Let’s talk about How Sex Education on Netflix got labour wrong with Jean Milburn’s labour
I really feel that they let down older women, and possibly all pregnant women by not showing Jean Milburn educating herself about labour!
Possible spoiler alert for “sex education” if not watched all the latest series 3
As a Hypnobirthing coach (and actually more as a potential new mum again if we go for a 3rd child) I am cross with “Sex Education”. As an older mother I love the character of Jean and how in touch with her femininity and primal female sexuality. I want to be like her. And not just because I find Swedish men attractive!
I watched with baited breath as I saw what happened with Jean Milburn’s labour. I was very disappointed that they decided to dwell on the negative and fear aspect with older mothers with Jean’s storyline. And yes I am conflicted too but you know what, I navel gaze below and own that conflict.
They celebrate sex and sexuality but not pregnancy, not labour, not empowerment. I think they missed a trick here. They may as well have sat us all down in front of that awful birth video we were made to watch at school to put us all off sex. I just don’t get how she’s encouraging people to learn about and educate themselves about their bodies, and yet she didn’t do that.
The things that irked me
1) Her Birth Position
I would have really thought that a woman with her professionalism and career would have looked into what would have helped despite her going into early labour. It just didn’t make sense to me knowing what we know about the character. However you know what? Maybe not. Because look at me. I had one awesome labour with Olaf
and then decided to not bother practising, expecting it to all come out and work again and it didn’t!
So who the hell am I to judge? I was a hypnobirthing coach for KGH and not Wise Hippo when I had Aragorn but seriously… I’m such a hypocrite aren’t I?
But seriously, how could someone who knows a her sexual organs more intimately than a lot of us not learn or educate herself about the power of labour. The primal power a woman has. Not just in labour but in the run up when she’s making decisions about her choices. But there we witnessed a passive mother, going with whatever happened without standing up for what she wanted much.
2) The treatment of her as a geriatric mother (shudder)
They didn’t follow through with the complaint she made about the doctor’s negativity properly. But I was proud that she spoke up and it’s disappointing that this is a reality the way us “geriatric mothers” are automatically red pathed.
I am proud of the fact she decided to tackle it directly and with balls,
but it showed her feeling frustrated, and not showing much in the way of empowerment for me. It will show other women they are not alone. The issue we have is that consultants and midwives HAVE to cover their arses and tell us all the negatives that can happen. That’s why I WISH we had seen Jean get some antenatal education through a Hypnobirthing course to come back with all the potential POSITIVES
. Hypnobirthing focuses on the positives as where your brain goes your body can follow.
3) It’s that old fear of labour narrative again
4) Jean Milburn’s labour environment
I felt like a warrior in my first labour because of Hypnobirthing and yet I saw such a strong women who seemed to have lost her strength when in labour:
a) she didn’t know she could request not to have lots of people in the room, I guess I just thought that someone who had such a strong interest in her reproductive system would have looked at the options to support her in labour…
b) Her birth position – she gave birth in an unnatural position on a bed (gravity helps)
5) The absent father again.
Women like to be with people they love and trust during labour, or unobserved like an animal in the woods. We have so many BS storylines in things where the dad just isn’t there. I teach women who are on their own to hypnobirth but I also teach couples and the real power when I teach couples is seeing how the Dads transform in the practice. How supportive and involved they are. I explore this further in my blog here to show you what happens to a Dad when he’s learning about the impending birth of his baby.
I do think these things will help a lot of people though
1) highlighting what can be expected in the way we are spoken to (not great but true)
2) showing a baby in a special care unit – I remember being so shocked at seeing the kit attached to my baby and perhaps people seeing this would make it feel less shocking
3) she got better. They could have taken that either way. But the main thing is I have loved her character for being such a strong pillar of feminine strength, but where was her inner warrior goddess in labour? They could have continued the theme.
She looks so worried but where’s the warrior we are used to seeing from her? Here’s my experience of going from worrier to warrior
I’d love to hear your thoughts on this!