Monday, June 6, 2011

Defending Birth Decisions

The sisterhood of women can really be full of snarky b*tches sometimes, huh?  Yes, I say that knowing fully well that some of you are saying, "Try looking in the mirror, Sweetcheeks."  I may be a snarky b*tch from time to time (okay, most of the time), but I always favor allowing for freedom of choice in darn near all areas of life.

Did you hear a loud KA-BOOM around 1:15 PST?  It's my head exploding over women who clearly don't believe that other women can make decisions for themselves.  What has me particularly pissed at the moment?  Women who attack other women due to their childbirth choices.  I wish I was making this up, but it's something I've witnessed in various forums and I think it completely and totally sucks that anyone would try to make a mother feel bad or inferior based upon her childbirth experience.

Who specifically is acting so douchey?  It pains me to say it because I identify with them in so many ways, but it is most often the more crunchy types of mothers who go batsh*t crazy when a woman decides to have an elective Cesarean or an elective repeat c/s.  In my naivete, I didn't expect a group of "peaceful" parents to be so hateful and attack others just because they have a difference of opinion. I guess that when people say they believe in freedom of opinion, they really mean you are free to believe in their own opinions rather than your own.

As someone who struggled to find peace with my son's c/s, I feel for any mother who feels uncomfortable about her childbirthing experience and I know how emotionally wounded childbirth can leave the mother.  My feelings of dissatisfaction toward my son's birth persisted until well beyond his second birthday.  To say that I felt cheated is an understatement.  It's more that I felt like less of a mother because I didn't get the full experience of pushing a baby out of my vagina.  I felt like I wasn't as good as other mothers I knew. . .the ones who had the dubious joy of vaginal birth.

Looking back now, my feelings seem silly to me.  Seriously, why would I think that having a baby's head pushed out a vadge would make anyone a better mother?  I don't know. . .it's not like vaginal birth confers some special power or wisdom to a new mother.  Regardless, I was tormented by my feelings and they were very real and very painful for a long time.

Over time, I stopped feeling as bad when I thought about his birth.  However, I still felt that I missed out on something special because I missed out on something that was important to me.  Those feelings completely evaporated in the aftermath of my failed natural miscarriage and I decided outright that I will never, ever have an experience like that again

Judge me if you must, but I absolutely will not even consider trial of labor, let alone attempt a VBAC.  I've tried to visualize a nice & normal, drug-free vaginal birth and I can't do it.  Even thinking about what labor may be like leaves me shaking, thinking of that ill-fated day where I was in so much pain that I was certain something was so wrong that I was not going to live through the night.  It was so horrific that I truly wish that I had elected to have the D & C from the get-go.  I may have been wounded from my c/s, but I have been scarred and left feeling broken from my miscarriage experience.

Perhaps my own experience is why I find it so disheartening when I read snide comments directed toward women based upon their birth decisions.  As a side note, it's hypocritically fascinating when staunchly pro-choice people get up in arms at the notion of a woman choosing to have an elective cesarean.  I guess "her body, her choice" only applies when it's convenient and in agreement with their personal agenda. 

I think sometimes that we forget that to be respectful of someone's choices doesn't necessarily mean that we are agreeing with them.  I have been against the notion of abortion for roughly ten years because I learned that it ends life, stops a beating heart.  But I'm not going to get up in a woman's business if she chooses to have one because it's not my decision to make and I have no right to try to impose my will on her.  If she can live with her choice, let her and STFU about it.  Understand that I am painfully aware that most women don't choose abortion as easily as they choose their breakfast. . .it's more like an animal gnawing off their own leg to escape a terrifying situation.

I call BS on anyone giving any mother any bit of grief about her childbirth choices and, while I have and had very definite ideas about what I want/wanted personally for myself, I would never try to make a mother feel bad about her choices.  Why?  Because it's not my vagina, my abdomen, my uterus, or my freaking choice!  It is not my right to try to exert my will over any other woman as it relates to childbirth or anything else.  Don't like someone's birth decisions?  You don't have to and it's no one else's problem but your own if you don't like someone else's choices.

At the end of the day, it doesn't really matter how your child arrived in the world (or if you were the one who delivered your child at all) because we're all mothers and we all can use a lot more support and a lot less judgement.


  1. Well said my friend. I have had 2 c-sections. The first one was because my induced labor wasn't progressing. I was at 7 cm and stuck, nothing was moving. I did feel the pain of 2 miscarriages before this, many years ago. I also felt my labor pains until I hit 6 cm when they gave me an epidural. I didn't not want to give birth naturally. I can only handle so much pain, and I am not ashamed to say so.

    I was excited to try to give birth our my Va J J, but things didn't work out that way, and I a fine with it.

    My second c-section was the best! I got to touch and hold Chloe after she was born. To where with Matthew, I didn't. They had him all wrapped up tight and they put him so close to my face I couldn't even see what he looked like. I also feel asleep after he was born and they had to wake me up 3 hours later because he was in the nursery screaming.

    With Chloe, I was awake the whole time. I didn't get sleepy. I got to hear the OB say to her when he got her head out of the incision that he hadn't gotten the rest of her body out yet, so she couldn't cry. That's right, her head was out, and she started fussing. I guess she liked it inside my uterus, lol.

    Then she was less than an hour old and they brought her to me to nurse her. She latched on with no problems at all. With Matthew, I had nothing but problems for the first 3 to 4 weeks with nursing him, but we both got the hang of it.

    So a second c-section is easier. Well, it was for me anyways.

  2. As a woman who has not given birth ever, but is still a full-fledged mom, I have to agree that it does matter how your child arrived in this world. Some people have nothing better to do with their lives than to judge others. They are obviously unhappy with their own lives, probably their sex lives from having a loose Va J J from forcing a baby out when a c/s would have been a better choice for them. Isn't being able to give birth enough? Or have they forgotten what a blessing that truly is? Take it away from them and they'll no longer care how their baby was born, vaginal, c/s, VBAC, hell they probably wouldn't care if it came out of their ear. They should just be grateful for the chance. Stupid snarky b*tches. - Your post hit a nerve. ;)

  3. I meant to say "does not matter"

  4. @ Heather - Thanks for reading and for your comment. At this point (still in first trimester, I'm just trying to enjoy the pregnancy and I'll deal with thinking about the birthing later. It's great that you were able to be with your daughter right away; I really wish that I'd been able to do that with my lil' guy.

  5. @ Kathy - All I can think when I read this comment is: "Nail head, meet hammer." I'm fairly certain that no one would have a critical word to say about anyone else's childbirth if they were suddenly deprived of their ability to gestate. And I say that knowing full well that I sound like a hypocrite since I was so bothered by my son's birth for so long. Really, who cares which opening he came out of - natural or man-made? Being able to birth a child is a blessing and being a mother is a blessing, but they aren't necessarily both found in the same woman. ;)

  6. And I should say that this post really has hit a nerve with a lot of women! It's been shared dozens of times and has been viewed so many times that it's already in my top ten most-viewed blog posts found on the right sidebar. . .and it was only written two days ago!