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Ms Cavewoman

by Ann Charles on June 7th, 2013
Ms Cavewoman

I’m forever reading about mythical cavewomen.

It’s an analogy often use in birth-related stuff.  ‘What would a cavewoman do?’  ‘Use your animal brain,’  ‘Find your inner monkey,’ and so on.

Extensive research* has not yet made me find any evidence about how cavewomen actually gave birth.  There aren’t any YouTube videos up, for example, and I don’t recall it being covered in The Flintstones.  Although I did find a video of a chimpanzee giving birth in a zoo, which is practically the same.**

Ms Cavewoman’s birth story

However, there’s nothing wrong with me having a go, is there?  The point of the story is the same, even if it may not be anthropologically accurate.  Ms Cavewoman could be Ms Au Naturel.  Unlike modern times, she doesn’t have the back up of any medical technology.  But what might happen if she …just gave birth?  Let’s imagine her story:

Ms Cavewoman has no idea how old she is, because measuring time isn’t that accurate.  She’s several seasons old, however.

She’s expecting her second cavebaby.

Ms Cavewoman has grown up seeing other women give birth and feed babies.

She’s not read any pregnancy books, as books haven’t been invented yet.  And she’s managed to avoid One Born Every Minute, even though it’s on every cave wall in the country.

She hears stories round the fire from her cavewomen friends about how their own children were born.  She’s watched other women give birth, too, in her time.

When she goes into labour, Ms Cavewoman wants to make sure she’s not going to be bothered by any sabre-toothed tigers.  They are considered a great inconvenience when giving birth.  She goes into her nice warm, dark cave, and puts Mr Caveman at the door to defend it.

Her friend pops over to be with her and they talk softly and plait each other’s hair as she has some contractions.

As Ms Cavewoman is not at all frightened of labour, she gets into whatever position seems most comfortable and makes noises to suit her mood.

When she can feel that the baby wants to be born, she shifts into a squatting position and gives birth to the baby very easily.

She kisses, rubs and licks her baby to help him begin to breathe.

Once ‘Desmond’ is born (I have no idea why he’s called that; he just is), she lies back on a pile of animal skins and wraps up as he begins to feed.

The placenta comes a little while after and it remains attached until it falls off a few days later.

After a bit of a sleep, Ms Cavewoman wraps Desmond up in one of the skins and ties him round her to keep him close.  Then she and the other cavepeople have a feast to celebrate the baby’s arrival.  Her friend clears up the cave and all is well.

…Well, it might have happened.

*Five minutes on the internet.

**It’s not.

References and further geekery:

Gaskin, I.M.  (2002).  Spiritual Midwifery.  Summertown: Book Publishing Company.

Gaskin, I.M.  (2003).  Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth.  New York: Bantam Dell.

Anything by Sheila Kitzinger: birth expert and anthropologist.

Wiessinger, D. West, D. and Pitman, T.  (2010).  The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding.  New York: The Random House.

According to this infographic, the story above is a ‘paleofantasy‘ – cool!

Chimpanzee giving birth in a zoo (YouTube).

How does Ms Cavewoman’s birth strike you?  Are there any elements of her birth that you’d like for yourself?  Please let me know in the comments below.

From → Birth, Ms Pregnant

  1. Other than licking her baby, it all sounds wonderful.

  2. This is too funny! I always use the quote, ‘What would the cave woman do?’…. I wonder if they would have just eaten the placenta 🙂 What did the cave woman do when they get their period? That’s what I really want to know!

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