I doubt I will be seeing the final film in the “Twilight” trilogy unless by accident. I didn’t see the other two. The relative hotness of R-Patz and Taylor Lautner does not fire me (though as the mother of two pallid West London schoolboys I feel a slight patriotic pride to see girls swooning over a West London schoolboy even more pallid) and neither of my teenage daughters has ever shown any interest in the Stephanie Meyer industry.
So I am not a Twilight expert. But I can read a film review, and I get the impression that the heroine’s pregnancy has been made as horrific as possible ending in a “home Caesarean” (according to The Times).
Not exactly a hypnobirthing birth, then! More an exercise in making girls so scared of childbirth that they will do all it takes to avoid it.
A few years ago a sex ed video went viral which showed a girl dropping to the ground in the middle of a school playing field writhing in agony. She was supposed to be in labour. The video was blatantly devised to scare kids NOT from too-young sex but from pregnancy, and especially from the worst horror imaginable: letting the pregnancy continue to its inevitable, dreadful, horrific conclusion: childbirth.
The callousness of this attitude, reflected today in the horror-birth of “Twilight”, is immense. I can see critics lining up to equate Bella’s pregnancy with the sexual abstinence movement in the USA; but in fact the same scare tactics are used on our own British teens – not to dissuade them from having sex ( too complicated) or from getting pregnant (what’s done is done, right?) but to terrify them above all from letting the pregnancy continue.
A lot of people seem bent on creating a myth of hideous and dark danger around what should be the most empowered and love-filled moments of a woman’s life.
So to counter the onslaught of fear and gore a tiny bit, here are ten bits of very slightly “Twilight” related news, specially for young, and very young, women:
1. Whatever folk tell you, the fact is
you are pretty well set up for an easier birth than you ever will be. Young mums, if positively supported and well prepared to trust their bodies, on average birth more quickly and efficiently than 40-something first timers. (This is not a reason for having babies too early, mind)
2. However, you are very unlikely to give birth without warning on a football field. That is one reason why contractions are painful – they warn you that you need to get to a safe, comfy, familiar place to give birth.
3. Those contractions are a bit easier if you take up any leaning-forward position which doesn’t put pressure on your lower back. In other words the contractions are telling you to get into a position that makes the baby come down and out more easily. Clever, huh?
4. Your body is made to give birth to a human baby, not a vampire, and the process produces incredible hormones that not only make labour work, but also help you cope and give you a blissful “high” once your baby is born – nature’s way of helping you adjust to the biggest change ever – EVER- in your life.
5. Most of the births you see in movies are in hospitals and the woman is lying in a bed in a brightly lit room where people are shouting. A strange environment plus uncomfortable position plus an atmosphere of tension and fear. Next time you see a birth in a film, ask yourself: is all this really helping the woman cope with pain – or adding to it?
6. Next time you are having to undergo something a bit painful like an injection test the difference between tensing up and imagining the pain first; and relaxing and focusing on something else. Now think about how the media presents childbirth.
7. Caesarean section is a brilliant medical development – for women who cannot birth otherwise. It is major abdominal surgery cutting through several layers of tissue and muscle. If you had to take 24/7 care of someone else’s new baby, it probably would not be the ideal time to schedule major abdominal surgery, right?
8. Yes, women do die of childbirth in developing countries: mainly because of malnutrition and other risk factors. You, Miss Average Well-nourished British Young Woman, do not have such high risk factors.
9. If you don’t feel ready to have a baby yet, think about reducing the behaviour which leads to pregnancy. Cutting down on sexual activity with multiple partners will reduce your risk of cervical cancer (what poor Jade Goody died from) chlamydia (can lead to infertility, and yes you WILL mind about that one day) and other diseases; it also – nobody ever mentions this – might help reduce the risk of a broken heart, too.
10. One of my daughter’s friends went to school with Robert Pattinson and still has his phone number. Trouble is, I can’t remember which one… Check back here another time and I might have remembered.