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Posted by Shriyanshi Shukla

It is safe to say that each citizen of the country—even the ones who take pride in keeping an apolitical stance—are aware of the socio-political and the economic crisis that our country is in. Despite each and every dissenting voice asking relevant questions from the ruling ‘democratic’ (pun intended) government, the ruling leaders have failed in every possible scenario to provide a valid solution to this crisis. Rather, what we see that the turn of events around us are starkly similar to what dystopian fiction is made of.  Moreover, this government and the state of the country is such that another draconian news doesn’t seem like much of a surprise. But this time the matter is going out of the hand and we need to speak up before the situation worsens. 

I am talking about the recent advisory—which was very slyly passed amidst the raging protest against the CAA—released by the Union Health Ministry to all the states to adopt the Gujarat model of non-interventional approach in the final stages of the labour. This move is being highly criticized by the members of Indian Medical Association. 

What Advisory?

The leading cause of maternal mortality in India is post-partum hemorrhage. The blood loss in the time period between the delivery of the baby and separating of placenta results to this.  WHO, in 2012, reformed the Active Management of the Third Stage of Labour (AMTSL) which extends the use of certain drugs so that the uterus contracts and the bleeding stops. This was adopted by the doctors around India. This advisory asks doctor to not use the prescribed drugs in the last stage of labour and adopt a ‘non-interventional approach’ during the same.

WHO, in 2012, reformed the Active Management of the Third Stage of Labour (AMTSL) which extends the use of certain drugs so that the uterus contracts and the bleeding stops. This was adopted by the doctors around India. This advisory asks doctor to not use the prescribed drugs in the last stage of labour and adopt a ‘non-interventional approach’ during the same.

What Is The Problem With The Advisory?

The problem with this advisory is that it is issued so that the act of childbirth becomes ‘natural and positive experience’ for women, while totally neglecting the health hazards and the fatal consequences it might have for the women. This government feeds on the patriarchal ideology and this can be very much seen in the archaic mindset of glorifying motherhood. Well, it is also ironic that the Union Health Ministry is led a man. Regardless to say that the laws made by men are always to undermine the agency of women and make them suffer in pain, to the extent that the pain is glorified.

Also read: How My Gynaecologists Dismissed My Pain | #MyGynaecStory

It’s almost funny how the patriarchal society thrives on this glorification of pain taken by women without doing anything to resolve their conditions. This goes on to an extent that women take pride in taking these pains. A while back, I was having an argument with a Professor from the place I studied in. It was appalling to see how a man/woman teaching in a Central University was so filled with privilege. He/she was adamant on saying that the feminist movements today are vain and these movements do not bring any change per se; rather we should take inspiration from the pains that the women from rural background are taking in this country.

The problem with this advisory is that it is issued so that the act of childbirth becomes ‘natural and positive experience’ for women, while totally neglecting the health hazards and the fatal consequences it might have for the women.

The tone he/she adopted in the entire conversation was of glorification of the pains that women had to take, and when asked why do we not create scenarios where it is easier for women to work without going through any trials and tribulations he/she was unable to provide any satisfactory answer.

That’s the problem with this idea of glorification, instead of doing something about eradicating the problematic issues, they try to glorify them and not do anything about them. This idea of exploitation is also highly capitalist in nature—how the society thrives on exploitation of women’s labour.

Conclusion

People—including this government—should understand that bodies of women are their individual property, and not a site for you to contest your wars or a site for you to put and prove your regressive adamant ideology. Be it the right to abortion debate or the case in hand, we have seen how the state targets bodies of women alone to maintain a certain kind of hegemony.

Our bodies are our alone. Stop treating them as machineries to boost the shallow ego of your regressive ideology and stop mandating your superiority in this patriarchal hierarchy with respect to our bodies. It has been said enough and I will say it again—in hope that maybe one more voice might make an iota of impact—it is us and only us who have right over our body and no one else.

Also read: In Photos: The Many Journeys Of Pregnancy And Pain In India

After all, ‘feminism is a radical notion that women are people’, because even a layman would understand that women all over the world would choose living than having a ‘positive’ childbirth experience. 


Shriyanshi is completing her post graduation from The English and Foreign Languages University, Hyderabad. Not adhering to the set academic binaries, she always swings between popular culture and classics. Her major interests include poetry, fiction, and huge amount of cinema and Television. Although, a master of bad puns, she tries to always call out the casual sexism, racism, casteism, homophobia, etc., masquerading in the form of humor. 

Featured Image Source: The Logical Indian

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