|(I admit that I picked this picture because I knew you would want to see it. It showed up when I was looking for pictures about power. Just proof- I love my readers!)|
"I want to 'empower' women to have a great birth."
"I want to 'empower' women to make good birth choices for themselves and their babies."
Oh no. BACK THE TRUCK UP. 'Cause I am getting off right now.
The Free Online Dictionary defines empower thus:
em·pow·er (m-pour)tr.v. em·pow·ered, em·pow·er·ing, em·pow·ers
1. To invest with power, especially legal power or official authority. See Synonyms at authorize.2. To equip or supply with an ability; enable:
Why, you might ask, is this neurotic mama worried about the use of this word in this way? Well, great question. Let me tell you.
Nobody can EMPOWER me. That implies that they had my power.
Umm, no. They didn't.
If they had it then it was THEIR power. That makes them pretty nice and patriarchal or motherly or helpful or awesome that they wanted to stoop to GIVE it to me, doesn't it?
It also implies that it was somebody else's to give to me. How is that MY power if I had to have it GIVEN to me.
Empowerment doesn't come from outside of you. I can't give it or take it from you and you can't do that for me either. I can't educate you, you have to educate yourself. I can't make you eat well, you have to do it yourself. And I can't empower you. You have to do that yourself.
If you want to be empowered, you just need to look within. It is YOURS to take. Your power is yours to own. It is yours to use. Your power can not be given to you. It could only be given to you if it never was yours to begin with.
Let's stop all the talk on the part of doulas, midwives, and other women about how we are going to give people their own power. We don't do this. We can't do this. The fact that we talk about doing this all the time only shows that WE as natural birth advocates have actually bought into the system that believes that women are incompetent. Do we really think they need their power given, their choices made, and their responsibility co-opted? I hope not, because those are staples of what is WRONG with obstetrics.
It might feel nice to say that we 'empowered women' but in actuality, we are only showing how much we like our own feelings of power when we talk like that.
You are already powerful. If you act on that or not is up to you.
Let's own our power ladies. Our choices. Our consequences. Our power.