As I continued reading Get Me Out and as I got to the tail end of it, the story of how childbirth evolved struck me. Things went from having a baby to making a baby and that is somewhat mind boggling. Another thing that I found weird or simply, interesting, is the fact that men will always produce sperm whereas women will not always make eggs. And finally the thing I found most surprising is that “Doctors started putting sperm into vaginas when they figured out that women were a necessary part of the fertilization process and not simply the soil from which babies grew.”
At the beginning of the book, we learn about how the midwives took care of the pregnant women before, during, and after childbirth, using herbal remedies and later on forceps and other medieval things to get babies out of the womb. Eventually, these things evolved into medicines and less scary instruments and midwives turned into doctors to say the least. As you can see the harder things and turned into somewhat simpler things and for a good cause, but along with that, so did the way things went. Obviously, when someone has a baby, it’s usually with their significant other. And in most cases, with the exception of a few, sex was involved. Along with that meant that your baby came out however he or she did and that was it. However, now you can basically choose the sex of your baby. With modern technology advancing at this rate, what’s next? Will we be choosing eye color, skin color, hair color, height, intelligence, etc.? Will having a baby be like Build-A-Bear for adults in the future?
Before reading this book I had heard that women don’t always produce eggs and that mean will always produce a sperm and I was always just like, “well that’s cool I guess.” But as I continued to read why they thought that was, I was intrigued. “According to one intriguing theory, the most promiscuous mammals have the highest counts…males need high counts [of sperm cells] to override the competition and ensure offspring.” That was interesting to me because between there, there is a part that basically says that the reason why males need to have higher sperm counts is to ensure offspring because females have sex with more than one mate. And a nice analogy used is that getting pregnant is like finding a significant other on the “microscopic scale”. Women go through menopause in their 40’s or 50’s and it’s basically marking the end of a woman’s reproductive period and the best part of that is not having a menstrual cycle!! Knowing all of that, I am still left with the question as to why men will always produce sperm and if at some point that sperm just isn’t useful anymore.
And finally, the fact that it took doctors quite a long while to figure out that women were essential to making babies, is astonishing. Anyone can realize that a baby comes out of something. It doesn’t just pop up from the ground. A baby comes from a woman, and calf comes from a cow, a fish comes from an egg, everything that is born has to be carried by something or someone. It’s not really a hard concept to grasp. When I read the part about how Arnold of Villanova tried to make a baby by putting sperm into a womb shaped vase, I automatically thought that his title as a Spanish doctor should have been taken away. I do find it quite ridiculous that the thought that another being might have some part in making a baby didn’t cross his mind. I also think that the idea that sperm “contained miniature humans that blossomed inside the womb” is very creative in a way and it reminds me of Thumbelina. I find myself wondering why people thought that women weren’t a big part of the reproductive process, I mean surely there must have been a pattern that someone noticed, there was never a baby being born from a man, or sprouting from the ground. Was it just that men in those days weren’t as educated as they thought or were women just another piece of the puzzle that was overlooked?
I have really enjoyed reading this book and I found myself understanding a bit more about how we have grown collectively as a society in science and the mystery of childbirth and I can’t wait to learn more about it during the school year!