The mysterious case of the disappearing …

From the West:


A Perth mother with no medical experience delivered a baby in a carpark in the middle of a downpour this morning while a police officer, a port worker and the frantic father looked on in awe.

Helen Roughley of Port Kennedy said she could still not believe she had helped deliver someone’s baby, saying it would be one of the great memories of her life.

Something missing from this opener? Whatever could it be?

[image courtesy of gynti_46 on flickr and a Creative Commons licence.]

Categories: gender & feminism, media

12 replies

  1. they disappeared the mother from a story about birth? WTH?

  2. hhl: nothing new about that, unfortunately.
    I also love the panicky breathless tone of “OMG! Who knew babies could just, y’know, COME OUT?” Awooga!

  3. Wow.
    That’s really fail.

  4. Geez, lucky she was a mother who knows what might have happened otherwise / sarcasm.

  5. *head desk* I guess this is why no one’s listening to the women who don’t want to be criminalised next year, we’re invisible. And gee, does that make surgeons redundant if babies just like, yanno, come out of vaginas without them even being present?

  6. I read it and presumed she delivered her OWN baby, then I read again. Oh dear.

  7. It’s definitely part of a much bigger issue in that birth is seen as a transaction between the fetus/baby and someone’s hands or instruments, where the mother is at best a background object and at worst an obstacle to be overcome.
    Much the same dynamic takes place in discussions about abortion, where images of free-floating fetuses abound, or a fetus and a uterus, with the woman absent or a menacing force.
    Even midwives aren’t exempt from this viewpoint; despite them being literally about being “with woman”, I have on occasion seen midwifery logos that just involve an emerging newborn and a pair of hands, the woman erased or reduced to a disembodied vulva. And look at the proliferation of headless-belly-and-breasts imagery. Do a Google Images search for obstetrics, for midwifery (the women are more present in the midwifery images, but not universally so). I think these representations are important, and problematic.
    To summarise what I’m talking about, a few image results for those searches. Midwifery:


    Hm, I can see a post coming on about illustrations on textbook covers…

  8. “someone’s baby” makes it sound like the people on the scene have also disappeared the mother: “I’m pretty sure there was someone else there… hrm.” Of course this isn’t directly quoted speech, so hopefully Helen Roughley’s sentiment was reported misleadingly.

  9. I also LOVE the whole “ZOMG with no medical experience!!!!!!” angle. People can give birth without academic qualifications and machines that go PING? NO WAI!!!

  10. Great post on many levels. “The expectant mother”, the most active player in this situation, wasn’t even mentioned int he article until the 4th paragraph. She was obviously left out of the first paragraph, and like an earlier commenter, I thought the Perth mother with no medical experience was the one in labor.
    Lauredhel, I think I liked your comment even more than the original post! I have two pins about pregnancy that I love. One is a stylized mother holding a baby. The other is a pin from the American College of Nurse Midwives, and it says “Listen to Women”.

  11. Here’s a contrast. It’s another “delivery on the way to the hospital” story, but the mother is front and centre, all the way through. The headline – not so good, but at least the mother’s name is the very first thing we read in the body of the story.
    Police deliver baby outside burger chain, in the NZ Herald.

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