Pregnancy and birth can never be “biologically neutral”

Michelle: What we’re talking about is the biological reality of human beings, a dimorphic species made of males and females. And all we’re doing is observing: what is presenting on this newborn’s body? And when that mother is ready to receive that information, most of the time, she process that information herself.

MaryLou: I’ve been at so many births where the 45 minutes goes by before the family even thinks to look because they’re just so excited that the person is here, the baby is here. And the sex of the baby doesn’t even matter until they sort of come back out of the, like you said, that spiritual awe of the experience. But to say that we’re assigning sex or gender is no different than saying that we’re assigning human to the baby. Or that we’re assigning the baby’s species. These are biological facts and observations. When we do a newborn exam we always test to see if the baby’s palette is intact. We’re not assigning the baby with an intact palette. We’re observing.

Michelle: Either the baby has one, or the baby doesn’t have one. We’re doing an assessment. We do a new born exam and we’re looking at what is the characteristic of the baby. Have the testicles descended. These are all biological realities.

MaryLou: Are there ten fingers, are there ten toes. We’re not assigning—I’ve assigned you two hands—you know? And even beyond that, midwives have been arguing for a long time against pre-natal sex determination, and that we don’t believe ultra sound should be used gratuitously. We feel like that technology is unnecessary. Midwives have been advocating not finding out the sex particularly because we don’t want families assigning gender.

Michelle: That knowledge. The knowledge of knowing what the biological sex is of the baby you’re carrying can only be used for you to assign gender to that child. The only reason parent’s want to know so bad, is because they want to know how to decorate the room. They want to know what color clothes to buy. They want to know what name to give the child. They want to assign gender to that baby. That’s the only reason to do an ultra sound, because nothing else changes in what the mother’s going to eat, how the mother’s going to take care of herself, how the mother’s going to push the baby out. And when that baby is born, that baby could care less when they look up at that person who gave birth to them, the gender identity of that person. That person is their mother. That person bore them in their body, and created them of their flesh, and pushed them out into this world and they’re still one being. Gender identity is not a factor in that. That is a purely biological process.

In fact, in birth, if you were to remain in an intellectual space of identity as opposed to your biological reality, you would actually hinder your birth quite a bit. Because you would stay in a thinking place of the forebrain as opposed to the place you want to get to in birth where it is not intellectual. Totally primal. The oldest part of your brain that you will use.

MaryLou: We give birth with our biology, not our gender.


This is a part of an hour and a half long video interview on TRTV with Mark Cummings and Lynna Lopez with two midwives, found here:


Although it can be “gender neutral” depending on the lens, pregnancy and birth can never be “biologically neutral”