I need to preface this post by saying:
- This is not a competition post; if you’re looking to start a “mommy war,” you can stop reading right now.
- How ever you had your baby (vaginally, c-section, adoption, etc.) is the only thing that matters. Again, if you want to start something, this is not the place.
- I will delete any comments that are hurtful or out of line.
I recently wrote a short version of my birth story and found myself saying that my daughter was born naturally. I left it at that for a little while, but kept reading it over and over again, because something wasn’t sitting right. I had a nagging feeling that by using the word “natural” I’d have people tell me I was wrong, that I didn’t actually have a natural birth, because I used medication during labor.
By “natural birth” I simply meant that I had her vaginally. Did I have an epidural to help me manage my pain? Heck yes I did, and I’m not at all sorry. But I pushed her out on my own. Do I look down on anyone who had a c-section? Absolutely not; I was literally seconds away from having one myself.
Before I had a baby I never really noticed the competition surrounding mothers, but now that I’m knee deep in it, I notice it everywhere. I don’t know if it’s social media (blogs and Facebook, really), but I can’t imagine our moms dealing with this 30 years ago. Despite all the “real life” viral posts that swarm the ‘net, there’s still an overwhelming pressure to be Supermom from the second your baby is born. But here’s the thing: anyone who has a baby (no matter how the baby came out) is a Supermom.
Did you have your baby unmedicated and in a tub full of water? That’s freaking awesome!
Did you have your baby in a hospital without medication? More power to you!
Did you have your baby while hooked up to IVs with drugs pumped into you? Go you!
Did you have your baby while strapped to an operating table? You seriously rock!
Did you have your baby and then give it up for its better good? You’re a hero!
Did you have your baby while sitting in another room, waiting to hear its cry? You’re amazing!
Bottom line? You had your baby, and that is something very natural.
There isn’t a point system here. My friend who’s about to have her third home water birth doesn’t get more gold stars than I do. Just like I don’t think I’m any better than my sister-in-law who adopted her baby, and she’s no better than her friend who had a planned c-section to deliver her twins.
Every birth—even an adoption—is strenuous.
Every birth—even an adoption—is focused on the baby’s and moms’ well-being.
Every birth—even an adoption—requires healing after the baby is born.
I see this pressure moms are undertaking for the way they delivered (or will deliver) their child, and it just makes me sad. And to make it worse, so many seem to have a demeanor that implies their way is the only way to do it, when really, the outcome is all the same: a baby. So why is there a stigma about whether you had your baby naturally or not? Let’s stop these competitions, and start letting moms stand tall when they share their birth story, no matter how they had their little one.
The next time I need to write out my birth story or share it with someone, I hope I’ll stick to my guns and say that I had my baby naturally, but with an epidural, and leave it at that, without feeling guilty. If my definition doesn’t line up with your definition, that’s okay. I love my daughter’s birth story and there’s no reason why I should feel degraded just because I used some glorious, and wonderful medicine.