Thursday, October 30, 2008

Soft and cuddly wimmin things

I'm the first to dismiss the notion that women are 'naturally' more caring and in touch with our emotions, and that we are 'naturally' less scientific than men. However, I'm also the first to agree that we can be so as a result of our social conditioning. This has a few implications for pregnancy.

I had my first antenatal appointment last week, and was intrigued that, along with certain medical questions and tests, I was asked whether I required a social worker or any help with personal issues, and my responses (no thanks!) were logged on the system with my medical details. Although I have virtually no other experience of hospital procedures, I'm pretty sure that that's not a standard question. It made me think that since maternity care is a service provided, by-and-large, by women for women, social and emotional considerations are more likely to arise. And I think that's great. The whole flippin world could do with taking people's social and emotional circumstances into account.

On the other hand, I was chatting to my father-in-law the other day and he said that the whole thing (by which I suppose he meant maternity care) was the least scientific thing he'd ever come across. I'm inclined to agree - when I was learning about reproduction at school, I read that 'nobody really knows' how the ovum gets from the ovary into the fallopian tube. I was reminded of this on reading Tina's post about the lack of research carried out into mornig sickness. The reasons, I suspect, are manifold: there's a 'mystery' about women, femaleness and pregancy that the patriarchy, for reasons best known to itself, would like to maintain. Not only that, science is led by men, whose interests are the subject of research whilst women's are left in obscurity. I'm not sure that 'nobody really knows' is the correct expression. I would surmise that 'nobody really cares' is a bit more accurate.


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