In a viral video posted on social media, a Chinese woman is seen giving birth on the street, after which she simply carries her baby and her shopping bag away.
Onlookers captured video on their smartphones yesterday of a Chinese woman giving birth on the street. The pregnant woman had been while shopping in Yunfu, a city in China. The woman silently pushes out her baby, who lands on the road. The people surrounding her only rush to respond once the infant is squirming on the ground.
In the next scene, it is clear that someone in the crowd has called medical professionals. Nevertheless, the mother still retains control and tosses aside some of the cloth used to cover her baby. Footage following this shows the mother with her newborn in one arm and her red shopping bag in the other. She walks down the street, her clothes bloodstained.
Next, the mother stops by a fast food outlet and looks as though she intends to place an order. Finally, the last bit of footage shows her sitting in the fast food establishment with the baby on her lap.
The viral video only contains raw footage. Consequently, there is practically nothing available to give clues as to who the woman is, her background or her circumstances. However, this did not stop all the millions of viewers having an opinion about what they had seen. Inevitably, the views were as varied as there are different types of perspectives in this world.
The fearful perspective
Some viewed the footage and were immediately horrified, despite the fact that they had watched a completely calm physiological birth. Generally, the “shocked” crowd tended to be citizens of the first world, where birth has been highly medicalized, and many perceive it as a potentially deadly process. Through this systematic brainwashing of the public, it is no wonder that these people feel the fear and horror they automatically associate with childbirth.
Grantly Dick-Read, the grandfather of the natural birth movement, authored the classic book Childbirth without Fear: The Principles and Practice of Natural Childbirth. Dick-Read also admitted that he felt alarmed when he first witnessed a rural woman give birth by the side of the road. She shunned his offers to assist and calmly gave birth in the same way as the Chinese woman in the viral video.
Also, similarly to the Chinese mother, the woman Dick-Read witnessed calmly picked up her baby after it was born, and made her way home. This is because, when a birth is progressing without complication, those in attendance need not interfere with the process. Which is why those who do not have a fearful perspective of birth were not horrified. This Chinese woman’s experience in the street was, to them, totally normal.
Another misconception was that the video demonstrated evidence of the racist myth that Chinese women get up from the patty field, give birth, and then go back to work. This is simply not the case. Chinese women traditionally have adhered to a strict “sitting in period.” This is a tradition whereby new mothers do not leave the house for 30 days after giving birth. The Chinese are so superstitious, in fact, that they ban the new mother from doing things like bathe or eat junk food.
Therefore, the fact that the mother walked away from the birth and stopped in a fast food outlet could potentially cause concern. For sure, since her birth was so straightforward, there was no need for her to go to a hospital. People give birth all the time, all around the world, and never step foot in a hospital. But still, there are many unanswered questions.
Ultimately, we can do nothing but speculate. We can hope and pray that this new mother is in a safe place with her newborn. Hopefully, people who love and care for her are surrounding her and nurturing her. Due to the nature of viral videos, this is something we may never know.