When I first heard the phrase ‘Too posh to push’, it was aimed at Victoria Beckham. She had given birth to her baby, I think it was Brooklyn, by caesarean section and as I was a big Posh Spice fan at the time, I thought it was an unfair criticism. As I was a teenager, I didn’t really think too much more about it but I’ve heard the phrase again after becoming a mum and it has started to annoy me for a couple of reasons.
Firstly, ‘Too posh to push’ implies that this is the ‘easier’ way to give birth. I don’t know about you but the idea of implying that giving birth one way is easier than another is absurd. It’s not as if you walk into a hospital, get cut open and take your baby home. It is a major operation. I lost 1.2 litres of blood during my second emergency caesarean and needed a blood transfusion. Does that epitomise being too posh to push?
Even if the operation itself goes smoothly, from what I’ve experienced and witnessed, the pain afterwards, risk of infection and scar healing are all things women have just dealt with. I’ve only ever had c-sections so I can’t compare but from what my friends have told me, neither way is more or less painful and both carry their share of risks and complications.
Secondly, the media was debating whether or not the Duchess of Cambridge would be ‘Too posh to push’ which leads me to the word ‘posh’ in this saying. Giving birth ‘as nature intended’ isn’t vulgar or for ‘common’ people. The reason a c-section could be called posh is because it requires a team of people which is therefore more expensive. In countries where women have to pay for health care having an elective caesarean is a sign that money probably isn’t an issue. But it doesn’t question why women might elect to have a child by caesarean during their pregnancy. Her health and her child’s is probably one of the main reasons a woman chooses to have a c-section. A celebrity however may have a baby by caesarean as they don’t want the father to miss the birth. It might sound superficial to some but is it so hard to understand why a woman would plan to give birth on a certain day so their partner can be present?
In a way I feel as though the whole, ‘Too posh to push’ saying is just another way for some people to criticise how you choose parent. It is similar to the breast or bottle feeding argument which heaps guilt on a mother for doing things a certain way. Women are criticised if they breastfeed and if the don’t then they are still made to feel guilty. Women are told they should give birth naturally, without painkillers but if they do then they are told that it is vulgar or they make others feel guilty. To
Will we ever find a balance? Can a mother ever give birth, feed, parent and work (or ‘stay at home’) without some form guilt? Bx