It was 3 weeks until my due date. I sat in my obstetrician’s office in total shock over the news my doctor just gave me. The baby and I were healthy, so what was the problem?
Well, to put it frankly. That’s none of your business.
Okay, that was rude. But sadly, this approach has become part of my mom-armor.
As a soon-to-be mom to my first (and only child at this point), I was so nervous. Most of us moms are nervous all the time, from the minute the stick says ‘Pregnant’.
I have dealt with anxiety most of my life. One way to tame the over-worry machine in my head is control. If I can make plans and control the schedule of events, everything is good. So when my doctor came in and said that my carefully created birth plan was going to completely change, I flew into a panic.
C-Section? No. This is all wrong. I’m healthy, I’m active. Why?
I sat on the crinkly paper-covered bed in my doctor’s office as she explained to me that the best way to ensure my baby girl came into the world with minimal complications was going to be via c-section. She said it would also be the healthiest option for me. My doctor watched as I wrestled with the anxiety monster in my head.
What did I do wrong?
My body is supposed to be able to give birth naturally.
Am I not woman-enough?
Is a c-section the ‘easy way out’?
Am I already a bad mom?
What my doctor said next gave me sanctuary: This is no one’s decision but yours, and no one else’s opinion is required.
With much education on the why, how, and recovery process, it was decided that I would have a scheduled c-section. Moreover, the words my doctor used stayed with me: No one else’s opinion is required.
The Shame Begins
Over the next few weeks, I felt ashamed that my birth plan no longer included a natural birth. The shame I felt was piled on by the comments, questions, and opinions of people around me. From well-meaning friends at my baby shower, distant relatives, and even hospital staff, the questions poured in:
Why are you having a c-section?
Well, your next one doesn’t have to be. You can do VBAC. It will be okay.
Gosh, I’m sure it will be nice to not be in labor for 24 hours.
Well, you’re not really giving birth.
Yup. Those are all questions and comments I heard from the people around me. That’s when I said ‘enough’ and thought back to my doctors’ words: No one else’s opinion is required. No one else’s opinion has the power to make me feel like less of a mom because I had a c-section.
While I can’t compare a natural birth to a c-section, I do know from experience that a c-section is no joke! It is a major surgery. Your body is cut open and your child is pulled from your womb. Recovery is long and painful.
I painstakingly and thoughtfully brought my child into this world. I chose the option that was best for my body, my child, and my growing family. It is no one else’s concern.
The mom-shaming doesn’t stop after you deliver, in fact, it seems to get worse. But through our own words and actions, we have the power to put an end to it.
Quit having an opinion about another Mom’s choices, from what they feed their baby, to how they dress their baby, or what diapers they use. Just stop! It is none of your business.
It is critical for every parent’s success as a parent to support one another. As Moms, we will be under constant scrutiny, you cannot give others the power to criticize your choices. We are all doing what is best for our child.