Sunday, January 31, 2010


Have you considered the use of  the word "deliver" in relationship to birth attendants assisting a woman during her birth?

    I love words. I respect them. I appreciate knowing their roots, understanding their meaning(s), and applying them appropriately. I often make mistakes in my word choice/usage. We live in a culture that throws words around, often without thinking about them, their meaning, or their consequences.
   I'm sure those of you who are familiar with, and/or work, in the birth world have heard and/or participated in discussions about the use  of "deliver" under birthing circumstances.

What does the word deliver mean? Where does it come from?

  Our language has been updated to include "to give birth" and "to assist at the birth of", but that's not how it started.  The origin of deliver comes from latin : dēlīberāre to set free, equiv. to dē- de- + līberāre to liberate.

  Is that what doctors and midwives are doing? Are they setting the baby free from the womb or liberating the mother from her pregnancy? Are the mothers passive in this act? Do doctors and midwives want to be seen as saviors? As liberators?
    I realize many women may seem as if they want to be "saved" from their births... saved from pain, saved from fear. I also realize many birth attendants may desire to be seen as saviors. I could come up with many theories as to "why" this may be the case, but for now I'd like just to bring up the choice to use "deliver" in respect to assisting at a birth.

    Words are powerful.  I've never found the age old "sticks and stones" adage to be true. Words often hurt me. I've often hurt others with the words I've spoken. Words often stick with us. Women remember what was said to them during thier pregnancies and during their births.
Check out for more information about what women think, feel, and remember about their birthing experiences.

Words matter. Should we not consider carefully which we choose to use? Especially in regards to our future and to the futures of those we love?


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