Friday, March 9, 2012

On Birth and Feminism

Yesterday, I came across a post on HuffPost Parents. One that warmed my heart. Its about birth stories. One of my most favorite subjects related to parenting but one that is often very one sided. Women feeling like they have to defend their births like some sort of parenting Gladiator challenge. Each one competing to have the best, be the most informed, be the most shamed. Women are made to feel like if they didn't have "the perfect, drug free birth: then they are less of a parent.

Honestly, in any birth where there is a healthy mama and baby (even if its eventual) at the end of it all is an amazing birth story. It always irritates me to hear women putting down another's birth choices. Feminism is about choice, right? The ability to make our own and do what we believe is best for us. Who is anyone to try to take that away. To take someone's joy or hurt and use it against them? I am assuming that women have done their research and have made the best choice for them and their baby. Not once have I ever heard a woman say "The doctor said he should come out fine but I pushed for a c section so I could go to Disney." Not once. Not ever. To hear people talk, you would think it happened all the time.

D baby.
My two boys had different stories like so many others. My first came out over 9lbs and sunny side up (face up instead of face down) after 10 hours of induced labor. They induced me for low fluid and being post due. I opted for the epidural with him and I was thankful in the end even though I was anxious about the choice. He quite literally ripped me a new one. My poor nether regions... Pushing with him was awkward even though they had turned off the epidural and I was feeling it, it took me a bit to figure out just where to push. Once we realized he was the wrong way up, it made sense why he wasn't coming out quicker. Eventually he did though. They always do. The first time I saw his little face still brings tears to my eyes. He was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen. His little face was bruised from being banged against my pelvis but he was so amazing and pitiful.

The last picture of me pregnant. 
My second was much shorter but much more intense. Induced again but was only an hour and a half which made my plan to skip the epidural blissfully easy. I had gone in with a very specific clause in my birth plan about not being checked but after an hour I just needed to know something was happening. About 20 minutes later a nurse came in and checked me. He was still floating, I was 100% effaced but only 3cm. I was progressing well. She talked me into getting up on the bed and hugging the back of it to open up my pelvis and see if we could ramp up the contractions. I will never forget the feeling I had when he went from floating in my uterus to *RIGHT THERE* in a matter of less than a minute. I started yelling "he is coming out!" and the nurse and my husband just laughed like I was nuts, assuring me it was just pressure and my water was probably about to break. After what felt like an eternity but was probably 30 seconds of telling them he was coming, the nurse finally lifted up the back of my gown to humor me and said "oh, sh!!! He is crowning!!". The next few minutes were a blur. They ended up pulling a midwife out of another woman's room to deliver my baby since we didn't have time to wait for mine to get there and my little man was born under the caul 8 minutes after I was checked. They put him up on my chest and it took him a few seconds to take his first breath. He was all blue and make that face that babies make. The angry troll face. I remember rubbing his little back and saying "hi my little angel, can you breathe for me? I love you, give mama a scream" and he did. It was just as amazing as it was the first time. He was so handsome. He looked like me with a head full of rich, black hair. He was perfect. Best of all, my nether regions were still intact.
K baby.

So, knowing that I was induced, does that make me less of a parent? Does it mean I was less "informed" about my choices? The answer is no. I did my research. I knew the ups and downs. I made an informed choice. I am confident in that. Every one should be allowed to feel that way. As much as I feel that every woman should feel the empowerment that comes with a med free birth, I am not delusional enough to believe that every one is capable of that.

Birth is the beginning of your journey as a parent but its not even close to a fraction of what being a parent means. Being a good parent isn't a epidural/ not epidural question. It goes so much deeper than that. Do you love them? Are you looking out for their best interests for the rest of their life? That is something worth striving for. Worth worrying about.

That's not to say you shouldn't look into all of your options. You do the best with what you have at the time these things happen. Do your research so you can be best prepared but don't do one sided research. Just because you don't want to have xyz doesn't mean it won't happen in an emergency.

What do you think? Have you ever altered your birth story to escape the mama drama? Have you eve been made to feel like your birth was inferior?

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