This is Part 2 of a conceptual “think piece”. Part 1 looked at four Stages of Cognition, relating each of them to an anthropological concept: Stages 1 and 2 encode closed, rigid, or concrete thinking. More open and fluid are Stage 3, cultural relativism (all ways are valid), and Stage 4, global humanism (we must seek ways that honor individual human rights).
Part 2 categorizes birth practitioners within these four Stages, while showing how ongoing stress can cause even the most fluid of thinkers to degenerate into Substage—a condition of cognitive regression, or “losing it,” that can result in obstetric violence. I note how ritual can help practitioners ground themselves at least at a Stage 1 level and offer ways in which they can rejuvenate and re-inspire themselves. I also describe the persecution that Stage 4 practitioners often experience from fundamentalist or fanatical Stage 1 practitioners and officials, often referred to as the “global witch hunt.”
This is a two-part article. Part One of this article describes four stages of cognition and their anthropological equivalents to better understand both the resistance to and the acceptance of pre- and perinatal psychology and other ways of thinking about birth. Part Two will appear in the Winter 2019 issue.