Russian Gynaecology

_Svenska Dagbladet_ has “a review”: of a book about European demography, _Barren States,_ in which I found the following anecdote:

bq. In Russian, mothers are also young: a woman of 27 is considered too old to give birth vaginally, and encouraged to have an abortion, or at least a caesarian section. When one 27-year-old woman insisted on giving birth vaginally and then complained of the pain, her doctor was outraged: “Of course it hurts!”, he said “It’s meant to hurt. What does a woman of your age expect? You could have been a almost grandmother by now and instead take it into your head to have a baby! What did you do when you were 20? Ran around and had a good time? It wouldn’t have hurt so much _then._ But you women just want to earn money, earn money, and then you complain that it hurts!”

I’ve heard some startling stories of Russian medicine, and misogyny, over the years but this is in a class of its own. God help the internet if the women who post at “unfogged;”: come across the story: it would be pissing on potassium.

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9 Responses to Russian Gynaecology

  1. TACO says:

    Crude, but not far wrong they are, these Russian doctors. Our species was never ment to be much older than forty or so. Admit it. I know, because I’m rapidly advancing fifty and since forty it has been a downhill ride to be honest. Everything about the collective pimping of senior lyfestyles bores me to death. Which is as it should be I guess. I thought I’d tell you this, I might not have much longer.

    Came to your blog by a detour. You’re the bass, I’m the pike, which means I’m the boss and you are fair game, at least when we are submerged and in Latin. Via Flickr I surfaced here, and I like what there is to see and to read. I might try out ‘The Darwin Wars’, Charles Robert being my childhood hero and all and having experimented on finches myself quite a bit once. I will browse your blog if you don’t mind and will bookmark it. How are you on Martin Amis? Because if you do not love him outright hostilities will be forthcoming. ‘Dead babies’ and all that. Which brings us full circle to the Russian mothers of the world. May they live long and prosper.

  2. ‘Misogyny’ seems such a pale word for such deep hostility.

  3. Julie says:

    ‘Elderly primigravida’ – was until quite recently the term used in the UK to describe a woman aged thirty or over who was having a first baby.

  4. acb says:

    Julia, I’ve heard this term used of my wife, but quite without the fury and relish of the Russian anecdote.

    Taco – welcome. I’m not a bass on Flickr, but a perch. You sound like the disillusioned old pike in _The Sword in the Stone:_ who tells Wart that “all power comes from the nape of the neck”. I’t possible that Wart is then a perch himself; I can’t remember, though Merlin was definitely then a tench. Unfortunately, I don’t know any fish names in Dutch.

  5. James says:

    Certainly when I was 18 and dating a Russian girl (in Australia), at least a third of her friends of the same age back in Moscow were married and sprogged already. Which makes it strange that the birthrate is so low, come to think of it, and has been since, what, the early 70s?

    As I remember, one major reason for getting knocked up was because the boyfriends/husbands were about to be sent off to do their army service.

  6. mcmc says:

    This fruit, it hangs too low.

  7. acb says:

    Just my luck to get a feminist with a sense of humour.

  8. TACO says:

    The funny thing is that a perch ís a bass species (its all a matter of outdated semantics among ichthyologists) and that pikes áre sardonic. Maybe because they grow so old. Never listen to a tench: they are prime pike fodder. Viktor Astafjev’s ‘The Emperor Fish’ and other true stories of Russian misery (to remain on that continent) says it all. Cheers. LOL @momc!

  9. Saltation says:

    it’s not specifically misogyny; rather it is a fervent cleaving to the Defined Social-Role Stereotypes, one of which is the Good Wife. the same “fury and relish” is applied to other nonconformists.

    if you turn the volume down only very slightly, the same attitudes are extant in most of Ireland’s doctors today (most girls are denied contraception, for example), and, if you look more broadly at the refusal to consider reality in favour of consensual subcultural norms (but with more liberal norms), all of the UK’s doctors.

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