It’s a mystery to me as to why there are so many taboo subjects when it comes to motherhood. So much judgement. Maybe it’s because we are so scared of fucking up our own children, that we try to bring down other parents, other mothers, for their decisions and their methods. As a way to guard ourselves? To make us feel more secure in our choices? I think that’s one of the most common forms of self-defense in our society. Bringing others down to bring oneself up. And that’s really shitty. Really, really shitty.
From conception to pregnancy, birth, and beyond, the opinions and disapproval of others on these subjects is endless. I want to break down some super common motherhood taboos in a short series in an effort to break them. While the formal definition of taboo according to dictionary.com is something that is ‘proscribed by society as improper or unacceptable’ I think in modern terms a taboo is something that makes us uncomfortable or something that we feel needs to be explained or defended. A break from the ‘norm’ (whatever the hell that is) So let’s talk about them. Let’s explain and defend them and then let’s make them the norm.
"It does not matter how
your baby is born.
Every single one of you
is a champion."
How you give birth.
I can’t tell you the number of times I've heard a woman tell her birth story and, probably without even noticing, defends or excuses her birthing choices.
“I had an epidural…. but I made it to 8 cm and had been laboring for 24 hours…”
“I had a cesarean….because my son was sunny side up and he wasn’t tolerating contractions anymore
“I had an unmedicated birth, but I was only in labor for 5 hours”
Ladies, women, mothers, birthing people… YOU DO NOT NEED TO DEFEND YOUR CHOICES IN YOUR BIRTH. You do not need to prove anything to anyone. You do not need to give reasoning for your choices. You do not need to downplay your experience. It does not matter how your baby is born. Every single one of you is a champion. A warrior. A goddess. A freaking magical, magnificent, miraculous divine being who created, grew, and nourished another life inside of you and then your body brought them earth side. Maybe with the help of modern medicine, and maybe in your home, and maybe in your car, and maybe in the woods behind your house. And that is amazing. That should be celebrated. No matter what.
It’s like we have this invisible pressure put on us to have a specific type of birth. And if it doesn't happen then we already feel like we are failing at motherhood. How fucked up is that? Like motherhood and postpartum isn't hard enough, but now our first order of business is to torment ourselves with how our birth somehow wasn’t good enough. That’s bullshit. The only person whose opinion about your birth that matters, is you. So if you feel disappointed, sad, traumatized, about how your birth turned out, that's ok. But feel those things for yourself, not because society says you should.
And for the love of Patrick Swayze, do not ever shame or belittle another woman, mother, birthing person, for their birth.
Don’t tell a pregnant friend, who might already be choosing to get an epidural, that going natural is the best choice for her and her unborn baby.
Don’t tell her that she doesn't get a trophy for doing it unmedicated, because she may have already decided to forgo one.
Don’t tell her a horror story about a cesarean that an acquaintance had, because she may have already decided to schedule one.
The judgement has got to go.
So how can we work on fixing this? You may not even be aware that you are being judgy, but pay attention to your words and your language, it matters and it makes a difference. Be conscious when you're listening to someone else's birth story and make an effort to give them non-judgmental support. I mean truly non-judgmental. Don’t give them a reason to be defensive. Listen without an agenda and let them process their birth on their own terms. We need to support each other and build each other up because this life is hard enough on it’s own, we don't need to make it harder.
There is no right or wrong way to birth, there is just your way.