Viv Groskop: Welcome to modern motherhood, Beyoncé...

The self-righteousness of people commenting on a woman they’ve never met is hilarious

Share
Related Topics

Poor Blue Ivy Carter. The daughter of Beyoncé and Jay-Z is barely a week old and already she has come to know both the highs and lows of celebrity life. Her high-pitched squawking has been sampled on her father's hip-hop track, "Glory", causing her to become the youngest person ever to appear on the Billboard chart ("Baby, I paint da sky for you"). Less glamorously – or perhaps more, depending on how you measure these things – she has now had a strain of marijuana named after her, on sale in labelled jars in medical weed dispensaries in LA. The high life indeed.

Her most significant contribution, though? To ignite a debate about the best way to be born. Without intervention via the quickest and, er, most convenient exit? (Admittedly it's not always that quick. Or that convenient. Especially for the owner of the exit.) Or by scheduled Caesarean section?

The blogosphere has been buzzing with speculation about all the newly revised, coded information concerning her birth at a hospital in New York. And if you're thinking, "For goodness sake, who gives a flying Fallopian tube?" just Google "Beyoncé natural birth": 2.6 million hits.

The press release says: "She was delivered naturally at a healthy 7lbs." Having read more on the subject of the exit strategy of "the child of Destiny's Child" (copyright Jay-Z, "Glory") than is probably advisable for any person's mental health, I have come to the conclusion that the expression "naturally" means "not by C-section". The release should simply have said: "Stop press. This was an unprecedented Celebrity Non-C-Section Birth."

Of course the expression "naturally" is just a way to avoid using the much-maligned and often-overlooked factual adverb "vaginally". (Proof: "Beyoncé vaginal birth" has a paltry 298,000 hits.) Because there is no such thing as an "unnatural" labour: there's only vaginal birth and birth with medical intervention. Putting moral judgements on the exit strategy is not helpful.

But in the US in particular the celebrity baby's mode of entry is a big deal because it suggests a gold standard. It's what you'd choose if you could choose anything you wanted. Most Hollywood celebrities schedule C-sections to fit around their lives. Although personally I suspect their decision has more to do with who they ask to start off with. If you seek out the best advice money can buy, you are unlikely to find someone who will say, "If there are no complications, why not start out with the usual exit and see how you get on? No charge for this consultation, by the way. It's just common sense." Having sought the counsel of the best-qualified private obstetricians in the land – as opposed to your average, practically minded midwife with little interest in furnishing hotel suites with Cristal on tap – it's hardly surprising these women make the choices they do.

This is why it was initially assumed Beyoncé was having an elective Caesarean, for which she was denounced online. The self-righteousness of the people commenting on the misreported non-intentions of a woman they've never met is hilarious. "The child will be spoiled and privileged. Selfvish [sic] and self-serving. Who wants to bet she isn't breastfed either." "I believe Beyoncé is lazy and did not want to go through natural childbirth." (Beyoncé is lazy? Have you seen her on stage recently? Never mind.)

When it emerged that the child of Destiny's Child was in fact "natural" after all, an equally self-righteous band emerged. "Blue Ivy came out of Beyoncé's vagina naturally because this ain't no Gwyneth Paltrow Peruvian C-Section box social, yo," opined one. Translation: "Beyoncé had a down-to-earth experience unlike Gwyneth Paltrow who had one of those posh, pre-scheduled treatments abroad." Or at least that is the best translation I have been able to manage with the help of Urban Dictionary.

Time magazine declared that celebrity births set trends and Beyoncé's choice was significant because it underlined the belief "natural birth is the birth of champions". Yikes. I have had three "Civilian Non-C-Section Births" and I didn't hear Freddie Mercury singing at any of them. The same report put forward the theory the words "natural birth" are code for "a vaginal birth sans analgesia – no epidural block, no pain relief whatsoever". Really?

This shows the biggest problem with this row: everyone is acting on imprecise information. All the Carter family has revealed is that Beyoncé didn't have a C-section. We don't know how or why. We don't know whether she got the birth she wanted or not. She might be gutted that she didn't have a planned C-section. So there is not much point in appointing her as some kind of poster girl for "natural" birth. Or castigating her for not doing it naturally enough. (Or rather, not vaginally enough.)

At least, though, this is the traditional post-partum response. Welcome to mothering, Beyoncé! Guess what? Everyone else knows better than you. Your child will probably turn out to be very selfvish [sic]. And whatever you do will be wrong and unnatural. Enjoy your baby!

React Now

  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Senior Accounts Assistant - Accounts Payable - St. Albans

£26000 - £28000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: Senior Accounts Assistan...

Ashdown Group: Treasury Assistant - Accounts Assistant - London, Old Street

£24000 - £26000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, glo...

Recruitment Genius: Installation and Service / Security Engineer

£22000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company is part of a Group...

Recruitment Genius: Service Charge Accounts Assistant

£16000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you a a young, dynamic pers...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

Errors & Omissions: Outgunned by a lack of military knowledge

Guy Keleny
Ukip leader Nigel Farage in Tiny Tim’s tea shop while canvassing in Rochester this week  

General Election 2015: What on earth happened to Ukip?

Matthew Norman
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence
Public relations as 'art'? Surely not

Confessions of a former PR man

The 'art' of public relations is being celebrated by the V&A museum, triggering some happy memories for DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef succumbs to his sugar cravings with super-luxurious sweet treats

Bill Granger's luxurious sweet treats

Our chef loves to stop for 30 minutes to catch up on the day's gossip, while nibbling on something sweet
London Marathon 2015: Paula Radcliffe and the mother of all goodbyes

The mother of all goodbyes

Paula Radcliffe's farewell to the London Marathon will be a family affair
Everton vs Manchester United: Steven Naismith demands 'better' if Toffees are to upset the odds against United

Steven Naismith: 'We know we must do better'

The Everton forward explains the reasons behind club's decline this season
Arsenal vs Chelsea: Praise to Arsene Wenger for having the courage of his convictions

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Praise to Wenger for having the courage of his convictions