“You won’t be able to do it, so just save yourself the disappointment and stop trying to be a superhero.”
“Yeah, tell me how that goes.”
“All first time moms say that.”
“What? Why? Are you stupid or something?”
“If you think having a natural birth makes you a better parent you need to get over yourself.”
“Why would anyone want to do that when you could just have a c-section and be in and out?”
You probably think I made up all those quotes up to really hammer home a point or something. There’s no way they could be real, right? Hopefully you can’t imagine a person saying anything like that to a pregnant woman.
But guess what? Someone said each of those things to a woman who pursued a natural birth.
I cried reading through the comments women posted on my Facebook page when I asked what the worst thing was that women had been told when pursuing natural birth.
This may come as a surprise to the people who say cruel things like this but women who choose natural birth are humans, too. They actually do have feelings! They think through their choices and decide what is best for them.
I get that natural birth isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, I really do. That’s fine. No one is saying that everyone should have a natural birth, but those who do choose that route should never have to feel attacked, alienated or shamed like the women who heard these things from friends, family, or strangers.
Imagine the uproar there would be if people started telling women that they were “wimps”, “less of a woman”, “broken”, “putting their baby in danger” or “chicken” if they chose an epidural. The outcry would be phenomenal - or it should be.
So why do people think it’s ok to criticize and viciously attack women who choose to pursue a natural birth? Why are women who choose natural birth seen as crazy, reckless, or “hippies”? This has to stop. Judgment needs to disappear from the birth world. Attacking others for their choices, natural or medical, will never change their minds. Rather, it will breed anger and resentment. It’s high time people everywhere began to realize that. It’s time women started supporting each other. It’s time to open a dialogue about issues that people don’t see eye to eye on.
It’s time to move past natural versus medical, doctor versus midwife, home birth versus hospital. It’s time that families began to make decisions based on the best evidence and how it pertains to them in their individual situations. Remember, what evidence indicates for one person may not make sense for another. Maybe if we could take the time to talk about issues and see where others are coming from, we could begin to realize that.
So please, do your part. The next time you hear a momma say she wants a natural birth, smile and congratulate her. Don’t tell her birth horror stories. Don’t tell her that “they make drugs for a reason”. Ask her what led her to that decision and really listen to what she says. If you don’t agree with her decision, fine. Maybe you can tell her that after you understand where she is coming from. But don’t bash her. Don’t assume that you know better, that you’re more qualified than she is. Treat her with the respect that every mother not only deserves, but needs.
You just might make the world a better place to be born while you’re at it.