Tag Archives: Parenthood

A Supermarket Tragedy

a poem by Jarrod Hart (c.1999)


From a look to the left and a glance to the right
Comes the cold grip of a horrible fright!
For what she can’t see causes horrible fear
…what she can’t see is utterly dear!

A second goes past and still nothing’s there;
Another look here another one there!
Oh come now, be serious, this can’t be so!
But frantic fast panic has nothing to show!

Silk fury now flies, far into the blue
And tears in her eyes show feelings too true…
She closes those eyes and feels for the sky
As she wonders, wonders… Lord why?


He gives her the stength to stop spinning round
As she tests out her senses; feels for the ground
The dizziness passes, she looks down the aisle
Her child in the distance, bearing a smile…

The child was not gone, but simply misplaced
Mom quietly blushes, but inside she’s disgraced.
But our new mom will grow, with the knowledge so brave,
That life’s ride’s a transient on the crest of a wave…

And if we live ‘moments’ and feel to the hilt,
We gain independence from the pain they call guilt.

The end

The psychology of submission to authority

What does not surviving a plane crash have to do with the “medicalisation” of childbirth? I would argue that they are both examples of how we are losing our ability to take our fate into our own hands.

When a plane crashes, some passengers die because they are waiting to be saved while those that act to save themselves are more likely to survive [1]. 

Why? Because when people hand control over of others, they find it hard to take it back again. 

So it is as you queue on the phone to buy plane tickets, you queue to check in, you queue through security, you walk down long corridors, you queue again.

To some real extent, this process is a bit like being brainwashed – it is a series of mental triggers that you are in a system, you are a subject, you are not in control. You have become a sheep.

This in itself is not a bad thing. It helps the systems to work if the people can be controlled, and certainly nothing sinister is intended; however it does mean that if the plane crashes we will be more inclined to wait for instructions than fight our way to the door.

A similar effect can play out during childbirth.  Mothers who undergo cesarean subjugate themselves to the system and in handing over responsibility, may well find taking the child back after it is cleaned-up more psychologically challenging, and are thus more likely to turn to authority (nurses, midwives etc) for help with routine things like breastfeeding and washing the baby, rather than assume responsibility; their confidence is thus eroded by the process of subjugation.

I propose therefore that both on air flights and in the maternity ward, we should do what we can to keep people in control – or at least thinking they are…


[1] I read this claim in last week’s Sunday Times, but can’t find a reference online. However, this article hints at similar claims: