• Thu, Mar 7 2013

Mommy Blog Peer Pressure Is Behind Some Of The Obsession With Having A ‘Perfect, Natural Birth’

home birthA story we covered here on Mommyish this morning has been haunting me. I cannot stop thinking about Lisa Epsteen, the Florida mother who desperately wanted to have a VBAC, even though her doctors were certain that it was too risky. Epsteen has had four previous c-sections, has gestational diabetes, and her baby isn’t positioned well for vaginal birth. But even when doctors told her that the baby was in fetal distress and that she needed an emergency Cesarean right away, Epsteen held off.

For the life of me, I could not figure out what would make this woman decide to defy her doctors and instead look to the internet, the media, and national advocacy groups for pregnant women for support in her decision to hold off, possibly endangering the life of her child. Then, one of our thoughtful commenters, Cee, made an incredibly astute observation.

Wow. I seriously partially blame some mommy blogs for her stubborn behavior. I mean aside from this blog, and I’m saying it with a grain of salt cuz sometimes this blog can be judgey too, some mommy blogs (usually ones that use acronyms like DH, DD, DS, CIO…blah blah blah) can be very judgmental about a lot of the personal choices women make about anything regarding their baby. Mothers shame other mothers for c sections and much much more. Go to any mommy blog and type a search for C-section, look at the comment section and you will not see many mothers supporting mothers there. You will see a lot of “selfish” “how convinient” “you drugged your baby” ” you should have…” “a doula would have…”

She goes on to suggest that birthing stories and blogger advice should come with disclaimers. For every mother who defied her doctor’s wishes because she “just knew what her body needed” and ended up with a healthy baby, there are millions of other stories where a doctor’s knowledge and expertise saves lives and kept people healthy. Many bloggers act like their own personal experience can or should reflect what every woman will experience, negating to mention that every pregnancy and labor is different.

Cee brings up such a wonderful and important point about the way we talk about childbirth, and the ways in which many people pretend that one way is better than another.

When our own Rebecca Eckler wrote about the reasons she chose to have an elective c-section, she received horrible insults and shaming. She was told, “Women are meant to give birth vaginally; C-sections are for emergencies, not for whiny little brats who think they’re too good to give birth.” On the other hand, a large amount of women were thankful that someone, finally, stood up and spoke honestly about wanting a c-section. The subject is still considered seriously taboo.

Personally, I’ve had plenty of people disparage my choice to have an epidural. I’ve been told that I was “drugging my baby.” Others, who were attempting to be less harsh but equally guilt-inducing, made sure to remind me about the decades of women before me who had no problem giving birth to children naturally.

In general, many mommy blogs tend to rank your childbirth on the scale of “naturalness” you achieve and how much praise you should get. Natural homebirth ranks at the top of the scale, along with the sometimes dangerous VBAC, while those hospital epidurals or c-sections gain considerably lower respect, and sometimes even insults.

I’m all for celebrating birth. Each and every birth that results in a happy mother and a healthy mother should be applauded, in my opinion. And yet, certain corners of the internet have nothing but criticism for moms who succumb to the evil urges of modern medicine.

I don’t want to suggest that this pressure from other moms or the internet mommy machine justifies Lisa Epsteen’s choice to defy her doctors and possibly risk the life of her baby. I don’t think anything excuses her refusal to do what’s necessary to bring a healthy baby into the world. But I have to agree with Cee. I think part of the reason that women obsess and fetishize the “natural” birthing process is because we spend so much time shaming and guilting one another, pretending that some births are more deserving or special than others.

(Photo: lovedv/Shutterstock)

Share This Post:
  • Rachelle

    Amen for calling out the truth.

    My sister and I started our own blog when we got fed up of all the negativity on most mommy blogs (actually, I’m back on here today after quite a hiatus because my sister talked to me about a post earlier today and I got sucked in again *cue the Godfather quote*). We wanted to start our own space to share our very different birth and parenting experiences and celebrate them, help each other out, ask for help, offer alternative ideas, blah blah blah and clearly indicate we would not support negativity in the posts or comments.

    Anyways, good on Cee, and good on you for finally bringing it up. (Even if it does become a guilty pleasure… you know… like a Mommy Fight Club.)

    • Koa Beck

      Mommy Fight Club. You win!

    • Cee

      Mwahaha Mommy Fight Club. I endorse this!

    • Koa Beck

      I’m making t-shirts.

    • Rachelle

      Send me one and I’ll only ask for a 5% royalty on sales. Hehehe. ;)

  • http://www.facebook.com/paul.white.3532507 Paul White

    I know my in laws were iffy on epidurals due to what happened when my MIL got one delivering her son; I understood why they were leery of them but if they’d given my wife any crap during the actual event I’d have chased them out of the delivery room. And if they give her crap now, I’d chew them up one side and down the other. That’s for my in laws, who I generally get along with and respect. Random internet commentators that give us crap? They can DIAF.

    • Tinyfaeri

      You get a cookie. :)

    • whiteroses

      Yep. Each parent has to make their own choices. That starts with the birth. You have to be able to tell people to go take a flying flip if you need to. And epidurals have changed so much in the last few decades, they tell me :)

  • Eileen

    I mean, I get it, in a way. Women in the ’50s and ’60s, for example, were subject to twilight sleep. I know a woman who asked to be awake for the delivery of her last baby (when she was all of 25…times were different!) and had her concerns dismissed as the “rantings” of a woman in labor. Twilight sleep, forceps, woke up and missed the whole thing. It really sucks that they had no choice, especially in something that had huge repercussions for their health.

    However. The fact that a woman has given birth to one or more healthy children does not make her an expert in obstetrics, and that’s what I think we’re missing. The thing about blogs is that they’re generally written by un-credentialed people, and certainly commented on by whoever the fuck wants to. (You’re not a licensed family therapist, and I’m not even a parent, yet here we are, right?) And that creates a culture of whatever. The person who gets the most people to listen to him becomes the expert, not the person who actually knows the most about the subject, whether we’re talking about Paul Krugman’s articles on finance (though he’s actually an expert on trade) or the 20-year-old doula I once met who can go on for hours and hours about how women should their babies in a squatting position without pushing (to be fair to her, she’s probably about 26 now).

    It’s true, obstetricians don’t know everything, and they should listen to and respect their patients as humans and as the owners of their own bodies and custodians of their children’s. But there’s something to be said for all those years of studying fetal development, gynecology, and the dangers that we potentially face when giving birth. Natural is great, if everything goes well, but if your experience and education is only in the way birth works when everything goes well, you aren’t prepared for when it doesn’t.

  • once upon a time

    Out of curiosity, why does Rebecca Eckler continue to write for this site? Is it for the clicks? It’s for the clicks, isn’t it? You can tell us.

    • Kathryn Eaton

      Admittedly, I always click on her stuff because I know it’ll piss me off. It’s like staring at a car crash… I just can’t help myself!

    • Eileen

      I’ve stopped clicking on them because there are enough things for me to get pissed off at in my regular life…but yeah, I tried really hard to be charitable at first, but either she’s a really obnoxious person or she’s a very creative writer. I suspect most of the comments about her elective c-section had more to do with people disliking her than disagreeing with her choice.

    • Kathryn Eaton

      You may be right. She certainly doesn’t come across as likable. :-) I think that’s another reason why I read her posts – she makes for a great downward comparison!

    • whiteroses

      I agree with this. I think it’s the pervasive Eckler-hate more than anything else.
      Admittedly, she bugs the crap out of me too.

    • Diana

      Also: When did ” Shame” become a dirty word. Shame is a healthy f***king human emotion. Even if Eckler is clearly incapable of feeling it.

    • Daisy

      I have to admit I kind of like her. She definitely keeps her brain on another planet, but usually not in a way that is harmful to anyone else, so I find her endearing in her own quirky way. But then, I’ve always had a talent for befriending the weird and slightly annoying oddballs in the group. Maybe because I always was one growing up, but I find them to be some of the most delightfully interesting people.

  • Kathryn Eaton

    I am so happy I had an epidural. I wanted my memories of childbirth to focus on the joy and happiness of bringing my children into the world, instead of remembering agony and pain. I consider myself very lucky to have been born into a time when we have these medical advances to take advantage of!

    • Ellie

      Same here. I felt so in control, relaxed and rested, and was able to do what I was supposed to do – get that baby out. I remember every moment and my births were happy occasions. For me, it was a great choice.

    • mrsmama80

      I felt the same during my unassisted homebirth. Funny how it’s not OK for someone to attack you for wanting to have a certain type of birth, but it’s OK for you to assume all women without epidurals are in so much agony & pain that they cannot focus on the joy & happiness of the event either. I personally find the idea of an epidural to be like a horror movie. Here I am, trying to give birth, and I’m numb from the waist down and unable to move or push properly, I can’t even pee! How horrifying. But guess what, the great part is all have choices and freedom of choice. If you don’t like how someone else births, then don’t do that yourself! Easy.

    • Kathryn Eaton

      I don’t see how my comment can be construed as an attack on unmedicated birth. I simply commented on why I got an epidural and that am happy I did. Calm down.

    • lea

      Really? You may not have meant it that way but I too read your comment to imply that those who choose not to have an epi will be in too much agony to enjoy their birth experience.

    • Kathryn Eaton

      Well, I was in labor for 14 hours before getting an epidural, so I was referring to my own pain and agony.

  • Blueathena623

    Are you really surprised that yet another person is choosing Internet groups and “gut instincts” over medical advice? Excuse me, I’ll just be refusing vaccines for my kid so he doesn’t catch austism.

    • meteor_echo

      Well, then don’t be surprised when your kid has whooping cough. Or polio. Os some other serious thing. And it WILL happen, because more anti-vaxers choose to break herd immunity.
      Oh and – living with autism is much better than dying from what could’ve been a preventable illness. Hard to believe it, I know.

    • CrazyFor Kate

      I’m pretty sure that was sarcasm, meteor.

    • meteor_echo

      I surely hope so, and, if this is the case, I profusely apologize. I had to deal with too many anti-vaxers this week, and they’re driving me up the wall – somewhere people are dying to deliver vaccines and medication to sick and poor, while these willingly choose to subject their children to the chance of catching something really serious. I’m sorry.

    • Blueathena623

      Haha, yes, it was extreme sarcasm. I am a HUGE vaccine advocate, and my son is completely up to date. Anti-vaxxers drive me bonkers, and I was also saddened to hear of the deaths of the polio vaccinators.

    • http://www.facebook.com/katyeshom Katy Khan

      I”m travelling throughout Asia with my 2 1/2 year old son and have been for 8 months now. Americans who don’t vax their children are idiots, no buts about it. I am so grateful, after the things that I have seen, that I come from a country where routine vaccines were given to me and that my child has access to even more vaccines than I did. What life savers and quality of life savers. Btw, my husband had tb as an child in Pakistan, the treatment was very painful for him, it made me tear up when he first told me about it.

    • Blueathena623

      Our of curiosity, when you say Tb, do you mean tuberculosis? What treatment did he have to have? I tested positive on a skin test a few years ago and as a preventative I had to take 6 months of pills, so I’m curious as to what they used to do.

    • TheHappyPappy

      Fun fact! Prior to the development of the vaccine, Polio was polled as the second thing that Americans feared most, behind the atom bomb. Let me repeat for the mrsmama80s reading this; THE ONLY THING AMERICANS FEARED MORE THAN POLIO WAS TOTAL NUCLEAR ANNIHILATION. Kind of puts the non-existent chance of autism in perspective, doesn’t it?

      When I worked in a seniors home, I met a woman who had one leg crippled by polio when she was 8 years old. She was 88 when I met her, which means she spent EIGHT DECADES with mobility issues and severe pain because of that horrible disease. She was one of the most miserable people I’ve ever met and I can’t help thinking that having her mobility stolen by a now-preventable disease might have contributed to that. I would NEVER put a child at risk of such suffering if it could be avoided. It’s simply unconscionable!

    • Blueathena623

      Dude, right now I’m dealing with one of my grad school classmates (educational degree) who is saying that homeopathy is just as effective as vaccines. My head might explode from the effort of replying civilly.

    • Justme

      After Blueathena’s epic responses to the craziness that exploded after the Anonymous Mom column about diaper changing…I’m going to go with YES on the sarcasm.

    • mrsmama80

      Just a little FYI for you, all the cases of whooping cough in CA have been in vaccinated people, and even the center for disease control has said that unvaccinated children are not to blame, mutation pertussis is. And the mutations occur because the population is vaccinated so the disease tries to suvive and infect us anyway!

    • TheHappyPappy

      References, please? Where did you get this information and how trustworthy is the source?

  • Kim

    I had a crash cesar with my first, to be honest I was only there to get my baby out safe and sound – I didn’t care how. I also never felt I had missed out on anything either. I managed to push my second baby out which was fine, it was touch and go but I would’ve been happy for her to “come out of the sun roof” if the doctors had recommended it. Again, to be honest I felt like I recovered from the Caesar a lot quicker than the VBAC :). I honestly don’t get the obsession. A lot of women I’ve talked to feel ripped of if they didn’t have a completely natural birth. People seem to forget that until not that long ago childbirth was the lead cause of death in women and babies, I was really glad I had the help that I received. It’s not a competition people!

    • lea

      “People seem to forget that until not that long ago childbirth was the lead cause of death in women and babies”

      Still is, in a lot of places in the world. I agree with you that we can get carried away with birth choices because we have the luxury to do so here in the developed world.

      But I also believe that, barring any medical necessities, women should be able to have the birth they want. And this doesn’t always happen. I have many friends who were coerced into unnecessary interventions, and am quite worried about this for myself (thankfully I seem to have found a supportive OB, who seems up to date with the latest best practices and evidence based medicine, so I think/hope I’ll be ok on this one).

      I also think it is unfair to paint women who really desire a vaginal birth as obsessed or to dismiss their disappointment if they can’t. There are known health benefits for baby, and for (most) women a vaginal delivery is a better, safer option. What is wrong with wanting that for yourself and your child?

    • Kim

      I totally agree that if it’s all going well a natual birth is optimal. I get that people will get disappointed if things don’t go the way they had hoped. What I really meant to say in my inarticulate way, was that if they did end up having pain relief or intervention then don’t beat yourself up about it or think of yourself as a failure, this is what I have heard people say about themsleves. I work in embryology so I see how people would give anything to have a baby at all, let alone worrying about having a specific birth experience. Just my perspective…

    • lea

      (Well I’m a bit miffed at my down vote- wonder what that was for?)

      Totally agree with your sentiments, Kim, and I hope you realised that my comments weren’t specifically directed at you, but rather as a corollary to them :)

    • Kim

      The down vote wasn’t from me! No worries, was not offended, just wanted to qualify my remarks as I did come across as dismissive. I just think it’s sad when these awesome women I know put themselves down about having interventions, sometimes even years later. Give yourselves a break ladies!

    • mrsmama80

      Kim, it’s never a good idea to downplay one persons feelings by comparing them to someone in a completely different situation.

      If I say I have an abusive husband, would your response be “Well I know several people who are single and miserable and would love to be married, so just get over it & be thankful you’re not alone”?

      If I told you I was depressed because my mom died suddenly, would you say “I know someone whose whole family died in a car crash. Be thankful you have any family left”?

      If I told you I was having trouble processing an early miscarriage, would you say “I know someone who had a stillbirth, and she was back to work by the end of the week and never wallowed in pity”?

      See how all of those completely disregard the persons pain and perception of their own life, by telling them that others would react with less pain in an even worse situation, so therefore there is something wrong with you?

    • Diana

      Actually ( I can’t help wheeling out little known facts.) A massive number of those deaths were caused by doctors not washing their hands between autopsies and deliveries. Gross but true. ( This in no way negates your point, but it is interesting.)

    • lea

      I remember learning about this at uni. GROSS! And despite evidence that washing hands saves lives, they continued to ignore the facts and kill people!! Mind blowing. Thank goodness for evidence based medicine these days!

    • lea

      Oh, and actually there is a wonderful organisation called Birthing Kit Foundation Australia (don’t know if it exists elsewhere) that puts together little $3 kits with soap, gloves, clean scalpel, etc to send to countries where poor sanitation and infection kills mums and their bubs. Because they are of so little value, they don’t get stolen so actually make it to those who need them. Brilliant! My go-to gift for a new mum is a donation to these guys in the name of their little one.
      So that someone else gets the chance to have a safer birth, just like they did.

    • Blueathena623

      That is awesome. How can I donate?

    • lea
    • Diana

      You know who the worst offender was? Florence Nightingale. True story.

    • once upon a time

      Interesting, I heard that Florence Nightingale popularised hand washing. To Google I go!

    • Tinyfaeri

      Gah! Things you wish you could un-read.

    • Blueathena623

      Which is why, at the time, midwives had a much higher success rate, because as women they were not allowed to attend autopsies, and therefore passed on fewer infectious agents. Cute shooting star “the more you know”

    • Becky05

      Not washing hands definitely contributed to maternal mortality, but it certainly didn’t explain all of it, and it was a major contributing factor only from the 17th to mid-19th centuries in industrialized nations. Maternal mortality has been high throughout all of history.

      And the issue with autopsies was only at one particular institution. The doctor involved who was “ignored” was claiming that puerperal fever was caused by contamination from corpses. Since it very clearly occurred in women delivered by midwives and doctors who had never touched a corpse, he was ignored by the medical society. He was also crazy, and ended up dying in a mental institution. Other doctors, even before him, were figuring out that puerperal fever was at least partially contagious. Dr. Alexander Gordon of Scotland first postulated this in 1795, and even claimed that he could predict a woman’s chance of dying from puerperal fever by which midwife delivered her, due to the observed pattern of infection. Dr. Thomas Watson and Dr. Oliver Windell Holmes also noted that puerperal fever was contagious, again before Sammelweis, the famous one connecting puerperal fever to autopsies. They also met with resistance, but ultimately the evidence carried the day. It took time, though, to clearly demonstrate what was happening and why washing made a difference.

      Keep in mind that at this time the notion of germs was completely unknown. Knowing what we know now about the spread of contagion, not washing hands seems incredible to us, but NO ONE knew about it. It wasn’t obvious to them. The increased mortality due to the handwashing issue is indeed tragic, and it definitely speaks to being attentive to scientific evidence, but it doesn’t mean that childbirth is safe without intervention (to the contrary, the WHO says that the “natural rate” of maternal mortality with no intervention is 1 – 1.5%, and the natural rate of mortality for baby is many times higher).

    • Becky05
    • lea

      Huh, well, the more you know :)

      Hand washing is STILL a major issue in hospitals in this day and age.

      I heard a fantastic talk from some Canadian scientist (can’t remember his name, it was a year or so ago) about new staff teaching practices that they struggled to have introduced, which included hand washing practices. In the hospitals where they succeeded in introducing simple signs to remind health care providers to wash their hands, the mortality in the neonatal ICU dropped dramatically.

      How are trained professionals still not getting it right, everywhere, all the time???? Scary!!!

  • chickadee

    There is a big difference between having a necessary c-section and writing a deliberately provocative post saying ‘I’m scheduling a c-section for my convenience and you can’t judge me and I don’t care what you think anyway’,* so including Eckler’s article is kind of off-topic here.

    I wanted to point out that Epsteen’s Google+ profile makes it very clear that she is a Christian homeschooling, and it appears that she may be in the demographic that places considerable emphasis on natural birthing for Biblical reasons (I am acquainted with women of this mindset) and I suspect that may have been part of the motivation for her insistence on a natural birth. Not that I’m slagging off Christians, but I do know women like this. It’s related to urban homesteading sometimes.

    *paraphrased

    • Diana

      So keeping a vegetable garden is now ” Urban Homesteading.” God I’m behind the times. Also: How is that related to being a Christain Fundie?

    • chickadee

      It isn’t, necessarily, but there is a segment of Christians who may or may not be fundies but who do emphasize homesteading and a close association with women and the home, to the extent that she should spend her day tending her gardens (figuratively and literally) and engaging with nature as a form of devotion. I can’t say where I have encountered these women since it would identify my location, but it encourages a disassociation from commercial culture as a way of strengtheningthe family and their spiritual lives.

    • chickadee

      And no, merely keeping chickens isn’t UH. You would need to be looking at your life as that of a mini-farmer to be UH.

    • meteor_echo

      “‘I’m scheduling a c-section for my convenience and you can’t judge me’”
      And what is wrong with doing that? Is she scheduling a c-section for YOU for her convenience, or something?

    • chickadee

      Well, writing a piece about something that is more for the convenience of the mother than for the fetus is controversial and will invite discussion and possibly judging. So there’s that. And how silly to think that my opinion factors into her choice–and my opinion of c-section for maternal convenience is not the point. I was merely commenting on the tone of Eckler’s piece and the fact that the reception was slightly misrepresented.

    • http://www.facebook.com/katyeshom Katy Khan

      Are you saying it isn’t selfish? Are you aware of the health differences between vaginally birthed babies and babies who were born via c-section? Google it. I would never in a million years ‘opt’ for a c-section and how sad and screwed up is it that I actually had to say the words (harshly when I started losing patients through the months) “I DO NOT want a cesearian unless it’s MEDICALLY NECESSARY” to my doctor while I was pregnant?

    • meteor_echo

      Oh, silly me. How could I have forgotten that, once a woman is knocked up, she automatically turns into nothing more than a walking incubator. And that there is a special place in hell for any woman who dares to think of her own convenience sometimes, including the way that she wants the birth process to go.
      Take a stadium full of seats and think how many babies who were positioned badly are saved by c-sections every fucking day. Then talk to me about how c-sections are wrong.

    • alice

      haha. well played

    • http://www.facebook.com/katyeshom Katy Khan

      Who said anything ab out necessary c-sections? READ, it will prevent you from making an @ss of yourself. Medically unnecessary c-sections ARE selfish, even by your own definition : ” the way SHE wants the birth process to go” ….so what’s your problem with what I’ve said?

    • meteor_echo

      Madam, I come from a long line of medics and I’ve had access to dozens of medical textbooks since I learned to read. And, if anyone is behaving like an ass here, it’s you – because EVERY woman has the right to choose what her birth should be, for ANY reason at all, even a vain one. So, if somebody wants to schedule a c-section because they feel like it – it’s their own fucking right and nobody can call it “selfish” or “wrong”.
      The problem with what you’ve said is that you sound smug and position yourself as better and “more educated” than somebody who decided to have an elective c-section. Also, what’s wrong with being selfish? Can you actually tell me?

    • http://www.facebook.com/katyeshom Katy Khan

      i can and do call it selfish, because it is. Just like smoking pot to “ease” morning sickness is selfish…drink lemonade like the rest of us and do whats best for baby…you know, that thing in your uterus that 100 percent relies on you to make the right choice, every time.

      also…name calling? Puh-lease.

    • meteor_echo

      Name calling? You called me an ass, by the way. Now you have what’s coming and don’t complain :)
      Even if the fetus is 100% dependent on its mother, it doesn’t mean that her life has to be hijacked for 9 months by it. Sorry, but the whole prospect of doing only what’s absolutely correct for the potential baby, while sacrificing everything that you want, think of, like, or hope for, is sounding incredibly disgusting to me.

    • http://www.facebook.com/katyeshom Katy Khan

      You pain a bleak picture of pregnancy.Sounds like motherhood isn’t for you . if you can’t put baby first for 9 months , how do you think the following 18 years would pan out for that poor child?

    • Justme

      I find it a very dangerous precedence to set – putting baby first ALL the time from the point of conception to birth and beyond. There is a point at which the mother must take care of herself in order to be happy and sane enough to care for her child. I scheduled my induction a week earlier than my due date not just for “convenience” sake, but because I was a hot mess of anxiety, stress and panic attacks. The minute I had an exit date on the calendar was the minute I was able to relax and enjoy the last week of my pregnancy. Call me selfish, call me wrong and call me an unfit mother….but I did what was best for my body and soul and therefore it was best for my child.

    • RubyRed

      If you look at the actual literature (and not websites written by lay people), babies born by C-section are less likely to die than babies born vaginally, so it’s actually safer. Seriously. PubMed that.

    • http://www.facebook.com/katyeshom Katy Khan

      Less likely to die from what exactly? An unsafe vaginal birth? I’m talking about overall well being. Sorry, there is nothing you can say to ME to change my mind ,I didn’t gather info from a single source about a single subject.

    • meteor_echo

      If you put a baby first all the time for 18 years, this baby will grow into an entitled brat. It’s something that STFU Parents can tell you, since the people featured there act like special privileged snowflakes – at least on Facebook.
      As for cesareans, they tend to be safer than vaginal births for several reason. 1) because a cesarean takes what, an hour from start to finish? So, less time sedated and exhausting for the mother, and a lesser probability of birth trauma for the infant. 2) a cut through the uterus gives a bigger operational field to the doctors than a dilated vulva. This way, if the baby is breech or has the umbilical cord around its neck, the problem can be fixed swiftly without exhausting and traumatizing both. 3) on average, a shorter recovery time (especially if it is a planned cesarean). 4) a lesser probability of something going wrong, because the process is under control and reach of medics from start to finish. The only drawback I can think of are dissected stomach muscles – that hurts for a WHILE, even after scar tissue is properly formed.

    • http://www.facebook.com/katyeshom Katy Khan

      A; Less time sedated? I wasn’t sedated during labor. Exhausted? Since when has a mother being exhausted injured her child during child birth? B: you’re number to is an example of a medically necessary c-section, which again, isn’t what we were discussing. C: A ‘shorter recovery time’ UMM NO, a big fat ‘NO’ actually. Last I checked, a mother wasn’t supposed to get up and move around immediately after a c-section, you know, like i walked myself to my recovery room, which is an act that stimulates the recovery process….HOWEVER, that point has nothing to do with what’s best for baby anyway. D: There is absolutely no less risk of something ‘going wrong’ with c-section, I’m not sure how you could possibly come to that conclusion so I”m honestly not sure how to address that. All in all….nothing in your post about how it’s good for mom or baby other than selfish convenience (and of course, the medically necessary kind, which again, isn’t the topic).

    • Justme

      My doctor had me on little to no restrictions after my c-section – she was actually encouraging me to get up and resume activities as much as I could handle. Recovery from a c-section does NOT have to be awful. My incision was low, and small with no stitches or staples on the surface. I was hauling laundry up and down the stairs within a week of having my child. In no way did my c-section hamper my bonding with my child or the ability to care for her.

      Is this anecdotal evidence? Well, yes. But I don’t think it’s fair to say that every c-section recovery is awful and longer for every woman – just like the reverse isn’t true either. I think more importantly, the mother’s health before and during pregnancy can play a large role in the healing process afterwards. I was a healthy weight before pregnancy and very fit as well….I didn’t gain a whole bunch of weight during my pregnancy (about 20 pounds) and I truly think that it played into me being able to recover easier, regardless of the manner in which my child was born.

    • once upon a time

      Says the commenter who recommended Google as a research method.

    • lea

      You can find a study to say anything you want. It is the quality of the study that matters.

      And there are SO many factors that come into play.

      For example- delivery by elective caesar at 37 weeks, vs vaginally delivery, has about a 2.5x greater infant mortality.
      But then for pregnancies with complications, no one would argue that most of the time, a caesar would be preferred.

      The Cochrane review came to the conclusion last year that for elective caesars at full term, there were no studies available from which to draw a conclusion about safety (for mum or baby) vs vaginal delivery.

      It is RIDICULOUS for anyone to claim that a caesarian is safer or a vaginal delivery is safer in general terms. Every pregnancy is different and a combination of factors will determine what is safest and for who.

    • http://www.facebook.com/courtney.wooten Courtney Lynn

      While an elective c-section was not something I would have chosen for myself, it’s the mother’s business and nobody else’s. We have options and I’m damn glad we do.

  • Diana

    One idiot does not a trend make.

  • cliff

    On the other hand Mommyish. Have any of you writers ever posted a positive article about natural/home birth? Ever? Maybe if those dirty hippies got some representation that wasn’t exclusively negative they wouldn’t feel the need to band together so defensively?

  • http://www.msmariah.com/ msmariah.com

    This is a good article. I’m having my first baby in a few months so I’m not sure what to expect. I’d prefer a natural birth, but I’m high risk so it may not be possible. I had no idea some people were keeping score. I just want my baby to be safe.

    • Tinyfaeri

      I’ve found that most people in real life are not nearly as judgy as people are online. There are, of course, exceptions to that, but in general I’d say that no one you know will be keeping score. My friends and cousins and I have all had different experiences with giving birth: c-sections, epidurals, no epidurals, inductions, no inductions, birth center, hospital etc. We all still get along, and I haven’t heard anyone judging the ever-loving crap out of anyone else like you see in the comments sections online. Aside from the initial “so, how was it?” how we gave birth has never come up again and we all just focus on the babies. Because, you know, they’re cute and stuff.

    • Kathryn Eaton

      Agreed. In fact, in “real life” I find more often than not you don’t even know whether someone had a vaginal birth or a c-section (at least in my case, since I think it is rude to ask). Usually we are just happy the baby is here and healthy.

    • whiteroses

      I’m going to tell you what my midwives told me as I was desperately straining to get out my over ten pound baby- Don’t be a hero. There are no prizes other than a healthy baby, no matter what anyone tells you. Ask questions, make your wishes known, but past that? If anyone is keeping score, tell them to go F themselves. As long as you’re ok and you’re not putting your baby in danger, it doesn’t matter how the little one gets here.

  • Syleste

    This is something that always kind of irks me when reading others’ birth stories. A person who is home with their healthy baby spending a large chunk of the post (and sometimes subsequent posts) talking about their disappointing birth and how it didn’t fit their birth plan for a natural birth. Over and over about disappointment. What exactly is the point of giving birth? That the mom has a perfect experience exactly as she planned it or to have a baby? That was my birth plan: get baby out safely. Sure, there were ups and downs through the process, but I got what I came for. My baby. And that is all that matters.

    • http://www.facebook.com/katyeshom Katy Khan

      I agree….looking back at my birthing experience in the hospital….it ‘sounds’ sucky, but at the time I was just super excited to be having my baby. I didn’t have to ‘cheer’ myself up or anything, its that none of the inverventions and all that actually brought me down. I was happy and calm the whole way through and I intend to take any issue with any future deliveries with a grain of salt, as we should all try to, I think.

    • Blueathena623

      To be honest, I was disappointed with my birth experience. To make a long story short (I know, I know, why is she repeating this? Why?) I told my OB several times that I thought my kid was breech and to please do a late term so garam. No dice he said, its all cool. And then when I’m past my due date, he sent me to the hospital, sonogram shows breech, and hey, since the or is ready, lets do this. My husband barely made it in time. It was weird going from pregnant to baby in less than an hour. It’s like, when you graduate after 4 long years of hard work, you kinda want to walk across that stage to get that diploma, but instead I took my final exam and someone stuffed the diploma in my hand immediately.
      STILL, a healthy baby is the end goal, and I realize this. But I understand disappointment.

    • http://www.facebook.com/courtney.wooten Courtney Lynn

      Exactly!

    • http://www.facebook.com/courtney.wooten Courtney Lynn

      I had a disappointing birth experience. Not because I wanted some zen-like atmosphere, but because I wanted to be treated like a human being. Instead, I had an idiot nurse who treated me like a nuisance when she had to come in my room to adjust my monitors because they kept sliding because I was sweating under the bands and I was hugely pregnant. She also kept fucking with the monitors while I was trying to get my epidural instead of steadying me while the anesthesiologist yelled at me and had me in tears. Oh, and he shoved me. Breaking my water took a LONG time and was also very painful. I pushed for two hours only to end up with a c-section. The surgery itself was not bad and I’m going for an RCS, actually (fuck all that drama, not doing it again!), but it was not all what I thought it would be. I was told the whole time I was pregnant that I was so low-risk and it would be a relatively easy birth (no birth is easy, but you know what I mean). So yeah, I was pretty disappointed with the process of my son’s birth because it never had to be that difficult. To sum it up, I decided to follow the OB’s advice and get induced because she thought I looked preeclamptic (turned out I wasn’t) and I figured better safe than sorry. So yeah, I questioned whether or not I did the right thing by my son. It was hard for my husband, too, a son and nephew of nurses who has heard and seen a lot. We’ve had a lot of conversations about it.

    • Edify

      It’s not that straight forward. I was incredibly happy my daughter was healthy. I was incredibly sad that she ended up coming whilst I was under a general anaesthetic and not only were my partner and I not able to welcome her when she was born but 3 years on I don’t know why it was necessary to take those steps. No one took the time explain anything to us before or after. As you can imagine, this has made me quite anxious about my current pregnancy.
      Yes, coming home with a wonderful healthy baby is what matters but that doesn’t negate the loss I feel for missing my daughters birth and the first 2 hours of her life.

  • copycait

    Epidurals are the greatest thing ever. The end.

  • http://twitter.com/carinnjade Carinn Jade

    I must be reading the wrong blogs, because I feel like every other mother out there thinks you are “crazy” if you don’t get an epidural, or reminds me I wouldn’t have dental work or surgery without drugs, or tells me to “get with modern medicine” or directs me to “give birth in the field if I want to do it like they used to”. I often feel defensive about my decision to have a natural birth (didn’t you notice?) and feel I am severely in the minority. So this was a very interesting POV, as always, Lindsay.

    • mrsmama80

      I thought the same thing Carinn, where are all these blogs judging people for having c-sections? I have never found one. But I have found plenty like this, full of comments about how wonderful epidurals and c-sections are and people just need to shut up & get over their issues if they dont like it.

      While I have met many like-minded friends online, in my real life I don’t know a single person who has had a “natural” medication intervention free birth, let alone a home birth (except my mom, my brother & I were both born at home)

      . And the #1 question I have got when talking about my homebirth was “How did you do it without the option of an epidural, I could never do it knowing I couldn’t ask for one” and the #1 comment has been “I wish I could do that, but I could never do it without an epidural” When I had my hospital birth, I was told I was the only woman there without one and my vocalizing was disturbing all the laboring women who were resting quietly. How backwards is that?!

  • wsclly

    You should try to do whatever gets you a healthy baby. That is the point of pregnancy, it it not?

  • Carolina

    AMEN!! All women have NOT been doing it “naturally” since the dawn of time. In a state of nature, a certain percentage of babies and mothers die. A higher percentage are permanently injured. The human race will march on, but those losses are pretty horrible for the individual families. Why not avail yourself of modern obstetrics?

  • CK

    I’ve been lucky enough to not have anyone that I’ve told about my c-section to be judgmental about it. It was necessary due to my little girl’s heart rate dropping with contractions after 30 hours of labor, and topping out on petocin due to stalled dilation. Even before I went into labor I was completely for an epidural. We live in the 21st century, and we have these tools available to us to help. Granted, my epidural came way later than I would have liked, but it still came, and I was able to relax, and sleep a little before my impending c-section. The midwife I was seeing put it a great way, too. She said, “you don’t get a prize for doing it naturally.” No matter how you have your baby, you get the baby in the end. I’m happy to have been in my situation during a time when there are sterile conditions, and safer measures that can be taken. I’m convinced that if my labor had gone down the way it did even a hundred years earlier, I would have died, and my daughter would have died.

    • http://www.facebook.com/katyeshom Katy Khan

      There’s nothing wrong with needing a c-section. I have to say though, I am NOT getting an epidural next time, mine wore off 8 hours before delivery so I felt the worst of it anyway :P and in hindsight, getting the epidural was the worst part for me, I just hate needles and thats a big-fat-needle (or is it a big-fat-tube?)

    • CK

      I, honestly, didn’t look at the needle, and at that point, wouldn’t have cared. It was such a relief to finally have it. I had been on petocin since early afternoon, after a foley catheter to get my dilation going, and was in such pain from both that I would have accepted a knock over the head to become unconscious. I received my epidural at around the 4 the next morning. They had me get to 4-5 centimeters before they would give it to me. the only think I’m going to do next time is actually the c-section. I don’t want to go through that again, and I don’t want my child to have to deal with it. I’ve never understood the whole “I’m not a woman unless I have a baby vaginally” camp. I feel it’s just as important to make the decision to protect your baby, no mater what your feelings are. If you are at risk for the same scenario to play out, then just have the c-section, and everyone is safe, and healthy. It’s one part of my life that I refuse to take chances with.

  • CCPat

    Why does anyone even care what anonymous posters say about how one’s child came into the world? Grow a thicker skin or keep the details of your own labor to yourself. It’s your child. You get to decide along with your health care provider how your baby enters the world. Screw everyone else and stop looking for approval from strangers! Same goes for family members. If you do share be prepared for different reactions.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jen-Clark/100000568225513 Jen Clark

    Boy do I know all about the “mommy judging” When I first had my daughter, I had joined different blogs and sites for mothers, in order to connect with others and get advice from more experienced mothers, since I’m a first time mom. Instead, I was met with the most judgmental and vulgar crap I have ever seen, they were sooo up in arms about the fact I had a C-section, yes I was called a whiny stuck up brat too good, or too scared for “real” birth, they said I was a failure as a woman and not a real mother, along with a terrible mother and a whole onslaught of insults. Little did they know, I was a high risk pregnancy, I had high blood pressure which skyrocketed, she was breach, I was at high risk of seizures, I’m also anemic and had a high risk of hemorrhaging and rupturing, so I could had bled out and died in no time. Explaining this to them I was told that “its no excuse for laziness” and I should have “taken better care of myself” followed by more insults. When I often meet other parents in person, some of the first questions they ask me is how I gave birth, followed by what my diet is and what I do with my “me” time. Of course, some of them find it disgusting I have me time or help at all.

  • Kai

    F^c$ that!! Bring on the heavy drugs and let me sleep. Wake me when it is over!!! You have to be a true glutton for punishment, but don’t worry for at least the next 18 years…no rest for the wicked!!

  • Pingback: Birth Rights, C-Section, Childbirth Activism, Lisa Epsteen, VBAC