May 15, 2004

Biscuits produce Apple.

Well, I guess all those biscuits Gwenyth Paltrow ate while pregnant must have really worked because she supersized that baby: it came out weighing 9 pounds, 11 ounces. And she named the baby Apple, so let the joking begin. I wonder what computer this child will choose when the time comes?

Her husband Chris Martin described the process as "a long labor." Ending with a Caesarean section, one assumes, given that size baby and that size mother. If it's a C-section, say it's a C-section. Don't do what Kate Winslet did. She recently confessed:
I've never talked about this—I've actually gone to great pains to cover it up. But Mia was an emergency C-section. I just said that I had a natural birth because I was so completely traumatized by the fact that I hadn't given birth. I felt like a complete failure. My whole Me, I'd been told I had great childbearing hips. There's this thing amongst women in the world that if you can handle childbirth, you can handle anything. I had never handled childbirth, and I felt like, in some way that I couldn't join that "powerful women's club." So it was an amazing feeling having Joe naturally, vaginally. Fourteen hours with no drugs at all, but then I had to have an epidural because I was so tired. I honestly thought I'd never be able to do it. It was an incredible birth. It laid all the ghosts to rest. It was really triumphant.

"Great childbearing hips" is probably not a compliment ever aimed at Paltrow. It seems unlikely that 9 pounds, 11 ounces exited "vaginally." Bragging about natural childbirth is forgivable, but insufferable. I love the "no drugs for me at all ... until I took the drugs" preening and the whole "my hips ... my vagina" attitude, but it's really awfully lame. And it gave her an "amazing feeling"--"vaginally"--which sounds a little too much like part of your sex life.

Why the triumphalism? One way or the other, that baby is coming out. You will be there, you will endure it, but is there an accomplishment worth mentioning? Do you get an A if you escaped the knife and the drugs, a B if you took the drugs, a B+ if you took drugs only in the end, and a C if you got a C-section? Is that why they call it a C-section? Oh, and you get a D if you had that C-section with general anaesthesia? Competitive, comparative childbirth is unseemly. We go through what we go through, and very little of it reflects any particular virtue on our part. Spare me the preening, the bragging, and the sentimental goo.

ONE MORE THING: Just to state the obvious, to complete the grading scale: who gets an F for her childbearing efforts? Well, you should know by now. Who are the least eligible for the "powerful women club," the ones who really can't "handle childbirth," who really lack "childbearing hips," who really can't "do it"? They are the millions of women who have died in childbirth. See why it's unseemly to be competitive about how well you did?


lindsey said...

Well, Gwyneth's been seen walking around, if she'd had a c-section would she be walking around?

Ann Althouse said...

Good point! I don't know what's more amazing, getting 9 pounds, 11 ounces out of a Gwenyth Paltrow-shaped body or walking around 2 days after having a C-section. I guess I'd say it depends on how far she was walking, how upright, and how sprightly. One does walk a little, I say, speaking from experience. Or maybe it depends on aspects of pelvic structure not visible from the outside (the hole in the center of the pelvis) and on the size of the baby's head, not the overall weight.