Same old song and dance

I was on another non-mainstream parenting site and read yet another person come on and complain about how us judgmental natural types (well, the ones she is friends with irl) are making her feel bad about her decision to have a conventional medicalized birth. Here is my reply:

If you have people in your life assuming that you made your decisions based on being ignorant, then that is wrong.

However, only 5% of women give birth outside of hospital, so I find it really hard to believe that most women you encounter fall in this category. 85% of women choose anesthesia, and almost all of those women choose an epidural. Most women who choose out of hospital birth get treated like the ones who are, well, the very small minority. Even on this website is it very very rare to find someone who doesn’t vaccinate.

So, sorry if you got treated like your choices are unfounded. I am not sure where you are finding these judgmental natural people. I hear about them all the time on the internet, but I trained for two years as a midwife and I have yet to meet someone who tries to convert their friends to a very trampled and unpopular way to have kids. In fact, the ACOG (American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists) wants to end out of hospital birth, and it is a huge controversy just now.

I don’t think it is right to tell people that what they choose for their birth is wrong or ignorant. I had a couple walk up to me and tell me they were going to give birth in the ocean only attended by dolphins. Yup. They decided that, and who am I to tell them I didn’t think that was safe? They seemed confident in their decision, and were not asking me for my opinion.

A family member got induced early. Before she told me she was going to get induced, (actually, she never told me, my mom called me the day of the induction and said she was in labor after being induced that morning, 3 weeks early. Only indication was a presumed large baby.) I had sent her and her partner an article from the New York Times a few weeks before (a newspaper they subscribe to) about early induction (not exactly what you are discussing here) saying that insurance companies are going to stop covering them because they fail so often and many moms end up with cesareans. The outcomes for the babies and moms was worse, and the the procedure was getting more and more common. Her early induction did fail, and she had a cesarean. She had major complications, and ended up in intensive care for 13 weeks. Will everyone who gets induced end up like her? Of course not.

Another family member told me that her doctor induces everyone and she would be induced. This was very early in her pregnancy, and I knew she wasn’t reading or studying up on birth. I told her she was a poor candidate for induction (irregular periods, not sure of her conception date, no early ultrasound) and she got offended. She also talked to her doctor and he told her the very same thing. She went into to spontaneous labor early and had a quick and easy birth, with an epidural. Did I tell her not to get the epidural? Of course not. In some hospitals, 90% of women get them.

So, is it rude to tell someone their researched health decision is uninformed? Absolutely. It happens all the time, and it doesn’t stop with birth. Is it rude to share legitimate information about birth with someone you care about? Maybe, maybe not, depends on how you present it, and how she reacts to it. And it is not the exclusive property of natural types. I have had members of my family tell me I was wrong in my choices and literally order me to do things like circ my sons. Call me repeatedly and tell me I had to. I have been mocked at a baby shower for trying a water birth. I was shamed into a corner for breastfeeding my 12 month old (He’s a YEAR??!!) Since the majority of moms do not agree or practice most of the things you listed being judged over, I think you should have less problems than the ones who do, but I don’t wish it on anyone.

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4 Comments

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4 responses to “Same old song and dance

  1. Ivy

    Preach it, sista girlfriend!!! :)

  2. A year! *gasp* How could you?! I mean, sure, the WHO recommends nursing until 2, but who they heck are they anyway?

    I’ve actually known some judgemental, pushy “natural” moms online, but they were the minority.

  3. Pro-choice means just that, pro-choice, whatever your choices may be. I don’t see how it is anyone’s business but your own to decide how to birth or raise your child. This goes equally for natural and “unnatural” types. Offering information to someone who has not been informed about the choices they plan to make is *not* the same thing as preaching. However, I have had plenty of people criticize my decision not to allow my child to “cry it out” and I have also been criticized for having my child sleep in my bed with me. I find this both obnoxious and insulting. My child is my child and I will raise her how I wish. I have done my research and I have spent time with my child and I know her better than any other mother who could offer me unsolicited advice. As a friend of my repeatedly says, “whatever works.” I interpret this to mean, know you child and meet his/ her needs.

  4. “Whatever works” or, as John Lennon said “Whatever gets you through the night….”

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