this or similar phrases coming from the lips of a recently delivered woman:
"It's a good thing I was in the hospital, because XYZ went wrong and we just wouldn't have survived without the technology."
Does anybody notice that technology ABC (insert here continuous fetal monitoring, epidural, supine pushing or any other number of standard procedures) are what caused the need for emergency medicine in the first place?!

Birth Stories MATTER!
I love those books- I really do. But what kind of message are we sending to the women and young women in this country when all the birth stories they hear are like this? Why are so many of our birth stories actually horror stories that end with the damsel in distress (IE, mother in stirrups) being saved by her knight in shining armor (IE, obstetrical surgeon and his knife)?
Not only do women hear these same scary stories from almost every woman they meet- they are now in books and teenage literature.

Good Birth Stories
For all you mamas out there with good birth stories, I think it is time we started sharing them. I don't mean tell everybody how much better you think you are because you suffered without that epidural, I mean tell people about the JOY of natural birth. Let's give some of those new mamas the confidence they need to have a happy and beautiful, even orgasmic birth experience.
If you are looking to read some good birth stories, check out either of Ina Mae Gaskin's books, "Ina Mae's Guide to Childbirth" or "Spiritual Midwifery". Both have lots of safe natural births and both give you an idea of how different labor is for every woman.

Oh- and there are a TON on the blog!


Jessica said…
This is probably the most stupid thing I have ever read... ITS FICTIONAL... LOL Who gives a crap how a fake baby was born in a story. And having read the books I dont see how you think 'the baby' could have been 'born' any other way. SO silly. Sorry lol
Mandy said…
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mandy said…
Sorry - I'm with Jess....this is not an image or story of birth that will influence women, or girls, unless their spouse happens to in fact be a vampire and they are still human and waiting to be turned. The most disturbing trend regarding this series is that women out there are actually naming their babies after the characters! OUCH!
BigMama said…
I dont think its silly at all. The birth scene in Knocked Up pisses me off... If you are really a birth advocate, how can it not? All i can think about is how many millions of women are seeing this, and (without education of how birth CAN be) thinking THAT is normal? Once again it reaffirms that doctors are there to "save" us from our disease; pregnancy/delivery. And that we couldnt possibly birth on our own... This God-created, intelligently designed process (which, incedentaly, we were perfectly crafted for) could never come to be without an all knowing MDs help... Thank God the doctor was ther to rescue us!..... Frustrating.
I think you're right on with this. I can't watch TV shows that include birthing for this very reason (especially "reality" birthing shows). It drives me insane to see such a distorted and negative view of birth! I know it's don't for the entertainment, but it doesn't matter when you're a young girl watching it. Even if they know it's just for show, it still plants a seed of doubt.

I'd much rather my daughter remember watching my recent home water birth than a birth on TV that ends emergency cesarean. One of those circumstances seems a lot more empowering and encouraging to me.
Debra H. said…
The baby's placenta detached, thus leaving it starved of oxygen (which it needed because she was half human) the baby then started breaking the mother from the inside out. The amniotic sac was made from a vampire-skin-like substance, ant the only way to break it was with vampire teeth, so Edward ripped Bella open, with his teeth (saving the baby), and then injected her with his venom (saving Bella).

Does ANY of this sound REMOTELY possible?? No. of all fictional birth scenes, this one does not bother me, because of how fictional the entire book is. Knocked Up"? Yes, that birth scene annoyed the crap out of me. I won't even start. But Twilight? Meh. Never struck me as realistic, or as portraying an actual birth, so it didn't bother me.

Ps. also, if a baby's placenta detaches, isn't it pretty normal (and necessary) for a C-section to happen... you know, to save the oxygen deprived baby's life? I thought so.
Unknown said…
People keep reading about these births and they will think it's normal. It's not silly at all. Do you know how popular these books are? And they are spreading the message that this type of birth is normal. Along with every show on tv and every single movie. It's sad.
Chris said…
I thought it was the (male) anesthesiologist saving her from "dying" of labor pains. More than one soap opera has turned out what should be empowering women into some damsel in distress male turn on.

When I read Sybil by Flora Rheta Schreiber, "Sybil Isabel Dorset" (Shirley Ardell Mason, based on posthumous discovery of her art work, Lexington KY) had so many sexual abuse encounters with mommy my heart went out to her. And when I got to college, to an incest survivor.

Question. How many survivors, at least to their friends and at least on occasion, remind friends for the sympathy value? I am left wondering in her case does she think being a victim gives her an exemption from growing up? She can easily be hurtful and self centered when hurt herself.
Chris said…
And actually when women have no alternative but to go natural, they realize how strong they are, how much their loved ones are worth, etc. It is not recommended to go alone because up to twenty percent of the time some medical intervention (blood transfusion, Caesarian section, forceps, etc.) is required.
Chris said…
We will never know how many women died in childbirth a long time ago. Based on a discovery of a female skeleton with baby skeleton and hashish inside, we know it is possible some women did die in birth, and that they knew cannabis could ease the pain.

Maybe all that bronze age emphasis on heterosexual sex
1. Don't waste a wad on a man, lest ye die
2. Marry your brother's widow
3. Do not try to inhibit reproduction, lest ye die like Onan

was intended to keep humans reproducing despite
1. War
2. Famine
3. Disease
4. Death giving birth etc.

We can speculate what kept women reproducing until they died of labor or something else. I think Margaret Danger's mom died of illness after giving birth. All this nutrition, sanitation, medical stuff is interconnected: a weakened female body is more prone to illness and death.

No, not in the health care field, I.T., but I have an unrelated Master's and I am well read.
Chris said…
Dammit, Margaret Sanger
Chris said…
Birth is always a mess. Amniotic fluid, blood (profuse), sometimes the baby coming through empties her bladder and bowel