Monday, June 2, 2008

Wherein the Fat-Acceptance and Birth Worlds Collide

The purpose of this blog is to create an intersection of the fat-acceptance and birth worlds, two realms that rarely seem to overlap in the blogging and advocacy worlds.

Much of this blog will be devoted to topics on fat-acceptance, Health At Every Size (HAES), size bias/discrimination, and related stuff. There will also be lots of posts about birth-related issues, breastfeeding, and parenting. In particular, there will be lots of posts about the intersection of these two issues, like what is truly size-friendly care in pregnancy, strategies for lowering the risks for complications, the importance of lowering the cesarean rate in women of size, PCOS and breastfeeding issues, parenting children of size, etc.

Of course, sometimes there may also be some stuff totally unrelated to any of these topics, like my favorite media shows or cute kid pix or whatever. It's my blog; I can talk about whatever I want! Whoohoo!

Fair warning to the fat-acceptance folks...there may be naked birthin' pictures and videos here sometimes. Girly bits may get displayed at times.....but always in the context of birthin', and always in a tasteful and respectful way, of course!

[And won't it be refreshing to finally see some fat chicks pregnant and birthing? The pregnancy books and videos never show women of size. News flash, folks.......fat people DO have sex and we do get pregnant....and dammit, we look GLORIOUS doing it! It's time for fat pregnant women to stop being invisible and start claiming our space! Fat people have babies too, and we're not going to hide it anymore!!]

And fair warning to the earthy-birthy folks....there will be lots of frank fat talk here. If you find that challenging, it's good that you are here. Perhaps this is an opportunity to examine your own preconceptions about fat people, about our habits or our needs, about our ability to birth or to parent, and how best you can serve our needs. This will be a good place to do that.

It's TIME for the birth and the fat-acceptance worlds to start interacting more. These two groups rarely dialogue with each other, and there is often surprisingly strong resistance from each towards talking with the other. [That's a topic for whole 'nuther post!!] It's time to open the dialogue up.

Come on, folks, fat people have babies too. Even if you never plan to have a baby (or are done having babies or are post-menopausal), your "fat" niece or your "chubby" cousin or your "zaftig" daughter or your "obese" friend might. Or even if you aren't fat, you may know someone who is fat and having a baby, or be called upon as a birth professional to serve one of these women.

Fat women often face unbelievable discrimination and disrespectful treatment in the birth world. Fat activism and birth activism should not be just about whether this issue affects you personally; you should care because it affects someone and no one deserves that kind of treatment. Believe me, the stories I've heard are pretty awful sometimes. This issue MATTERS.

That kind of discrimination won't change until we have more honest dialogue about the issues, and it won't change unless fat women and their childbirth professionals know what size-friendly treatment really is like and start demanding it, both in and out of the birth world.

Fat people are real human beings. We have the same hopes and fears and dreams for our babies and our children as anyone else.

Treating us with respect also means honoring our desires to become mothers just like anyone else. It means working towards the most empowering and life-affirming birth possible. It means realizing that the ability to love and nurture---not size---is the most important qualification for parenthood. And it means respecting that the miraculous magic of making a baby---and birthing that baby---can happen in a lush and well-rounded body too.

Let the blogging begin!!