How does one cope with shameful comments directed at their choice of child-birthing methods?
Every mother has a birth story for each of her children.
Some of us have had Cesarean Sections. Some VBAC’s. Some mother’s gave birth naturally. About half of us, more than likely used some type of pain medication, while the other half didn’t.
No one way is any better than the other.
But one thing I’ve noticed in the melee of the Mommy Wars – shaming birthing methods.
As long as you were able to deliver your child (or children, for my friend’s with multiples), does it really matter how you did it?
Not every birth plan goes according to plan…
I always had the fantasy of relaxing at home to have my water break unexpectedly (just like the movies!) and everyone around me to go in a happy panic. My husband would start spinning around in circles while my Mom helps me get into the car, and with a happy glow I’m announced into the maternity ward via wheelchair as doves fly around and a band kicks in; the doctor’s and nursing staff are bustling about as my baby makes his grand appearance, his Father holding him triumphantly dressed in OR scrubs and crying…
Yeah, a little far fetched. And ultimately, entirely unrealistic and nothing even close to what really happened. I had to be induced at 41 weeks because little man was not planning on coming out, which was OB recommended. No doves, and I thought being wheeled upstairs was a little silly when I had already walked all over town the last week, trying to induce labor. My husband did run around in circles once my water broke…but didn’t wear scrubs or gloves.
They say always make a birth plan, but even my midwife and Doctor explained that, “9 times out of 10 if you make one, it won’t actually be used.” Because anything can happen! And as much as we sometimes plan that perfect birth, it doesn’t always work out to our expectations…and that’s ok.
What’s not ok, is criticism towards mothers for how they chose (or ended up having to quickly decide) to give birth.
Why don’t we support each other’s birth plans?
I’m seen some pretty negative memes, posts, and articles bashing Mothers who had C-Sections (“Taking the easy way out”), those who needed an epidural (“Artificial pain-management is NOT natural”), and even against those who chose to have their child in, God forbid, a hospital (“Just a place for Slice & Dice…not a baby”)!
It doesn’t matter how you do it-giving birth is a difficult thing to do. But no one way is any superior to another! Every birth has different circumstances surrounding it, and whether you’re pro-this or anti-that, in the end…as long as someone has a healthy baby, what’s the issue?
Does it really do any good to condemn the mother who had to have an emergency cesarean because the baby went breach? It’s definitely not easy having your abdomen cut open, or trying to hold your baby with stitches.
Is it really helpful when you correct someone of their birthing terminology? Most mother’s refer to their non-cesarean birth as ‘natural’…meaning they pushed their baby out their Vajay-jay…maybe they did need an epidural (remember, contractions hurt like a SOB) but how necessary is it to argue semantics?
Would it be anything other than shaming, to criticize someone for going to a hospital to have their child, rather than climbing into their bathtub? Some mothers have very legitimate reasons for choosing their local hospital, with all the technological advances modern medicine has to offer, over the garden tub or blow-up pool in the living room.
Your decision on how to deliver your child is yours, and yours alone. I’m not shaming anyone who has chosen any of these methods, but it honestly really burns me up to see the “one-up” game played here. What’s the goal here? Great, you had an all-natural delivery without anyone present but a Doula, in your bathtub of Gold Flakes, with a choir singing in the background, sans any medication other than angel kisses – with absolutely no labor pains. Do you want a medal? You had a healthy child, that should be enough. Just leave the mommies who delivered differently than you alone.
Offering advice to an expectant mother who is exploring options is one thing, but when you’re commenting on one birth plan being “superior” to another, it’s a whole other ballpark.
Every pregnancy is an unique as the Mother who is having it.
And we should all be proud of the fact we birthed life into this world-regardless of how we chose to do it. Really, no matter what they try to say; only you can devalue your birth story. No one else can. You are the only one who can take negative comments, and turn into something that disappoints you. Or, you can laugh, and say, “Yes-I had a cesarean. I fell in love with blissful epidurals. And my L&D staff was amazeballs!”
So what do you do when someone criticizes your birth plan?
Take a deep breath and remember: it is (or was) ultimately up to you. Until you have emergency procedures taking over (hopefully not!), however you wish to have your baby is, pretty much, just your decision. So if you feel that epidurals, bath tubs, hospital rooms, whatever, is the best thing; consult with your Doctor (or Doula) and make the best choice. Take anyone else’s opinion with a big grain of salt.
And if you’ve already had your children, and that Sanctimonious Mommy is trying to bring you down because she thinks you “Didn’t have an (insert whatever alternative method of birth here)”, then try to remember this: their “opinions” really don’t mean anything. Don’t let their negative thoughts or words, ruin the memories you have with your children. They are yours, just as the decision was.
Don’t let anyone tell you your birth, no matter how it was accomplished, is anything less than amazing.