Posted in Birth Stories, Blog, Emotional wellness, Featured, Friends, Just for you, Life as a mom, Mother, Posts for mommies-to-be, Rebecca, Recovering from childbirth, Still pregnant?

Unintentional wounds

I am not the first and only person to say this…we don’t need any more books or people saying stupid and judgmental things about how to be a better parent, or tell us what we’re doing wrong, or why and when we should stop breastfeeding. I think we’d all agree that we could all be a bit more loving and supportive of each other.

BUT….there is another way that we are hurting each other but I don’t believe it’s intentional. Nonetheless, it still hurts just as bad.

A year ago or so, I was at a nutrition seminar. There was a gal there that had a 4 month old baby. She had some major success with this way of eating and she was sharing her success story, while she was sitting there breastfeeding which was cool. She shared how she had gotten into really great shape physically and lost all this weight. She had been faithful in her eating plan and achieved all her physical goals. She got pregnant, had a great pregnancy and pretty much stuck to her plan throughout all of it.

Here’s where it got a little difficult to listen to her. She goes on to tell of her birth story, a quick and easy 5 hour birth. No pain meds. Baby came right out and everything was great.

I’m sitting there thinking how awesome it was that she had such a great birth. I was grateful for her and happy. Then she says something I wasn’t expecting.

“I just know that I had this perfect birth because I was so healthy and did all that work. I had an easy birth because I was so strong and it was all a result of my eating and exercise beforehand.”

WHAT? Now, here’s the thing. That really isn’t all uncommon for women to say things like this. I totally understand where she’s coming from and WHY she thinks it’s all related. She really doesn’t have any reason to think otherwise.

BUT….

I’m sitting there in horror. I did the same thing. For years, I ate perfect. Exercised every day. Religiously took my supplements. Did everything I could do be healthy. Worked towards a natural birth. Prepared mentally and spiritually. Same as her.

BUT….

I labored 32 hours naturally. Pushed for an awful 5 hours. Transferred last minute to have a c-section. My body was ripped apart in ways I couldn’t fathom. I was emotionally scarred for a while trying to figure out what went wrong.

Do you see where I’m going with this? She so easily said “oh I had such a great birth because of all the work I put in. It was all a result of my efforts and preparation. I was in good shape and my body just knew what to do.”

What am I sitting there thinking? Oh, so because I had such a different experience, then apparently it was because I wasn’t strong. It was because I didn’t prepare enough. I could go on and on.

I’ve heard many women say these same things. They attribute the fact they had these short and wonderful labors with the baby easily and effortlessly popping out, that it’s ALL because of how wonderful they are. THEREFORE implying that if you didn’t have this birth, then it’s because of “something wrong with you”.

We are left to think this. We’re somehow “less than” because we didn’t have that same experience. We didn’t give it all we could. We weren’t fit enough. Not healthy enough.

Have you ever felt that you were “not enough”?

Now, you could argue that she didn’t imply that and you are right. She wasn’t saying that and she wasn’t trying to hurt anybody. However, I do think she could have phrased it differently.

Did all her efforts HELP her have a better birth? You bet they did. Was it 100% the reason why everything was so easy? No.

I think there are many things that we all say, me included, that we don’t think about in regards to this. You could argue that I was super sensitive and overreacted to what she said. I took it to mean one thing that she actually never said. Yes, that’s true. It also doesn’t mean we shouldn’t consider what we’re saying.

I don’t think this is a huge deal with everyday issues. However, I would say regarding women, birth stories, and sensitive issues regarding Motherhood, we should tread lightly.

We should listen more than we talk. We should encourage more than we brag. We should give more than we take. We should be honest and not exaggerate.

No matter what type of birth you had, we are all amazing beings of strength, beauty and character.

 

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  1. This is a great article. We had a fantastic sleeper with our first daughter, and every time we shared about it, I tried really hard to point out that we had nothing to do with it. Because we didn’t! I’m glad I did that- our second is still not sleeping through the night, and I can only imagine how annoying my stories must have been even *with* the caveat. I really think so much of this stuff- pregnancy, birth, sleep, milestones, etc.- are so very much related to the baby that I am hesitant to share when I think my kid’s doing something special because I don’t want to make anyone feel less than! I know all too well how much that can hurt. Thanks for the reminder- it’s a really timely one 🙂

  2. whimsicalmusing says:

    Great post. There is a risk in making assumptions about when it pertains to pregnancy, birth, and parenting. If you come across as smug or judgmental (even unintentionally) you may alienate people who need your support.

  3. Oh, mama. Babies come out of Big ole pelvises and small ones, black women, white women, tall, short, home orhospital when babies are LINED UP. it’s luck of the draw as much as any preparation faithfully executed or skipped.

  4. Thoughtful and sensitive thoughts.
    I wish all women, young mothers, grandmothers, sisters, etc would stop comparing their birth stories as if giving birth was a competitive sport. Each one of us are individuals blessed with our own bodies that react differently to all sorts of energies. And when giving birth, it’s not just the mother who is laboring….it’s her community of doctors, midwifes, family support with husbands, sisters or moms to help bring that little life into the world.

  5. I totally agree with you. I did everything perfect. Exercised until the day before I went into labor. At all natural, organic, balanced diet. The only liquid I consumed was water 🙂 but alas, my water broke on Thursday morning at 11, my daughter was born by c-section saturday night at 11…. three days of contractions, 9 hours of pushing…. it still hurts me emotionally and I felt really betrayed by my body. I felt betrayed because I thought this would all work out just fine. This feeling of failure sent me into a depression that lasted a very long time. I am still so traumatized (two years later) that I don’t think I would want to have any more kids…. for a long time at least that is

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