I do a couple of fitness classes avec baby a week – mainly for the exercise, but the chatting after class is nice too. After one of the land-based classes, I was talking to another mother, whose son was the only other baby in the class who had learned to crawl. (Which, by the way, make these classes much more disruptive than what my baby just lay or sat on the mat.) After class, I went over and asked how old her son was – ten and a half months at that point. I said that Jess too was that age! And then we compared birthdays, and the babies were born on the same day! And at the same hospital, as it turned out! What a coincidence! I said that Jess had been born around 4 in the morning, and turns out that her son was born right before midnight.
I said something along the lines of “maybe I saw you there – we were in the hospital for a couple of days.” She looked down her nose at me and stated flatly. “I had a midwife. We were out of the hospital very fast.” I sputtered slightly, and said something about how after 55 hours of labour, I’d had a c-section. I swear that she looked at me and sniffed disapprovingly. I muttered something about being pretty sure that it wouldn’t have mattered what kind of assistance I had, that J wouldn’t have come out any other way. She sniffed again, and I slunk away from her and her placid, stolid baby.
You guys, it’s been 11 months and I’m still defensive as fuck about my birth experience. And you know why? It’s because PEOPLE ARE ACTUALLY JUDGING ME TO MY FACE ABOUT IT. Sure, not people I like, or people who matter, but it’s true – there is shaming out there for c-sections. I get it! I desperately, frantically didn’t want one. I laboured for two and a half days because of how much I didn’t want one.
But I didn’t have a choice.
I mean, I made every choice possible to have a natural birth. I did my readings, I hired a doula, I gave birth in a natural-birth friendly hospital with nurses who were fully supportive of my intentions, I went as long as I could without the drugs (pitocin contractions are not the same as normal ones – they are way, way more painful). When the doctors announced that I needed a c-section, I refused and got another hour to try and make things progress. It didn’t work. The baby was unable to come out the normal way, and that sucked.
But I didn’t have a choice.
And yet, I still feel so judged for it. By virtual strangers who have no idea. And that sucks.
Having the section sucked. The fact that the morphine didn’t work sucked. The fact that my feelings of failure fed my PPD sucked. The fact that 11 months later I still have abdominal pain sucks.
But the fact that my baby was born healthy and alive and that I am healthy and alive? Does not suck. Sure, it was less than ideal, but the end result was positive, so good enough. Fuck the haters, and all.
As you can imagine, this woman and I have NOT become friends.