The Birth Nerds Podcast

Monday, December 16, 2019

Pregnancy is NOT a Malady

Episode description:
In this episode, we take nerd to the next level as we discuss our ideas of birth in the wizarding world, specifically Harry Potter's culture. Join us as we stumble across a fifteen year old forum, theorize how pregnant folks get around, and laugh ourselves silly at some of the things we come up with!

Sources we use in the show:
The "Harry Potter" series by JK Rowling, specifically books 1, 4, 5, 6, and 7.
This amazing Chamber of Secrets forum from 2004: http://www.cosforums.com/cosarchive/archive/index.php/t-40053.html

Every podcast episode will be transcribed. We believe in accessibility. To listen, click here.

Dez: Welcome to The Birth Nerds Podcast: a Utah based podcast in which two friends discuss parenthood, history, and fandom with a unique birthy twist.

*Intro music plays*

A: Hey, I'm Als.

D: And I'm Dez.

A: And today we are talking about Harry Potter.

D: Because why wouldn't we talk about Harry Potter? We are nerds.

A: We love Harry Potter.

D: So freaking much.

A: Harry Potter's like the best fandom ever.

D: Oh, yeah. I have some friends from online forums that I met discussing Harry Potter.

A: I love Harry Potter.

D: I will fight you. I love him more!

*Both laughing*

A: Harry Potter is bae.

D: Uh... yeah.

A: How- how'd you get in to Harry Potter?

D: Um... it was when we were really little. I think I was seven or eight. I was a really young reader- I was reading at four- and I remember, it was... I was in all-day school so I had to have been, you know, at least first grade, but we would sit around in my sister's room 'cause she had the biggest room. And we would read Harry Potter out loud to each other. And we had some really atrocious pronunciations because of course we had never stumbled across the name "Hermione" before, so that was "Her-moyn" and it was "Hay-grid" 'cause the "I" pinches the "A" and it-

A: I wasn't into Harry Potter until... I was actually nine. Because my tenth birthday party was Harry Potter themed and I got so much Harry Potter stuff and it was so great. So, when I was nine... I've talked about this before! We moved from Arizona to Utah. In Arizona, Harry Potter was seen as like Satanic and evil, and nobody read it. Nobody talked about it. It was off limits. A big no-no.

D: Which is so funny because Utah is considered a more religious state.

A: Right.

D: You'd think that the "Mormons" would be more up-in-arms about it than the random Arizonans. Arizonians?

A: Ariz-? I don't even know what it is. Um, I think we had a lot of Baptists there.

D: Ah. That makes sense.

A: I think that that was-

D: More of a southern attitude.

A: Yeah. So I moved here and everyone was obsessed with Harry Potter. It was great. And I was like, "Mom, I wanna read Harry Potter!" And she said, "Okay. You can read Harry Potter if you get it from the school library, you bring it home, and I read it first." And I agreed. So I brought it home. It was glorious. I remember picking it up from the library. It was a hard copy. And a- a hard bound copy. And I brought it home and my mom read it in like a day. And she was like, "This is the best thing ever! You read it and then you bring home the second book!" And so I did. And-

D: Oh, Brenda. I love your mom!

A: I love my mom too. She's great. And that's where it all started. When the newer books came out, as I got a little bit older, we would always have to buy two copies of the books at the midnight, like, premier, because my... me and my mom found out that we can't share those books anymore. Um, we would have to read them at the same time. It was- it was so funny.

D: Oh, gosh!

A: So growing up, we had two copies of five, six, and seven.

D: Very cool.

A: And it was awesome.

D: Yeah. My sister went through a phase which is hilarious in hindsight because she cusses like a sailor now, but she would go through and cross out all the swears and write, like, substitutions.

A: That's amazing.

D: Um... so our books still have like little pencil smudges and, you know, "darn" or, uh, "heck" instead of the bad words. Because my sister went through a phase where she was editing them.

A: Wow.

D: You've met my sister, you know my sister-

A: I know, that's surprising.

D: That sounds nothing like her, does it?

A: It really- it really doesn't. That's awesome.

D: That's uh... that's what I like to tease her with now days.

A: That was another time.

D: Oh my gosh, it was!

A: Another time...

D: So... anyway. How does this tie into birth?

A: We are gonna talk about birth in the magical world.

D: Specifically, the European magical world, because we know a lot more about that than we do the American one. Hey, if anyone's listening from, you know, the studios that put out the "Fantastic Beasts" series, show us pregnancy in 1920s America in the magical world. Please and thank you.

A: Yeah, because JK didn't write about any of it in the books.

D: No, the closest we get is like an omission of talking about pregnancy and birth.

A: Yeah.

D: We talk about... let's see. Lily Potter, clearly, was pregnant and had a baby. We don't know where he was born. We know what day but that's about as close as it gets.

A: Yeah. I think the only person that we know where they were born was Voldemort.

D: Yes.

A: He was-

D: And Voldemort was born-

A: At the orphanage.

D: -at the orphanage. That- that's right. Yeah.

A: And that's... I think that's the only mention of any magical person being born.

D: Yeah. I mean, they say when Teddy Lupin is born-

A: Yeah.

D: -but again, they don't say where. It's, you know, Remus comes to the house and announces that he has a son and asks Harry to be godfather. Where do you think wizards give birth, Als? Or witches, I should say.

A: Uh. Not at the hospital.

D: No.

A: That's for sure.

D: No. I- I think not because we actually know what the floor plan at the hospital looks like and there's no maternity ward.

A: Shall we read it?

D: I will read it. You're gonna hear the book opening 'cause Als apparently doesn't read these as much as she would like to. They're a little stiff.

A: Yeah...

D: I'm on the wrong page. Okay. "Artifact accidents: ground floor. Creature induced injuries: first floor. Magical bugs: second floor. Potion and plant poisoning: third floor. Spell damage: fourth floor. Visitor's tearoom and hospital shop: fifth floor." Oh, so funny aside on "tearoom". I thought it was "tear room" as a child. I thought that's where the visitors went to cry.

A: I could see that. For sure.

D: So, yeah, I was like, "Oh, that's so sad that they have to have a room just for crying!"

A: But, as you can see, there's no mention of maternity or... OB. Nothin'.

D: Well, and even in- even in the name of the hospital: it's for magical maladies and injuries.

A: Obviously they don't consider , uh, pregnancy a malady.

D: Or an injury.

A: Rightfully so, because it's not.

D: You're not sick. You're clearly not sick. You're vibrant and healthy. For the most part. I mean, clearly there are pregnant women who get sick-

A: Yeah.

D: -but I'm sure that those would fall under some other category of healing. They clearly don't give birth in the hospital. So where would magical people have babies?

A: Hooome!

D: Well, I mean let's- let's really like break this down though. So, we first hear about, like, healers in the first book?

A: Yeah. It's gotta be in the first book. I feel like that's-

D: Yeah.

A: -an integral part of- of the magical world is-

D: Yeah.

A: -that there are healers that you use herbs and potions and a lot of home remedies. I'm pretty sure at one point in Molly Weasley's house she has books and books and books about home remedies.

D: Yeah. Well, I think that the actual quote went something like this. And I don't have all of Harry Potter memorized, just like the first chapter of the first book-

A: What? You don't?

D: No. The quote went something like this though. Um... Ron is talking about healers and Harry goes, "Healers? You mean doctors?" And Ron goes, "Doctors? Those muggle nutters that cut people? Nah, healers!" Something- something to that effect. 'Cause, you know, that's how they see muggle doctors. That's how they see the medical system is "oh, they're just psychopath who cut people".

A: Uh- I- agree actually.

D: I mean-

A: To an extent.

D: I- I really think it takes a certain kind of personality to be able to cut into someone that way.

A: Oh my gosh, right?

D: You have to- you have to be a different kind of person. Not saying that doctors are psychopaths-

A: Yeah.

D: -and I'm pretty sure that's not even the word that's used anymore.

A: Yeah. I mean, most doctors aren't surgeons, let's be real.

D: That's true. But maternity care doctors are.

A: Are surgeons.

D: Um... OB is a surgical specialty.

A: It is.

D: So it's really interesting that for, like, one of the most healthy times in a woman's life, that we are sent by our insurance companies to surgical specialties-

A: So weird!

D: -instead of someone who specializes in, you know, pregnancy and birth. Not that they don't specialize in pregnancy and birth, but they also specialize in highly skilled surgery. There's no other way to put that.

A: Yeah. A C-section is a major surgery. You think about it, most surgeries are done laparoscopically. You- you can't have a laparoscopic c-section. Not really.

D: I mean, they'd have to use a lot of vacuuming. 'Cause I mean, I know they use suction for laparoscopic surgeries to-

A: Yeah.

D: - help remove organs and whatnot.

A: Yeah, but you know, laparoscopic surgery, you know, the holes are two inches, if that. And you- you can't get a baby out of a two inch incision.

D: No you can't. That's why vaginas are designed to stretch.

A: And incisions don't.

D: Incisions are not designed to stretch.

A: They're not.

D: If they stretch, that's a very bad thing.

A: And painful! Whew!

D: Okay, so, but more- more evidence of why they probably wouldn't use muggle systems. You know, and there is some speculation that, "Oh, they just have a separate hospital. St. Mungos is more like an emergency room." Which I might believe if not for the fact that they have long-term residents.

A: Yeah.

D: I mean, they have, um, on the fourth floor, they have long-term residents.

A: Yeah.

D: Permanent spell damage.

A: Exactly. Neville's parents have been there his entire life.

D: And then there's Lockhart who's "learning joined up writing". I love him so much in the fourth book. Uh, excuse me. In the fifth book.

A: Fifth book, yeah. He's- I like him a lot more in the fifth book than I did the second.

D: He's hysterical. Course, I've been around somebody with dementia and that's a lot what it seems like, that he just doesn't quite know what's going on.

A: That's true.

D: And it's really sad. But also adorable.

A: I agree.

D: 'Cause he's a lot nicer.

A: Oh my gosh, and just so much less evil.

D: Yeah. Yeah.

A: Yeah...

D: He forgot how evil he was supposed to be.

A: Yeah...

D: Magical people are really prejudiced toward muggles. In general. Especially when you get the pure blood families.

A: Oh, yeah.

D: You know there is no way in the wizarding world that Lucius Malfoy would have allowed Narcissa into the care of a muggle doctor.

A: Oh, heavens no!

D: Ever!

A: Uh-uh.

D: So.. and as far as we know, there's no magical hospital for babies to be born.

A: Nope.

D: Actually, you know what? How- even if there was, how would they get there? They don't have cars!

A: Right? Can you imagine, uh, trying to ride a broomstick while, uh, in labor? Or using-

D: Not even just in labor. I'm just picturing that pregnant.

A: Oh, right? That'd be terrible. UGH! I mean, that'd be terrible not pregnant. Let's be real.

D: Oh my gosh. You're flying over some muggles and they don't see you there and-

A: Oh my gosh!

D: -all the sudden, it starts raining 'cause your water broke!

A: Oh my gosh!

*Both laughing too hard to continue for a brief moment*

A: That would be so terrible!

D: *In a very bad British accent* "Rather warm rain for December..."

*Sustained laughter*

A: Oh geez.  Whew...

D: You can tell we're unscripted 'cause I totally blew her out of the water with that little joke.

A: That was a good one. Oh, geez.

D: Yeah, that would be very uncomfortable.

A: Yeah, brooms would suck, the floo network.

D: Ugh.

A: Can you imagine that in labor?

D: Even- even pregnant. Spinning like that? No- you're gonna hurl.

A: Oh yeah.

D: Yeah.

A: I mean I can't- I don't know how wizards and witches don't hurl by using the floo network. Maybe some do.

D: Well, yeah, I would imagine some people just- I mean, it's just like muggles.

A: Yeah!

D: You know. My mom can't even go on a merry-go-round without getting motion sick.

A: Exactly!

D: There's no way in heck she'd be using the floo network.

A: Right?

D: She would not be doing that. She would literally do any other magical form of transportation.

A: Yeah.

D: I mean- I- flying carpets might work.

A: Yeah, that might not be bad.

D: But they're illegal in Britain.

A: Oh, that's true! I forgot about that.

D: Book number four. Yeah they're illegal in Britain.

A: And you know, not everyone has access to a thestral.

D: No. I- I would imagine the vast majority wouldn't because they're unlucky.

A: Yeah. Exactly.

D: Even if you had access, would you put- would you climb on the "death horse" while you're pregnant?

A: Right? That'd be such a big no-no. Whew!

D: I mean, it's so superstitious.

A: Mmm hmm. Exactly.

D: What other options are there? Apparation?

A: That sounds like a terrible idea too.

D: I mean, I could see, like, placental issues with that. You're getting squeezed through a tube is the way it's described in the book.

A: Yeah.

D: Your body's not meant to move that way. Especially not pregnant. I could just see, like, placental abruption or something really gnarly happening.

A: Right?

D: Okay, so we actually stumbled across in our research- 'cause we did research. Like we're gonna put notes.

A: We are. We have plenty of them.

D: We stumbled across an old "Chamber of Secrets" forum-

A: From fifteen years ago!

D: Actually, is it fifteen?

A: Yeah.

D: Was it 2004 or 2003? 2004. Okay.

A: Fifteen years ago, guys. This is gold.

D: Fifteen years ago and it is phenomenal.

A: The- the title of it is "Are Magical Babies Born at St. Mungos?" The short answer is no.

D: So they make the same point that we've already made, that St. Mungos is just a hospital for magical maladies and injuries. That's "Queen of Wise". Thank you Queen of Wise. I hope you still like Harry Potter fifteen years later.

A: I mean, I can't imagine why she wouldn't.

D: It just gets better with time, doesn't it?

A: It does! It really does.

D: Except for the fifth book. I just wanna smack him. But we were all like that at fifteen.

A: It- it's- it's so true though. We really are!

D: I mean, we knew each other at fifteen.

A: We were totally like that.

D: For real.

A: Probably worse in some ways.

D: Uh, yeah. We had a different hormonal cycle than Harry does. So yes, definitely worse in some ways.

A: Yeah. Mmm hmmm.

D: Let's see. Uh- this is- this is interesting. This is "Queen of Wise" again. "Muggle clinics? I don't see the need for wizard intervention unless there's the danger of a witch doing uncontrolled magic while going through labor pains. Or maybe the baby disappearing from the womb and straight into the doctor's waiting arms."

A: Can you imagine?

D: Considering- considering how long it took Harry to learn apparation at seventeen, I sincerely doubt that babies can apparate out of the womb.

A: Yeah.

D: Besides which, they're forgetting the other half of that which is the placenta.

A: Yup.

D: You know, both need to be birthed.

A: "Pegasus" says: "I can't see wizards stepping foot inside a muggle hospital. Remember Molly's reaction when Arthur and the experimental healer tried stitches? And Ron called muggle doctors 'nutters'? People never stopped using midwives at home. Hospitals just became the norm. Many people are going back to the natural method. With a healer nearby, I can't see a wizard needing an epidural, and that's really the main reason to have- have it in the hospital these days anyway."

D: That's-

A: I agree.

D: Yeah. Well, so there's the wizards' prejudice against muggles-

A: Oh yeah.

D: -and against muggle remedies. That's true. I mean, I- I sincerely doubt that they deal with perineal tears the way that muggles do.

A: Oh I-

D: They don't believe in stitches.

A: Yeah.

D: Postpartum hemorrhage probably wouldn't be a shot of pitocen in your leg. It would be, like, some sort of potion.

A: I completely agree.

D: That I would imagine the midwife- or mid-witch-

A: Mid-witch!

D: -would have brewed up before they came to the birth.

A: Yeah.

D: So...

A: Something to have in the bag.

D: Yeah, I mean... think of what we have in the bag, I mean, if baby's not breathing. There's gotta be a spell to help wake them up. Or a potion. Or-

A: Yeah.

D: There- there's other things to do. If we consider the possibility of magical remedies. I mean-

A: It- it's infinite.

D: Some of the- well, some of the things that are the scariest to us with birth. I mean, hemorrhage. Postpartum hemorrhage. It says right in fifth book that they have a blood replenishing potion.

A: Yeah.

D: So as long as you can get the actual bleeding under control, you're gonna be okay. Because they're gonna be able to replenish your blood without needing, I mean, muggle remedies like putting someone else's blood in your body. Which sounds really creepy when you put it that way.

A: It really does. Wow.

D: Donate blood, folks. Hospitals always need it.

A: It's true.

D: Okay, this is "harryfantotheend". Awww.

A: Same girl!

D: I hope you really are.

A: Or same, dude. I don't know who you are.

D: Same, person.

A: Same.

D: Um, "Okay, I'm not saying that St. Mungos is the only hospital, but let's not forget that there are many magical transportation devices. Floo powder, apparating, or portkeys could get you to, let's say St. Mungos, at the time of labor. Let's go beyond labor. If you have a broken bone or a 'magical malady', you could easily arrange transportation to even a far away clinic." I- I take it that person has never been pregnant or around-

A: -Yeah...

D: -pregnant people. There's no freaking way.

A: No.

D: There's no way.

A: Probably a dude. Sorry!

D: Or, I mean, a teenager. Let's be honest.

A: Yeah probably a teen-

D: In 2004.

A: -oh yeah, probably a teenager, especially on a forum.

D: This is a really good point. So Arthur Weasley is fascinated with muggles.

A: Yeah.

D: But they probably still didn't go to a muggle hospital.

A: Oh, heavens no. Molly would not have allowed that.

D: Well, even so. Like, he might not even realize that that's where muggles go to have babies.

A: You know, he probably doesn't.

D: He collects plugs.

A: Yeah.

D: And-

A: And rubber duckies.

D: I mean, that's the movie, that's not canon.

A: That's true. It-

D: But it's adorable.

A: -isn't. It's adorable. "What is the function of a rubber duck?"

D: But, I do like this thought because, um, it says... So this is "Coley"? "Kahli"?: "Do you think since emotions are running so high magical accidents would happen? Maybe there's a special place. Or maybe they just do home births with special healers." Ma-magical accidents. Um. I imagine, like, a child not being able to control their powers. I mean, Harry was able to, like, regrow his hair and shrink a sweater.

A: Yeah.

D: But because she's giving life at that moment, I wonder if it's other things. You know, she walks past her flower bed and it's December and the flowers bloom. You know.

A: Yeah. Life giving.

D: It like- I mean, I'm thinking like the goddess from Moana.

A: Ri- right?! Yeah. I could totally see that though.

D: Ah. That make- that would be so beautiful.

A: It really would be.

D: I wanna do that!

A: Right? Very positive life-giving kind of energy.

D: Well, and this particular question I think was more about not just "where do wizards give birth" but specifically where was Harry born?

A: Yeah.

D: So we've got to dig into that a little bit too. First, pause and do our Nerd Alert.

*Chimes sound*

D: Our Birth Nerd Alert today is about "portkeys" and pregnancy. JK Rowling actually put out on Pottermore (which is now called wizardingworld.com for some dumb reason) - no offense JK. She wrote about portkeys and in a section at the very bottom, it says, "The sensation of travelling by portkey is universally agreed to be uncomfortable, if not downright unpleasant, and can lead to nausea, giddiness, and worse. Healers recommend that the elderly, pregnant, and infirm avoid using portkeys. The suggestion of arranging portkeys for the transportation of annoying relatives has saved many a wizarding family Christmas."
Okay, here we go. Um... "Rotsy-spots"? Would you think that's correct?

A: Ra- raw- rotsypots?

D: Oh, "Rotsypots". I can't read. I'm sorry.

A: It's okay, it's hard to read. You-

D: I knew it until you asked.

A: Usernames!

D: Usernames.

A: Usernames.

D: Usernames indeed.

A: "Obstetrics is only a relatively recent branch of medicine, the last fifty years or so, so it's more than possible that most magical babies are delivered by midwives. Either that or someone just yells, 'Accio baby!'and then the mother goes into labor. As for where Harry was born, I'd say Godric's Hollow. I was going to be controversial and say Azkaban, but we don't know enough about Lily to make that sort of inference."

D: Actually... we do now. Because back in 2004, books six and seven hadn't come out yet.

A: Oh my gosh, that's so crazy to think!

D: Ah. So we do know, now, that Lily was not in Azkaban when Harry was born. They were already in hiding though in Godric's Hollow.

A: Yeah.

D: And I sincerely doubt that Dumbledore would have allowed them to leave hiding to have a baby.

A: Yeah.

D: Makes me wonder if Harry was born via freebirth. No provider in sight. No healer. Makes me wonder if a lot of magical people are. Because you call a healer if you need to be *healed*.

A: Yeah.

D: Which-

A: And pregnancy's not a malady.

D: It's not! Well, and birth usually isn't either.

A: Yeah.

D: Birth is not a medical event. I mean, there are occasions in which it is, but generally speaking, it doesn't need to be.

A: Yup.

D: So it makes me wonder, again, is it midwives? Midwitches? Some sort of clinic situation. But again, travelling pregnant just sounds really uncomfortable. Cars are bad enough, let alone broomsticks and apparation. And we already know they can't use portkeys.

A: Yeah.

D: So... the clinic situation seems a little odd. Like, how would they get there? It would have to be within walking distance.

A: Exactly. And most- I mean if we look at where the Weasley's live, it's kind of the middle of nowhere.

D: Yeah. Well, and wizards are kind of just like dotted around the country. There's only a few settlements that have a big portion of wizards. The only one that I think might have, like, a walk-in clinic situation would be, ummm, Hogsmeade village.

A: Yeah, Hogsmeade.

D: Because it's an entirely magical community. So theoretically, if you're gonna have, like, a birth center-

A: Yeah.

D: -it would be in Hogsmeade.

A: I mean, I could maybe even see that for Godric's Hollow too because-

D: Yeah.

A: -there is a larger magical population there.

D: I- I could see that, yeah. Because if there's enough of them-

A: Yeah.

D: -it'd be worth having it. But otherwise I think that there's gotta be a system to get the midwives out of bed. Or to the birth. I mean, I'm thinking kind of like the death eaters' scars-

A: Yeah.

D: -the- the tattoos, but it- I mean, clearly, not something that drastic. You wouldn't do that to a pregnant person anyway.

A: Yeah. I would think maybe the coins like Hermione had.

D: Yeah. Well, I mean-

A: For the Order of the Phoenix, or-

D: if-

A: not the Order of the Phoenix.

D: It wouldn't even need to be inconspicuous though.

A: Mmm hmm.

D: The reason that she did coins was to be inconspicuous.

A: It's true.

D: It could be something super conspicuous.

A: Yeah.

D: Jewelry that lights up and flashes colors and it's, you know, purple for the Potter family and blue for the Longbottom family, and, you know the midwife knows where they're going.

A: Yeah. You know, in the UK, having a home birth is very normal.

D: Yeah.

A: It's part of their health care system there. So I can imagine that having a home birth is not really seen as a big deal especially in the wizarding community.

D: Yeah. Well, and, when we think about birth in, you know, the wizarding community in America, what we know from the "Fantastic Beasts" series is that they weren't even allowed to be friends with muggles.

A: Yeah. There's no way they would be at a muggle hospital.

D: There's no way. So, I think that... yeah. Midwives are probably the best option. And I kind of, like, you know. There was this big attack on midwives in the late 1800s and early 1900s in the US.

A: In America, especially, yeah.

D: Um. What if they were getting attacked from both sides? What if the same midwives that were serving communities that didn't want to go to the hospital were witches serving the wizarding community as well. And they're getting attacked from both sides?

A: Oh my gosh. That'd be amazing.

D: That would make a lot of sense.

A: It would. It would make a ton of sense.

D: We do need to pause this and reassure our audience that we know with 99% certainty that "Harry Potter" is fiction, unfortunately. However, we are super nerds, and we would love it to be real.

A: Yeah we would.

D: Especially since the dark lord got defeated when we were babies. You know.

A: Yeah. What is that-

D: We would have been toddlers.

A: Right? There was, like, a post going around a while ago that was like, "If you were born between years this and this, it's very well likely that if you are a muggle-born that your names were taken off of the Hogwarts list", which was like years that we were born in-

D: Uh-huh. Well, you know how many of our American friends are, like, getting a lot of peace from that, saying, "Okay, that's why I wasn't getting my Hogwarts letter." And I'm like, "You guys, we live in America. We'd have been going to Ilvermorny."

A: Yeah, but that was before Ilvermorny was a thing.

D: Well, no, 'cause we knew American schools existed.

A: Yeah.

D: We knew that there were wizarding schools from book four. So. We didn't know what it was called.

A: We all secretly just wanna be British.

D: Uh, yes!

A: That's what it comes down to.

D: I just think- oh, have you seen the theory that Ilvermorny is built on area 51? That's why it's so secretive?

A: Oh my gosh, that'd be so funny.

D: And the aliens that people think they've seen are actually house-elves?

A: I thought it was on the east coast though?

D: I- I don't know.

A: Because of when it was-

D: That would make sense.

A: -established.

D: Maybe there's another wizarding school on Area 51.

A: Maybe there is. That- that's- Oh my gosh, I could just see like a native American based-

D: I have a thought.

A: -witch school, wizardry school, it'd be awesome.

D: I have a hilarious thought. So, if you're listening to this in 2019, you'll remember that a couple of months ago, people decided that they were gonna storm Area 51. What if the reason that that was not successful was not because they didn't storm it but because they were all given memory charms?

A: Oh my gosh. That would be so perfect.

D: Ah

A: So funny!

D: I'm a genius!

A: Okay, let's- let's go back to this forum. And see if, uh-

D: I- I do like the terminology of "mid-witch".

A: I do too.

D: So, "midwife" doesn't actually have to be a woman. That's a common misperception. I mean, I know of a few male midwives who are fantastic. But, uh, "midwife" just means "with woman".

A: Yeah.

D: You know, they're the person who's with the person giving birth. So "mid-witch" would work just as well because they're "with witch" while she's giving birth.

A: Exactly.

D: So, I like that term.

A: It's more appropriate for-

D: Well...

A: -the wizarding world anyway.

D: I mean, even for the muggle world because we look at somebody who uses herbs and tinctures and poultices as-

A: A witch?

D: Or a hippy.

A: Yeah.

D: But they're not.

A: No.

D: I mean, medication is derived from herbs and oils. Like, that's how we have things like Tylenol.

A: Exactly.

D: Is, you know, way back when it's a pharma- I mean, it's a pharmaceutical now but it's a plant based thing.

A: Mmm hmm.

D: Because that's- that's medicine. That's potent medicine.

A: Yeah.

D: So.

A: I want to be an herbalist, actually.

D: Ooh, this one looks interesting. From "Drusilla".

A: Drusilla... "I don't think Harry could have been born in a muggle hospital, especially as Voldemort was after him at the time. And Dumbledore would have never allowed someone so important to the fight against the dark side to be exposed to the risks of having Voldemort or a death eater find him in the muggle world. Remember Fudge's warning to Harry in Prisoner of Azkaban not to go wandering off into muggle London. It was because he wasn't as well protected there as he was around wizards, except for at Privet Drive, and the same would probably have applied to him as a baby. Besides, Lily Potter was also a full-fledged member of the Order of the Phoenix, and they could have risked- and- or- and the couldn't* have risked her getting hurt or killed in a death eater attack. Wherever Harry was born, it was prob- most probably in the wizarding world, whether it was Godric's Hollow or not is debatable.

D: Which, again, this has been clarified just a little bit because we know they were already in hiding-

A: Yeah.

D: -at the time of Harry's birth.

A: Exactly.

D: I just-

A: I think it was at Godric's Hollow. I think-

D: 'Kay-

A: I think he was a home birth baby.

D: There's another thing I wanna talk about though.

A: What?

D: Because you know me and my attitudes around perinatal mood and anxiety disorders.

A: Yes.

D: I am a huge advocate for: let's talk about it more, let's get more people screened for it.

A: Yeah.

D: How isolating is it to not be able to go home-

A: Oh...

D: -or to see family while you're pregnant.

A: Right?

D: How isolating is it to have your first born baby all by yourself?

A: Right.

D: And I mean, I know we're exchanging letters with Petunia at this point-

A: Mmm hmm.

D: -because there's letters that Harry finds later. But I can't even imagine how hard that was for the two of them. And they were really young, too.

A: Yeah.

D: I mean, I think they were, what, twenty when Harry was born?

A: Yeah. Something like that.

D: Just babies.

A: Right?

D: ..says the one who was nineteen when her oldest was born.

A: Still. You were a baby then too.

D: I know, I really was. I- I- and I imagine they've gotta have different things to treat depression among wizards as well, I would think.

A: Oh, yeah.

D: So-

A: 'Cause that's a- that's a biological issue in a lot of cases.

D: Yeah, well, and I mean, again, if we go back to the whole "witches are herbalists" thing-

A: They totally are.

D: I mean, they have things that help treat depression that are natural. St John's Wort.

A: Yeah.

D: That's not one that's recommended while you're pregnant or breastfeeding but it is one that's used a lot with anxiety specifically.

A: Yeah. I'd imagine-

D: I'm gonna have to look that up and verify, but we will put a link to, like, herbal remedies for depression and anxiety in the show notes. Why not?

A: Hey, yeah, why not?

D: Also, please, if you are pregnant or recently had a baby and you haven't been screened, ask your providers to screen you. Ask your doctor, your midwife, your pediatrician. It's so important. And even if you're not struggling, asking might save somebody else. So-

A: Yeah.

D: -that's my little public service announcement because every provider that works with new parents needs to be screening them.

A: Yup. Even when I went in after I lost Drew they screened me. And-

D: Which-

A: -Drew was only eleven weeks, so...

D: That's amazing though. Because-

A: Yeah. It's so important.

D: -it can happen at any gestation. But yeah, that's so important. And I even recommend that all doulas screen their clients. 'Cause it's not diagnostic. It's just a screening and then, if, you know, if we are concerned, we can refer them to somebody.

A: Yeah.

D: So... let's see. Sorry, that was kind of a side note y'all, but, and kind of a little sadder than we want to keep this episode. This one's a really light, fun episode. But it's really important to discuss.

A: Always.

D: Uh, there is a theory from "siriusvilla" that there might be other wizard hospitals- we're back on the forum, sorry. We didn't really say that. Um, other wizard hospitals, and they say, "I mean, there are a ton of muggle ones." And that's legitimate. Just because St. Mungos is maybe the biggest-

A: Yeah.

D: -or maybe the most well recognized doesn't mean it's the only one.

A: But where- I don't know. I-I think that because of how secluded the muggle- oh, sorry, the wizarding population is, and how far, um, they had to go when Arthur was in the hospital, I would think that there weren't a ton.

D: Oh my gosh, 'kay, this is so funny. From "Annabelle" on the forum. Sorry, I wasn't even listening to you-

A: That's okay!

D: -I was reading. Um, we-we already briefly talked about doing wandless magic accidentally. It says, "Can you imagine a witch giving birth though? A lot of women tend to become... less than fond... of their husbands or partners whilst they're in labor-"
Whilst. This person must be British.

A: Mmm hmm.

D: They use proper grammar. "What with it being 'all their fault' that they're in this condition. Plus we know that wizarding folk can do uncontrolled magic-" oh, excuse me, "wandless magic in times of fear, pain, or stress. Now combine the two and imagine what states the husbands end up in during delivery. Poor guys. I don't like to think what I would have done if I had been a witch. Let's just hope that the magical pain relief is far more advanced than the muggle sort or the midwife's job would be more to protect the other people in the room than anything else.

A: I was actually thinking that as you were reading that. I was like, "Wow, they probably just have midwives just to, uh-

D: Just to keep the partners alive!

A: -turn- turn husbands back into, uh, wizards after being turned into frogs or something.

D: The midwife's just there with a shield charm! Ooh! Okay, what is it called when you accidentally- it's- it's splinched?

A: Oh yeah. Sp- splinched.

D: 'Kay-

A: Yeah, I think it's splinched.

D: So "X Fan" or "Xan Fan"? "X-A-N Fan" says, "I made myself laugh with this idea. Okay, wizards can apparate, right? And they must be able to apparate with other items or else they'd jump from place to place without any clothing. But could a pregnant witch simply apparate into a bed a foot away and leave the baby where it was? Bingo! Birthday." I'm just imagining, I mean, being splinched is really painful. And-

A: Yeah.

D: -again, I think this person is forgetting about the placenta.

A: Yeah.

D: 'Cause, yes, the baby's a separate being and while theoretically-

A: Yeah.

D: -you could apparate and leave the baby there. However, is it the whole amniotic sac and the placenta and everything? Maybe all wizards are born en caul.

A: That'd by cool.

D: For those who don't know, "en caul" is just a fancy way of saying their amniotic sac is still around them at birth, and it's- it's really cool. Fairly rare. "A nice potion for a painless childbirth would be great. They probably have the magival- the magical equivent-" Can you read that, Als?

A: "-a mag- magical equivalent of the cesarean, too-"

D: "-in case things go badly." Thank you. Apparently "equivalent" is a hard word for us to say today.

A: Well, it is getting late.

D: Oh, okay, so Annabelle again on this forum, says, "On another note, I wonder whether the staff on a muggle maternity ward would notice anything special about magical muggle born babies. Some of them must already have some uncontrolled magic, after all."

A: Ooh.

D: 'Kay, but that makes me think back. This confirms in my mind that Teddy Lupin was born at home.

A: Mmm hmm.

D: Because they said his hair started changing immediately.

A: That's true!

D: I mean, unless he was-

A: I forgot about that!

D: Unless he was born with a magical staff who knew that his mom was a metamorphmagus-

A: Yeah.

D: There's no way that a muggle nurse would be, like, "Oh, yeah, no big deal."

A: Right?

D: I mean, they have- they have confundus charms and things like that but I really just don't think they'd want to confund the person taking care of their baby.

A: Exactly.

D: So-

A: Exactly. Let's- okay- I think- I think we can definitely come to a consensus that wizard babies are not born at muggle hospitals.

D: Yes.

A: Like a hundred percent. There's just too many reasons why-

D: With very few exceptions.

A: -why they couldn't be.

D: With very f- 'cause because I would think- that a muggle born parent-

A: Yeah.

D: -might choose that especially if they were to go into premature labor or something.

A: Yeah.

D: "The midwife idea goes quite nicely with the slight medieval feel of the books." Thank you, "Dark Arts". Midwives are not medieval. In fact, most of them are far more experts on normal birth than obstetricians are.

A: That's true.

D: And I say "normal birth" as in, you know, un-undisturbed, un- messed with.

A: Yeah. Low risk, typical birth.

D: "House calls would be a lot easier in the wizarding wold due to their easy traveling methods and not having a lot of equipment to carry." Which again, I don't think that they wouldn't have a lot of equipment. I would imagine that a midwife would get to your house with a cauldron. A mid-witch, excuse me.

A: Yeah.

D: With a cauldron and potion equipments and- you know.

A: I would think so.

D: Because it wouldn't be practical to carry around blood replenishing potion for every single pregnant person.

A: Yeah.

D: It wouldn't- it wouldn't be practical. But if you have a few herbs that you could throw together and make that potion really quick? That might be more practical.

A: Yeah.

D: See, a lot of people here are talking about pain relief. And I said something to you before we started recording-

A: Yeah.

D: About the idea that, perhaps, birth is magic.

A: Yeah.

D: It's like a spell.

A: Oh yeah.

D: And perhaps pain is part of that.

A: Yes. But I can imagine that if they did have pain relief, it would be absolutely wonderful. That they could walk around and do what their body feels like they need to do-

D: Yeah.

A: -and birth how they need to do without being hindered by an epidural where you can't move.

D: Yeah, no, well, and then I had the slightly more dark idea-

A: Of course you did.

D: Of course I did. -of using the imperius curse. You know, in the books it describes it as, like, a super floaty feeling. Um... Everything just feels pleasant and there's no pain and you- you're just really open to suggestions. It reminds me of hypnosis.

A: Yeah.

D: I mean we- muggles use hypnobirthing, hypnobabies, uh, you know, Curtis method, Mongan method, there are so many childbirth hypnosis programs. That basically, it's supposed to, again, take you into this kinda floaty, relaxed state. You can still move around.

A: Yeah.

D: But you're a lot more suggestible to ideas. So- I mean- this could be easily abused but I don't believe in mid-witches using things nefariously in general.

A: Not if they're anything like, uh-

D: Like the midwives we know?

A: Like muggle midwives.

D: Yeah.

A: You know.

D: Oh, we'll have to ask your midwife if she's secretly a witch.

A: Oh my gosh! We totally should. That'd be epic. 'Course we do need to talk to her about, uh, the-

D: Oh, yes.

A: -uh, how mermaids give birth.

D: Yes. Uh- it could be used nefariously but I can't imagine how much easier it would be sometimes to help somebody who's never birthed before.

A: Mmm hmm.

D: By putting them in a calm, relaxed state and suggesting things they should try.

A: Right?

D: "How 'bout... try on your knees. Let's try a bath. Let's try dancing with your partner." I could just see that being a lot easier. I mean, even from a doula's point of view. Not that I would want to control the people I work with.

A: Yeah.

D: But... when they're panicking enough that they can't even think of what they'd like to try next... they're in labor land enough that they can't wrap their minds around a sentence, it would be really nice to have a tool like that. Used, of course, with consent.

A: Oh yeah, of course.

D: "I had assumed they were delivered by magical storks just like muggle babies." Huh? Oh...

A: Thanks "Mundungus Fletcher". Oooh, um, "Psycho" says that, "To make a spell for helping childbirth would be experimenting with babies. I don't think that is likely."

D: Oh...

A: That is a really good point. So maybe it is... au natural.

D: Yeah.

A: 'Cause you do have to experiment with spells to get them right. And I imagine making potions would be the same thing.

D: Yeah.

A: And nobody wants to experiment on babies in-.

D: That's part of the reason muggle medicine is so man-centric.

A: Mmm hmm.

D: Because women of childbearing age were excluded from drug trials because they didn't want to mess with it. So you're right. I think that would be an ethical conundrum for the wizards as much as it would be for-

A: Us muggles.

D: -us muggles, yeah. Ha! "Dark Arts" says, "Following along this line of thought, in which class do you think they teach about babies and where they come from?"

A: Ooooh!

D: "-or magical contraceptives."

A: Ooooh!

D: "Whew, we better now go there. Can you imagine Snape trying to teach a sex-ed class?"

A: *Laughing*

D: Oh, "Annabelle" responds that, "maybe Madam Pomfrey talks to them about it. Or it's expected that they learn that sort of thing at home or behind broomsheds." I mean, leaving it to the parents to teach sounds like a really good theory-

A: It does.

D: -but let's be honest, we're not very good at talking about sex to our kids.

A: At least some people aren't.

D: Yeah, I- I- I'm saying in general.

A: Yeah, in general.

D: Society.

A: Yeah.

D: Um... so yeah. I think it would have to be something school based. I mean, can you imagine- 'cause they start school at eleven or twelve.

A: Yeah.

D: You know. Eleven. And then they turn twelve shortly after. I mean, a lot of these young witches would be starting periods.

A: Yeah.

D: Somebody's gotta talk to them about it.

A: Oh, yeah.

D: There- there's that meme that has Snape holding a pack of "Always" brand pads. Have you seen that one?

A: No!

D: We'll have to put that on the nstagram. 'Cause it's a hilarious meme. 'Cause that's his thing is "Always". You know, somebody's gotta talk to them. I would imagine their head of house but I can't imagine how awkward that would be for, like, Pansy Parkinson, for Snape to come in and talk to her about periods.

A: Yeah. I would imagine that Madam Pompfrey.

D: Yeah.

A: I would- I bet hey would have a little-little get together, much like, uh, maturation.

D: Oh, gosh.

A: That was terrible. I always hated that.

D: And it's not mentioned in the books 'cause Harry's clueless, and he's like, "Ah, why do I need to learn about female things for?"

A: Exactly!

D: "Puberty? What's that? My voice is not squeaking or anything."

A: No!

D: Wha- how would you say that name?

A: Uh, yeah? "Uh-mel-iss"?

D: "Amelis" says, "As the mother of a nine month old and pregnant mother of twins-"

A: Oh gosh...

D: Um... shout out to you because you now have three teenagers. At least. Um. "I would love 'Accio baby'. Epidurals are just not enough. Anyway, there are a few questions related to this that I've been wondering about. Like, do wizards have sex?" They're human, honey, they have sex.

A: Yeah.

D: Um. "Do they get divorced?"

A: I would think yes as well.

D: "Do witch mommies get a big belly the normal way? Or do witches and wizards 'take care of themselves'?" That- that implication almost sounds like permanent sterilization?  "Are there any homosexual wizards? Probably, since Dumbledore's own brother had an 'inappropriate relationship with goats'." Oh my gosh...

A: I forgot about that.

D: The innocence of 2014 though.

A: I know, right? They did not-

D: That they don't know that Dumbledore's gay!

A: -they did not see that coming. You know, I didn't reaaly see that coming either.

D: Really? I always knew he was gay. Anyway.

A: Yeah.

D: "Are they magically able to do what we can't even do even with our biological technology?" Oh, like decide the sex of the baby! "Do witches menstruate?" I can assure you that m- that witches menstruate-

A: Yeah.

D: -and I guarantee there are blood rights with their menstruation. Because that's metal AF. Because I'm trying really hard to not have to mark this explicit.

A: Yeah.

D: But I guarantee you that witches menstruate.

A: Yeah. I would think so.

D: Although, I'm sure there are potions or something that they could reduce menstruation or- I mean, similar to a birth control pill.

A: Yeah. Maybe without the, uh, hormonal-

D: Without the awful side-effects?

A: -hormonal effects.

D: That'd be amazing!

A: But I mean, when you think about it, witches and wizards are, you know, they're still human. So I would imagine that biologically speaking they're very similar.

D: The comment to that is, "Do they have sex? Obviously you haven't read enough fanfics!"

A: It's true.

D: I was thinking the same thing but I was trying not to expose myself as a former Harry Potter fanfic lover.

A: I don't know if they could decide the sex of the baby. I almost think that they wouldn't even find out the sex of the baby. I just imagine it being a nice surprise.

D: Maybe? But I could be reasonably sure that some would want to know-

A: Yeah. But how would they do it?

D: -so there might be a way to find out.

A: 'Cause lord knows they wouldn't be using ultrasound.

D: Well, I mean, there's so many wives tales. Who's to say that those didn't come from witches and wizards way back when? That whole "swinging the ring over your belly thing"-

A: True.

D: - on the necklace string. Maybe that's an actual spell.

A: That'd be so nice!

D: You know, I mean, just because it doesn't work for muggles doesn't mean it doesn't work for everybody. Oh, gosh. This is really cute 'cause this is back in 2004 when we had just been introduced to Tonks. There's a comment from Annabell. "Baby Nymphadora in a muggle maternity ward? Hope they put her identity bracelet on straight away. I don't think that witches would like to give birth in an NHS maternity ward. Well, given the choice, I wouldn't either, come to think of it. There are magical solutions to most of the problems that witches and wizards would face, and I'm sure magical midwives have great methods to ensure a painless and safe delivery. Now Hagrids mom can't have gone to her local muggle hospital can she?"

A: Wooo! I can't imagine giving birth to Hargrid! Although Annabell-

D: Well, she was a giantess.

A: Oh, that's true. I for-

D: So he was- he-

A: -got that

D: He was like a teeny-tiny little sickly baby to her.

A: Her-

D: Because he was half human.

A: Her birth was probably really easy. Hey, Annabelle, we want you on the podcast. So if you- if you're listening to this-

D: If you remember making these comments fifteen years ago. Please.

A: Uh... please. Please DM us. We wanna get together.

D: Yeah, you sound cool, girl. "Once again, I suspect that wizards don't count pregnancy as a magical malady so they either have a separate maternity clinic or the midwives travel home to the family."

A: Yasss.

D: Now it's just kinda devolved into the thing about Madam Pompfrey talking to the girls about menstruation.

A: Which, I mean, is such a... I- I mean it's fun to think about that too.

D: "I don't see a point in a blood-stopping spell"?

A: I mean, yeah, you want- you want the blood to come out. That's, I mean, that's the point. But I can imagine I- this one says a blood soaking spell. I can see how that would be nice.

D: Well, there- there's a similar thing in the muggle world where you can get your period over with in one day.

A: How?

D: It's actually an old abortion technique back before abortions were legalized that would only work for, like, between four to eight weeks pregnant.

A: Yeah.

D: It's really cool though. There's a catheter involved and you fish it up your cervix and it- I- I'll have to find the information and put it in the show notes.

A: Oh my gosh.

D: It's- it's metal though. 'Cause these ladies in the 70's taught themselves how to do it. Partly for help with abortions, contraception, things like that. But partly because they were living in a man's world and they didn't want their periods to slow them down, so they would just do it over the weekend and get it over with.

A: Wow. I don't-

D: The things you learn when you're hanging out with the birth nerds.

A: I don't know if I would want to do that though.

D: I wanna try it. At least once.

A: Okay. You try it at least once and you tell us how it goes because I don't wanna try it.

D: I will.

A: I'll stick to my cup and call it good.

D: Yes. Uh, shameless plug from both of us for menstrual cups.

A: Yes.

D: And I do believe that witches would probably have something similar.

A: I would think so too.

D: I mean, they probably have all of the same sort of collection options that we have, just, you know, magicified.

A: Yeah.

D: Magified? How would you say that word?

A: Magicified? Ma- ma- ma- magified? I don't know. It's not a real word anyway. Who cares?

D: Anything's a real word-

A: Magical? Magicalfied?

D: Anything's a real word if you say it often enough.

A: It's true.

D: Have you never read the book "Frindle"?

A: I have. The, uh, that is how words are created.

D: Yes.

A: People make them up and use them enough.

D: I blew Nevaeh's mind the other day because I told her that we didn't use the term "totes" when we were in high school.

A: Yeah, it wasn't a thing.

D: It wasn't a thing until after we graduated.

A: Yeah.

D: And she's like, "Well, what did you say?" And I was like, "Honey, we said totally."

A: We said totally totally.

D: Yeah, we said the entirety of totally. Well, and then these poor kids that are never learning the word "legitimate", they're just learning "legit", and so they're saying "legit-ly" instead of-

A: Legitly?

D: -instead of legitimately. Because it means- they- they're going for the term "legitimately" but they don't know that legitimate is a word.

A: Oh my gosh, it's gonna turn into legitly.

D: It's gonna be legitly.

A: It's gonna be legitly! In two hundred years, they're gonna say legitly, and they're gonna be, like, "legitimately?"

D: Als! Als! Doesn't "Legitly" sound like a Utah baby name?

A: It does! Oh my gosh it totally does.

D: Do you wanna wrap it up for us Als?

A: Yeah. So we hope you enjoyed us talking about Harry Potter. Maybe we'll do another episode like this one day. Um, especially if we find you Annabelle.

D: Yes.

A: We're gonna talk about more Harry Potter if we find you.

D: Well, and, I mean, if the next "Fantastic Beasts" comes out and there's a pregnant person in it like we suggested...

A: Oh my gosh, and JK, can we please have some information about pregnancy in the wizarding world? Like-

D: Yeah, Harry-

A: -there's no

D: -Potter wiki didn't give us nearly enough.

A: N. And we all know that Pottermore does not have enough about it either. So. Would love to learn more and I'm sure there are plenty of people out there who do. What are we gonna talk about next week?

D: I was thinking because it's getting close to the Christmas season, like, the birth of Christmas.

A: The birth of Christmas. We'll just leave it at that.

D: A little bit ambiguous.

A: Yeah. And we will see you guys, uh, next week.

D: Nothing in this podcast is intended as medical advice. Please seek appropriate care for any medical concerns.

A: Thanks for listening. Join us next week for another captivating episode of The Birth Nerds Podcast.









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