It never ceases to amaze me just how judgmental some women are of other women’s birthing “choices.”
I brought my four year old to a birthday party yesterday while my husband stayed home with my seven week old. During the pizza eating portion of the party, I made small talk with a couple who had a two year old daughter. They were asking if my four year old was my only child, how life was with a new baby, whether there was jealousy, etc. They seemed nice enough. The husband eventually took his daughter to get a cupcake, my son ran to the bounce house in another room and the wife and I stood there talking. Somehow we got on the subject of babies again and I told her that my newest son was 8 weeks early. She went on to tell me how her daughter was 9 days late, and I made a face, mainly to mean, “Man, that sucks that not only did you go 40 weeks, but you added another week and a half to that.” Maybe she misinterpreted the face, or maybe she understood perfectly. She told me how her doctor wanted to induce her after she hit 41 weeks, and how she told the doctor “No.” Then she said, “You know, that’s the problem with childbirth these days. Everyone being forced into c-sections and listening to their doctor and doing what they tell them to do just because we think they are some sort of an authority.”
Now, I don’t know about you, but I tend to respect someone who has gone to college for four years, medical school for another four years, and then completed a residency of several years after that. I go to a doctor because I respect them, because I need their knowledge and experience and because I trust them. The “Heather of a Year Ago” would have nodded politely, agreed with this woman and vented to my husband about it later that night. Not today. Instead, because this woman who was a complete stranger, who had never spoken to me before yesterday, and who had NO IDEA about my life or what I’ve been through, felt so self-righteous to tell me her views on childbirth, who really and truly stepped all over my toes, I decided to tell her my story. I said, “Well I actually lost a child at 23 weeks in between the two that I have, so when they told me that they need to go get my son, I told them to go as quickly as possible.”
She mumbled something about, “Oh, that must have been really hard, I’m so sorry” and then promptly walked away. I’m sorry if I have become some sort of a social freak who oversteps my bounds, but frankly, she had done the same thing. This chick needed to hear what I said so maybe she won’t be quite some presumptuous the next time that she talks to someone about “what’s wrong” with obstetrics these days.
In my three pregnancies and three deliveries, I have had the choice of delivery options once. That was with my daughter. I begged for a vaginal delivery because I wanted as little pain and suffering with my recovery as possible. I was told that I could deliver vaginally because there was no way that my placenta was going to affect the outcome of whether this baby could survive labor because she was already dead. I hoped for and wanted natural childbirth each and every time that I have been pregnant. But I haven’t mourned losing that part of my birth plan because at the end of the day, the two babies who arrived via c-section were born living and breathing and honestly I can’t ask for more than that.
There are women who do actually slip into a depression when they cannot have a baby the way that they hoped and prayed for. I have even read an article titled something along the lines of “It’s Not Just About the Health of the Baby.” I am 99% positive that NONE of these women have been through what I went through. None of them have been told that their baby no longer has a heartbeat. None of them have then had to follow thru with their birth plan and suffer through labor and delivery to deliver a dead baby. After losing Charlotte, I would have pushed a baby through my big toe hanging from the ceiling of the Labor & Delivery room as long as it was healthy and living. I understand the disappointment of not having things go your way. But that’s life, and life is hard, so suck it up and deal with it and be happy that you do have a breathing baby no matter how that child comes into this world.
Hundreds of years ago when the vast majority of women gave birth vaginally, the mortality rate for both babies and mothers was much higher than is today. Despite nature trying to advance the species, there are some women who are not cut out for carrying or delivering a baby. After three failed tries, I must admit that I am one of those women. Modern medicine exists for a reason. C-sections exist for a reason. Without either one of those, I would remain a motherless and possibly dead woman.
Sorry for the rant today, but I had to get this off of my chest. And just as I despise when people get on their high horse when it comes to childbirth, I will get off of mine.