• Wed, Sep 18 2013

STFU Parents: Birth Junkies And Sanctimamas Who Can’t Stop Talking About Labor On Facebook

As a woman and a “parenting blogger” who is not actually a parent, I try to keep an open mind about most things. Running STFU, Parents has afforded me a glimpse into many worlds, and one such world is that of the sanctimommy. There are many types of sanctimommies — so many that I’m convinced a good portion of sanctimommies would hate each other, despite certain commonalities — and one type in particular that always catches my attention is the birth junkie. Now, as I said, I try to keep an open mind about personal choices regarding birth, especially since I haven’t given birth myself and am not a doctor. I’m not here to judge anyone for having a lotus birth, for instance; I’m here to judge that person for showcasing the lotus birth on Facebook. That being said, birth junkies are a very special breed of sanctimommy, and today’s column is about a few of the ways in which they alienate their “friends” by beating the topic of birth, well, to death. Metaphorically speaking.

Birth junkies, “natural” sanctimamas, and even the occasional aggressive mama bear use Facebook in a way that most other sanctimommies don’t. While the common sanctimommy might utilize Facebook to brag, complain, or get enraged about a subject that pertains directly to her, the types of sanctimommies I’m talking about are usually speaking to ALL women and mothers about birth. They see themselves as counselors, coaches, and above all, champions for mothers and the birth process. Fundamentally speaking, I could get on board with some of their philosophies. I admire women who feel in control of their bodies, and I believe in a mother’s intuition. But even more than that, I admire women who have given birth and don’t feel the need to tell everyone every freaking thing about it and why their way is the best way.

If there’s one thing that’s firmly anti-woman, in my opinion, it’s women telling each other what to do with their bodies. Yes, a woman’s vagina can expand to the width of a football field (or so I’ve heard!), and sure, there are studies that say drugs are bad, mmkay, and giving birth naturally will be a great experience for both mom and baby. But that doesn’t mean there are “right” and “wrong” ways to give birth, and it’s not exactly empowering when an obsessive birth junkie is constantly lighting up Facebook with new updates about how STRONG women’s bodies are and how FIERCE women should be, like primal animals, when giving birth. Some women would actually rather just get an epidural to make the pain subside. Some women prefer to get C-sections because it’s what they prefer, or because it’s what was required in order to give birth to a healthy baby. And birth junkies aren’t doing those women any favors with their versions of support. Let’s check out a few of the ways in which these “wombyn” shame and complain on Facebook:

1. Natural Birth Lectures

STFU Parents

When Lauren says, “A lot of people wonder why I’m so passionate about natural birth,” it’s clear to me she’s missing what those people are really saying. They’re not saying, “Golly, Lauren, why ARE you so passionate about this subject? DO TELL.” They’re saying, “Lauren, please stop. Stop stop stop I don’t need to hear anymore about natural birth for the rest of my life please THANK YOUUUUU.” I can only imagine the earful little Odin is going to get when he’s old enough to ask where babies come from.

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  • Amber

    You know, one of these natural birth sanctimommy types was in the hospital with me when I had my emergency c-section, no meds because everything went so bad so fast, nightmare.

    She screamed for a solid 12 hours. In the beginning I felt sorry for her and actually asked the nurse if she was alright. The nurse just rolled her eyes and said she started screaming because they asked her to sit up so they could give her the epidural. Even with the epidural, the banshee screamed all night. It sounded put on too, not like real screams of pain, more like look at me! WUUU-WUUU-WUUU AAAOOOOGGGAAAHHHHH kind of screams.

    One great thing about my surgery is that it got me away from her. The next day, I was shuffling around, hunched over, since I had just been cut open and that twat actually breezed past me in the hall and told me to “stop playing it up, it wasn’t that bad.”

    I just said, “If it wasn’t that bad, why did I have to hear you scream like a little bitch all night when I was the one having emergency surgery?” Two nurses standing in the hall with us tried, and failed, to contain their laughter as sancticunt hurried away with her head down.

    TL;DR: Don’t believe these bitchy stories of no pain and euphoric beauty because there’s a good chance they whined and screamed through the whole damn thing.

    • AnyMommy

      Awesome. Purely awesome. I would have loved to witness that exchange!!!

    • Jezebel76

      Sancticunt. Perfect.

  • VLDBurnett

    I’m always baffled by birth junkies. It just seems like they are more focused on a relatively short process rather than their actual children. I just find it funny that they talk about how great childbirth is, yet I’ve never seen one with more than four children (and most only have one or two). You would think they would keep going if giving birth were as orgasmically wonderful as they claim it to be.

  • kristi

    So thankful I gave birth long before facebook! Back then it was bad enough sitting around the park listening to all the suburbamoms wax poetic about their births. I remember one woman saying to another “I almost had to have a c-section but then I decided to try harder!” Seriously?

    I had 3 children naturally myself, no drugs at all, no screaming, no breaking my husbands hands etc. Big flipping deal! Who cares.

    I CHOSE to give birth that way because that was the right way for me! Does that make my experience any more meaningful than the woman who decides to have an elective C-section? Or the woman who decides to have an epidural? Does it make me stronger, better, or more than? Of course it does not. These women have some serious self esteem issues that they have to spend their free time babbling on facebook about how strong they are because they didn’t have an epidural or a hospital birth etc. Fishing for outside validation much? So transparent.

    Women have choices and the free will to choose for THEMSELVES thank god! Reading stuff like this makes my feminism hurt. It is just as bad as the holier than thou stay at home moms vs. working moms or homeschool vs public school or the millions of other ways insecure women try to make themselves feel better at the expense of other women. Thank god none of my facebook friends are sanctimommies. I would have to ban them.

  • Mae Blackwood

    Personally, with this one I prefer the super natural way of gazelle birth. I’m going to wander around my yard and let her sort of fall out and then I will clean her off a bit before she takes off wandering around by herself.

    Anyone who does it differently is obviously blinded by doctors and medicine!

    In all seriousness, though, I do find it extremely annoying to shame anyone for the choices they make. Whether I decided to let her roll out into a bath tub or while I’m laying on the kitchen floor or in a hospital, with tons of medical staff and drugs is really my own business. I’m much more focused on the idea of giving birth to a healthy child and the years to come with her. I don’t see why more people don’t focus on the child in the room with them instead of bitching about how terrible someone else is for not giving birth the way they did.

    We should all focus on healthy little ones and being as comfortable as we can while bringing them into the world. However one finds that comfort is up to them. Not someone else.

  • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

    Number 3 might have a point. A tiny one. In that, yes, there is this prevailing trend of instant- and quick-fixes, and you gotta wonder, sometimes, if maybe it’s getting out of paw.

    • Gangle

      I understand what you are saying, and I share that sentiment generally… but to lump all women who choose cesarean sections either for health or other personal reasons into the ‘instant gratification’ crowd is pretty inaccurate. And it seems ironic that she passionately posts about it on facebook… the ultimate in ‘instant gratification’.

    • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

      All very valid points.

  • amanda

    Shoooot.. my epidural did NOT work. I was very disappointed. I was told I’d get to sleep a bit.. Bull crap. My nurse tilted my bed so that I was almost upside down in hopes to disperse it I guess. My doctor was like, wth? Switching sides didn’t help either. I felt it more in my vajajay than anywhere else. TMI, oh well.. Thought that was strange though. My mom said I handle labor better than my sister. Loved that. I ended up with a C-section after 7 hours. I started throwing up and running a fever and his heart rate went up. I only got to see him for a few seconds before they whisked him a way. After that it was a few more hours. He was in NICU for a bit due to his fever. But he is a happy a 2 year old now and I still can’t feel my lower stomach :)

  • NickNack

    These women have obviously not really paid attention to the fact that mother’s used to die in childbirth ALL THE TIME. It was a common thing to happen. So, no, you couldn’t (always) deliver you child on your own if you had to, and you can’t (always) avoid a C-Section, or giving birth in a hospital. There are circumstances where the mother and the child need to be in the hands of medical professionals to increase or ensure that they both come out of the birth alive. Now, some births are easier than others, but there are complications that crop up unexpectedly, and you truly don’t know if they are going to happen until you actually go into labor. I respect people’s decisions when it comes to hospital or home birth, but if something goes wrong, go to the F***ING HOSPITAL, and don’t feel guilty about it. Some people are seriously delusional.

  • Muggle

    I can’t even handle menstrual cramps without curling into a ball and crying, how the FUCK am I supposed to go through childbirth which is like a million times worse with no pain medication?!

    • DMH

      And that right there is why I had an epidural. Can I have my sissy shirt now?

  • Katherine Handcock

    Okay, I have to respond to four out of the five of these women to prevent myself from breaking my computer monitor:

    1) Lauren: no, not all women’s body’s can do/know what to do if they have to have a natural birth. That’s why maternal mortality is so high in places that don’t have easy access to health care.

    2) Monika: knowing multiple women who opted for elective C-sections, your friend Roxanne is spot on: it’s about control. Knowing how it will happen and, most likely, WHEN it will happen. Because if your partner’s work offers, say, three total days off and he/she has to book them two weeks in advance (yes, one of my friends was in EXACTLY that position), you kind of have to know. If you have older children who need a sitter, but the sitter isn’t on call, you have to know. I could go on.

    3) R.: I hate your shirt and am struggling really hard not to hate you as a result. Do you take Tylenol for a headache? Would you ask for numbing when having dental work done? Both things OTHER people would call you a sissy for doing. Stick with “natural birth is beautiful” — it makes people less ragey.

    4) Elise: your dream sounds totally fake. It may have BEEN real, but posted as a status on Facebook, it sounds like you made it up to drive home how HORRIFIED you would be to have a hospital birth. Not helping your case.

  • R Zhao

    What might bother me the most about this is why do people assume others will experience things the same way as them? That others feel (or don’t feel) pain as they do? I do believe that some women go through labor and delivery without a tremendous amount of pain, even without medication, but that is not the case for many. I’ve talked with a number of friends and relatives about their experiences giving birth and it is all so varied.

  • Kathleen O’Malley

    Poor Bella Swan should have NEVER had Edward gnaw Renesmee (!) out of her. She should’ve kept her vampire-human hybrid baby keep breaking her ribs. ;)

    • BigBlue

      Yes, poor Bella is probably online lamenting her “unnecessary” c-section even now.
      I had already read the book and knew that was coming and it STILL freaked me out in the movie.

  • chomps

    These are all clearly extreme people, but women are not told of the serious complications that can arise from routine use of birth interventions. Women in labor are flat-out lied to by doctors who don’t want to work into a weekend or who might be late for their tee time. There is no excuse for a c-section rate of 30% in this country.

    • AP

      Because the US has a market for paid-in-full medical treatment, women who wouldn’t be medically approved to get fertility treatment in other countries are approved in the US. They constitute a high number of these high-risk pregnancies that have less-than-ideal outcomes.

      Anyone have any personal experience with natural super-high-risk pregnancies in other healthcare markets? I don’t want to think doctors say “abortion or no care!” but…they very well could.

    • BigBlue

      “There is no excuse for a c-section rate of 30% in this country.”
      Could I ask what your credentials are, that you’re qualified to make such a statement? Also, what would be an acceptable c-section rate? How do you make that determination?

    • araikwao

      Even the WHO have admitted they can’t make a recommendation on the “right” c-section rate, so I doubt a random NCB-pusher (pun semi-intended) will have an appropriately justified answer

    • Momma425

      I disagree. I tried EVERYTHING in my power to get a c-section. I was ignored, brushed over, and told that I didn’t know what I was talking about because I didn’t want a c-section. I am a nurse. I know about c-sections. I know about complications, I know about risks. Didn’t effing work. They tried EVERYTHING to get me to go into labor at 42 weeks. 5 days later after cervix softening gel, cervix softening pills, a balloon catheter, petosin, and actually having a doctor go in and break my water manually and STILL no labor? I finally got my c-section.
      I have no problem at all with the c-section rate in this country. Even if I had a vaginal delivery, I would not give a flying crap if every single other person in the US had a c-section other than me. Want to know why? How someone else delivers is none of my business.

    • AnyMommy

      They’re not that extreme, actually. They’re pretty standard for the crunchy birth junkie crowd. You seem to fit right in with them, with your comment here. And you have an issue with the c-section rate? Okay. How many dead babies are you willing to trade for a lower rate? Because that’s the tradeoff. Fewer c-sections means more dead and brain damaged babies.

    • Katherine Handcock

      Not quite true…fewer medically necessary C-sections equals more injured babies. Fewer unnecessary C-sections does not. Sadly, there are doctors who will perform C-sections to avoid having to stay late, or because they have two women under their care labouring at once and they want to “finish one off”.

      The other problem is that performing a C-section will rarely result in a malpractice verdict against you, but letting a woman try to labour longer will, even if the outcomes are the same. So even very good doctors feel the pressure to have the “controlled” birth process of a C-section to avoid potential litigation.

      The WHO doesn’t make firm recommendations re. C-section rates, but they do say that, with typical good prenatal care, the C-section rates should probably be around 5-15%; both the US (and Canada, where I live) hover around 30%. Granted, some of those are requested by the patients, but many are encouraged (to a greater or lesser extent) by doctors.

      Please do not thing I’m telling women they shouldn’t have C-sections! But with all the talk about risks of natural birth, it’s important to remember that C-sections are major surgery, and that they also have risks for both mother and baby. Deciding whether or not to have a C-section is a big decision, but there are a lot of factors that pressure patients and doctors to go for that option, and not all of them have to do with actual medical need.

    • BigBlue

      The WHO retracted that statement and admitted it was never based on actual evidence.

      ETA – Even if that 5-15% figure was accurate, how do you know that the 30% of women who have a c-section in the US and Canada are receiving proper prenatal care that would make the 30% figure too high? In the US especially, lower income women have a lack of access to good prenatal care and it’s quite possible they have c-sections in higher numbers.

    • Katherine Handcock

      Ah, I hadn’t seen the retraction of the 5 – 15% figure, so my apologies for the outdated information. However, I will still argue that I find it difficult to believe that 30% of all births require medically necessary C-sections. A third of all births would result in SIGNIFICANT injury to child or mother without that intervention? And bear in mind, there are still risks (both minor and major) to mother and child in a C-section; they’re just different than in a vaginal birth. To say that a reduction in the C-section rate will AUTOMATICALLY equal a corresponding increase in dead or brain-damaged babies is not accurate.

      Look, I’m not saying C-sections should stop. I’m not saying mothers shouldn’t be allowed to request one. But there are instances of doctors (not a majority, but enough that these stories come up regularly) saying things like, “I have dinner reservations at 7 so we’re going to the OR” or even “I don’t care what you want or how your labour is progressing, I’ve determined your baby is breech and therefore we’re going to the OR.” To me, that’s not an acceptable level of care.

      What I want to see is a medical system where doctors who see a medical need can act on it, but where, in the absence of a medical need, patients can choose. If a woman chooses a C-section, great! As long as she knows the relative risks and recovery, I’m all for her choice. But if she feels pressured by a doctor’s impatience or a hospital policy, that’s not okay, and there are many women who report that as part of their birth experience.

    • EmbraceYourInnerCrone

      Ok, what about the fact that no one tells women what the REAL risks of vaginal birth are? I had a big(8lbs 15 oz) baby , a fast labor and I am 5 feet tall. From first contraction to birth was just over 6 hours. I had one 3rd degree and two 2nd degree tears. Sitting, standing and even lying down was uncomfortable for weeks. And I won’t even go into the fun of peeing every time I cough or sneeze (fyi my “baby” is now 19).

      If I had to do it again I would have preferred a C-section and an intact pelvic floor. And maybe she would not have needed to be suctioned and helped by the NICU team if I had a C-section(fetal distress, meconium in the waters).

      C-sections are to prevent a situation from becoming an emergency. If you wait until you are 100% sure there is an emergency , it may be too late.

      People talk about “interventions” like they are a bad thing. A lot of mothers and babies died back before the interventions were available. And in countries where those interventions are not available they still do.

    • AnyMommy

      The thing about saying a c-section was “unnecessary” is that it can only be said after the fact, when someone is looking back in hindsight. Doctors have to make a call on when to perform a c-section. The vast majority of doctors will make that call when, at the time they make the call, the risks of the c-section are outweighed by the risks of not doing one. How can you look back and say that at the time they made the call, the c-section was unnecessary? It’s an impossible standard. Further, the doctor has actually seen the results of what happens when a timely c-section isn’t performed. They see the dead babies. They see the brain damaged babies. These risks are very real possibilities to them, whereas most mothers probably only have an abstract understanding of what the risks are, and what they really mean. Are some c-sections unnecessary? Yes, in hindsight, there are some that are unnecessary. But at the time the doctor is making the call, you can’t really fault him or her for that. And it’s not fair to Monday morning quarterback their judgment call.

    • Katherine Handcock

      I think you’re missing my point a bit. To make myself clear, I am NOT talking about situations where mom or baby is in distress. You are correct, in those situations it’s not fair to second-guess a doctor who’s working in the field making the best decisions they can. Those are the 5-15% C-section rates the WHO talks about.

      The additional 15% C-section rate in North American births are some blend of patients who WANT a C-section (which I also have no problem with, if they’re informed of the relative risks), and patient who are being given a C-section FOR REASONS THAT AREN’T MEDICAL. That non-medical, doctor-advised percentage is the problem, not medically necessary or patient-selected C-sections.

      Look, when a woman gets told, “Your labour could take another five hours and I want to go home,” that’s not an acceptable reason. Neither is, “Well, you’re progressing fine and the baby isn’t in distress, but I get dinged on my malpractice insurance if my patients’ average labour time goes over X.” And neither is, “Well, if you go past 38 weeks gestation, I automatically do a C-section because the baby MIGHT be big.”

      C-sections are major surgery with their own significant risks to both mother and baby. I absolutely have no problem with doctors advising them in the best interests of the patient, or with women who choose them for any number of excellent reasons. But we have to address the C-sections that are performed strictly for convenience. Those can result in worse outcomes than vaginal birth, because they’re being done for the wrong reasons.

    • aze

      How exactly are other peoples csections your business? Most dont share your extreme ideological opinion. Many even choose csection because unnecessary pain and the risk of incontinence doesn appeal to them. How can you claim to stand for womens empowerment and at the same time try to take choices away from them?

    • Katherine Handcock

      I don’t think the comment above has to do with women who choose a C-section or people who are in a situation where a C-section is medically necessary; I think it’s about women who are pressured into a C-section by doctors (and/or not fully informed about the relative risks of C-sections versus vaginal birth). There are doctors who will do that for non-medical reasons (see my novel-length comments above ;-)

      Taking choices away doesn’t empower women, you’re right. But expecting the medical profession to choose responsibly and inform their patients fully is a different matter.

    • Simone

      Other people’s c-sections are only my business if it’s what I’m studying, or if I’m in a medical profession, or if I’m a sociologist, or if the way women’s medical procedures are carried out and discussed matters to me on a political level. It IS all right for women to be interested in how female-specific medical practices are evolving, remaining the same, being misrepresented, or being carried out unnecessarily. If nothing was ever anyone else’s business, lots of poor practices and unethical power relationships would still be occurring today.

      Observing that at times some doctors encourage women into c-sections that aren’t medically necessary isn’t going against women’s empowerment, it’s working towards it. A medical relationship is a relationship based on a power imbalance – a doctor has the training, knowledge and status, and a patient relies on their doctor to always do what is best for them as they are without that knowledge and power. Sometimes it’s abused, like any other power relationship, and this should be observed and discussed. It’s not ‘taking their choices away from them’, it’s promoting awareness.

    • aze

      The idea that unmedicated vaginal childbirth is somehow a feminist statement and that all women should desire one is pure biological essentialism. I`ve got news for you: most women don`t care about your ideas on the `paternalistic obstetrical establishment` (nowadays most obstetricians are women anyway!). They`re just not that into excruciating pain.

      Maternal request cesarean and pain relief during labor reveal the utter hypocrisy of the `natural childbirth` movement. It`s not about defending women`s choices, or about empowering birthing women. It`s about forcing us all into the same cookie cutter shape: that of the natural mama for whom no amount of physical pain or pelvic floor damage is ever enough to justify the hated medical interventions. It`s about shaming those who didn`t live up to the ideal, either by necessity or by choice. It`s about taking away choices they disagree with from other women `in their best interest`.

      A women isn`t defined by what she does with her uterus, vagina and breasts, but by her achievements and her character. A mother isn`t defined by the way the baby came out of her body, but by the kind of person she raises. For those who have construed their whole self esteem around their reproductive organs, the fact that others dismiss their worldview altogether and choose MRCS or an epidural must be jarring. What better way to keep their illusions intact than to blame the `evil obstetrician` for these mother`s choices and strive tirelessly to have those choices taken away from them?

  • xshainax

    I can’t wait to have kids, but there is no way in hell I am giving birth to them without drugs

  • Amanda Stanley

    I don’t see anything with sharing your opinion on Facebook, as long as its not in a way that is diragutory towards others. I really think that talking about why we believe what we believe helps us to grow.

  • Copperkroewe

    I had 2 natural births and it was the worst most painful experience of my life. Granted I do have two amazing awesome daughters but natural Labor sucked. Maybe it’s wrong but when my sisters were pregnant they both asked me what I thought of my labors and I honestly Told them that it was the worst most painful experience of my life, I thought I was going to die but didn’t. When my sister went through her labor she thanked me for being honest with her.

    • G.S.

      Not wrong in the slightest. If anything, there needs to be honesty about this, to hell with all this, “Oh, it’s rainbows and puppies and unicorns” crap. Having your hips separate before squeezing a human the size of your forearm through your birth canal is PAINFUL.

    • rccola

      for my first baby i had an epidural…it was glorious. i felt NOTHING. my second baby came too quickly and i couldn’t have one. i felt EVERYTHING! and it was awful and i also thought i was going to die. i hear ya!

  • MA

    I had an unscheduled induction. I had an epidural. 2, actually, because the first one didn’t work. I had a C-section. Y’know what? I’d do it all over again.

  • eyesofcuriosity

    People like Monika annoy the living hell out of me. Other mothers should
    understand how fragile a mother is after birth and to post something so
    opinionated on FB is out right rude and she should know better. I have a
    nephew and a cousin who would not be alive today if it weren’t for the
    “instant” the doctor chose to perform a c-section.

  • BigBlue

    I guess the one thing that bothers me the most about the natural birth sanctimommies is, who cares? Is your son or daughter going to look at you one day and say “Thanks, Mom, for pushing me out of your vajajay! Those 3rd degree tears and prolapsed organs let me know how much you cared. Now I know you love me more than all those poor c-section “moms” love their children!” My guess is they aren’t going to care one way or the other and probably don’t want to hear about it.

    I have so many other accomplishments that I’m proud of myself for that whether or not I had the holy grail (unmedicated vaginal) of births isn’t really that important to me. I think I’m doing a pretty awesome job of raising my son without any family around for guidance. I’m proud of that. I worked my tail off to get an education and bring myself out of poverty and a poor home life, and now have a great job, an awesome husband and a little family I love more than I thought possible. I’m proud of that too. The exit method your child uses is so small in the grand scheme, I don’t understand why people get so obsessed with it.

    • monkeymamma

      What a great comment and so, so true.

  • Sara J. Hutchinson Underwood

    I had 2 c-sections, and very few people in real life have ever asked me how the birth went. They both sucked. The first one was an induction with 7 hours of pushing before my c-section. The second one was supposed to be planned, but he ended up coming early so it was sort of planned (not an emergency, but he wasn’t born when he was scheduled to be) and I had a horrible reaction to the epidural and almost died (seriously – talk about not remember the birth, try waking up with 3 tubes down your throat and the only part of your body you can move is your eyelids). Honestly, my favorite analogy is getting married. You can spend hours and hours obsessing over every tiny detail of your wedding, you can look up stats on the divorce rate if you marry in a church vs. get married by a JP – but at the end of the day, it’s one day – and the important thing is your marriage, not your wedding. Thusly, no matter how your birth experience went – the next 18 years of parenting are truly what counts.

  • Jennifer Dreyer

    After I had each of my 3 kids I noticed people love to ask, “natural birth or c section?” or ” pain meds or no pain meds?” ( also “are you breast feeding? ” but that’s a different topic altogether!) like it’s any of their damn business. Fortunately since I have no shame I don’t mind answering their questions, but it seems odd so many ask in the first place.
    Honestly, I had epidurals 2 out of 3 times and that one was only because labor progressed too quickly or I sure as hell would have had one. I don’t get this whole, ” birth pain is different and empowering” nonsense because to me, it was just horrible awful intolerable pain. In this day and age if there is a way for me to avoid that discomfort I sure as hell will opt for the relief.

    • G.S.

      If I ever have a kid and someone asks if it was natural, I’m gonna be all, “Well, we REALLY wanted to summon the dark, watery lord Cthulu and offer our son as a disciple, but the pentagram we drew in chalk around the bed was just the TEENSIEST bit off, so it didn’t work, so yeah, it was ‘natural’, unfortunately. Well, there’s always next time, right?!”

    • Williwaw

      You could also pretend to misunderstand the question and think they are asking whether the conception was natural. Then describe the conception. Make sure your story involves Jello and a swingset.

  • Momma425

    I had a c-section.
    I am passionate about WOMEN HAVING CHOICES and WOMEN NOT GETTING SHAMED FOR THEIR CHILDBIRTH. However the hell it happened. Natural, c-section, epidural, hell, I don’t care if the woman had an iv-drip full of red wine (do they have those btw?). Childbirth is personal. My childbirth was personal, my reasons for having a c-section were personal, and you know what? It doesn’t matter anyway.
    On a side note- not everything is beautiful just because it is natural. Throwing up is a natural body process. Decomposing after you’re dead is a natural body process. Neither of those are beautiful in the least. I had a baby, and it was a bloody, icky disaster. Let’s start calling a spade a spade. For the love of God!

    • Katherine Handcock

      LOL at the IV of red wine. On a related not, some maternity hospitals now offer women dark ale (Guinness, etc.) after birth because it helps the uterus contraction, assists with milk production if the woman is nursing, and is full of vitamins and minerals. :-)

    • Williwaw

      Ooh, an IV of aged Scotch would be great.

  • Lynsey

    Thank you, thank you THANK. YOU.

    I had a baby 10 weeks ago and things didn’t go how I had hoped. I ended up being pumped full of pitocin and “giving in” to an epidural (not to mention, my (8lbs 8oz!!) baby had some breathing trouble and was taken out of my arms and swept away to the NICU only moments after birth)

    I have been dealing with feelings of inadequacy and guilt ever since, feelings which were initiated by perhaps lack of self-confidence but were definitely perpetuated by the unnecessary amount of sanctimommy garbage put out there. Don’t get me wrong–if a natural birth is your choice and it happens for you, that is amazing.. but I do not appreciate the shaming of women who choose/have to do things differently. Are there risks involved? Of course there are… but there are risks involved no matter how you give birth. I’d venture to say that childbirth is one of the riskiest commonplace activities a woman can participate in (aside from driving a car).

    So… I guess my point is, get through it how you get through it, and don’t judge others so harshly!

    • Katherine Handcock

      Congratulations on your baby, and sorry to hear you had such a rough go. Please don’t feel guilty! What happened in those hours you were giving birth are such an inconsequential part of what you do as a parent.

    • nelly

      MY mom had a 2 day labor with me. She said the best way to torture someone would be to give them pitocin! I had similar feelings of “missing out” on the birthing process as well. I had planned on doing a drug free birth and went through all the birthing classes etc. My daughter had other plans.. Her big booty was stuck breech in my pelvic canal and she was going into distress. I had to have an emergency c-section. I felt like I really missed out on the birth process and everything I had planned but some things are out of our control. My daughter had a very low apgar score she swallowed muconium and was whisked away to NICU without me even getting to see or hold her. I didn’t get to see her until 9 hours later, of course I was recovering and no one told me how serious the situation was. Well she recovered and Is a happy, temperamental, snarky 16 year old now. 5 years after my daughter was born I elected to do a c-section with my son. The night before I was to get it I started having contractions and they sucked! I realized that going into labor wasn’t so great and I think I romanticized it in my head. I am SOOO glad I didn’t do VBAC because my uterus probably would have ruptured(according to the doctor) and he would have most likely died. Its no ones business what route your children come into the world as long as you are a great parent to them. No one should have the right to presume to know what other women are experiencing and then judge them on their experience. Don’t these Sanctimommies have real lives? that one post about “instant this instant that” and how bad it is is ludicrous considering the fact she is pontificating this idea on FACEBOOK!!! Isn’t Facebook all about instant gratification!!? talk about self righteousness at its fullest. I think it boils down to judging other mothers and women to feel superior and that isn’t very “earth mama” to me.

    • Lynsey

      Eek! It sounds like you had a somewhat scary birth story with your daughter! I’m sorry that you went through that!! I’m glad that things worked out well for you. It is tough having a little one in the NICU–It’s a very nerve racking place! I just *can’t wait* to have a snarky teen daughter… UGH!! ;)

  • brebay

    I don’t get the whole “I’m tough enough to go drug-free” concept. I knew I wanted an epidural from the first time I asked my mom what the word meant, probably around ten! The only woman in my childbirth class who didn’t get the epidural was also the only one who was obese before and long after her pregnancy. The rest of us were fit throughout and after. All I could think was “Damn, girl, if you can do this without drugs, you can jog around the dang block!” I applaud the inventor of the epidural, if you want to prove you’re bad-ass, run a freaking marathon or something. Childbirth is not like a marathon, you don’t have the option of stopping once it’s started, it’s more like torture…and then kicking your rescuer in the face…

    • Véronique Houde

      That was slightly uncalled for.

    • Jezebel76

      I don’t get the whole “I’m a grown adult making disdainful and cruel comments about obese people” concept.

  • Kat

    I think a lot of the comments are a little harsh. For my part, I’m inspired by Monika’s wisdom about making time for the process. The problem is, having read R’s t-shirt, i dont have time to grow the potatoes and build the still and wait around for fermentation so I can drink the shots I need to erase the memory of that self-satisfied, superior bitch!

    • carrie-nell

      DOUBLE SNAP!! SNAP SNAP

    • Ann

      I’ve got news for you: the baby is the effing point of the exercise. After that, in descending order, most people would prioritise remaining continent for feces and urine and not being in excruciating pain for days on end.
      And after the birth, no matter whether you went through all the pointless suffering or not, the REAL test of character and strength begins: it’s called PARENTHOOD.

  • Anna

    This all cracks me up. I had 2 waterbirths with my first and second children. Just gave birth (3 days ago!) to my 3rd child and opted for the epidural. The focus shouldn’t be on the birth others have…it should be on the birth YOU want to have. I’ve done both, I like aspects of both and hate aspects of both. But I made them my own births and frankly it’s a little weird to be concerned about how someone else removes a tiny human being from their uterus.

    • Katherine Handcock

      I love everything about this comment!

    • Williwaw

      That’s awesome. I wish Scotty could have beamed that little human out of my uterus.

    • Taylor Madison Street

      LOL! Reading this comment reminded me of the fact that their was actually an episode of Star Trek: Voyager where they used the transporter to transport a baby out of the mother’s body during childbirth. If I’m remembering correctly, they did it because the baby was in some kind of distress.

  • monkeymamma

    I’m so glad I’m not alone! I totally wanted to be this all natural momma and ended up having to have a C-section for medical reasons. I was very depressed after this but I realize now how if I hadn’t been through what I went through, I would be one those judgmental natural birth story mommas out hating on every other person who doesn’t give birth the same way they did. Whatever way your baby comes to you is a blessing and shouldn’t be judged.

  • Naomi Carleton

    Can we all just agree that labor, like pregnancy, is a different experience for each woman? Labor is fucking hard for most people (apologies to those who sail through it) and if you want to feel it, go for it! If you want to try to get some rest while your body does some work, rock on! No one knows exactly what every other woman is feeling and experiencing. Labor and birth is a unique experience for everyone.

  • Jezebel76

    Serge, dirty hipster husband of The Girl Who, has written such a nuanced, thoughtful piece on his wife’s impending home birth for, uh, Babble. But of course. http://www.babble.com/pregnancy/dont-be-afraid-its-just-a-home-birth/

    You should check it out if you want to read some ignorant, arrogant claptrap, then read GOMI’s take on it (front page, “Serge is Not Scared of His Baby Dying.” http://getoffmyinternets.net/

    (The GOMI entry and comments are far more useful and interesting, but if you need a home birth hate read, here you go.

  • Williwaw

    Lauren, my body sure as hell “processed those inputs” as PAIN when I was in labour.

    • Teleute

      Clearly, you were doing it wrong.

  • BettyMartin

    Well, crap. I have stuff to say, but not sure how to say it. Pain…I’ve given birth 4 times, never an epidural in sight….they weren’t invented yet. Also, no pitocin to speed things along. If it took 27 hours, it took 27 hours. You dealt with it, and you gave birth. The end. Now I have a disease that causes pain. Long, unremitting pain. I go to bed at night and can’t sleep because of the pain. I lay there, night after night, crying, waiting for the pain to stop but it never stops so I’m waiting and waiting for…nothing. When you give birth, you have pain. The pain serves a purpose. It also ends. It’s a normal, natural experience that women have been dealing with since the dawn of time. Big deal. Get over yourselves just because your body performed a natural, biological function.

  • samsi96

    Actually…the woman’s body doesn’t always do exactly what it’s supposed to. That’s why women (and babies) die in childbirth, especially in countries where medical care is low-quality and not available to many people who need it.

    Also re: Monika and Roxanne in #3…sometimes people have c-sections because it’s the only way they or their baby will survive. Or maybe there are risk factors involved and they don’t want to roll the dice by attempting a vaginal birth. Or maybe, for some of them, it is about control. And personally, I think people SHOULD have control over their bodies whenever possible. I wouldn’t judge anyone who prefers a c-section.

  • Williwaw

    I didn’t have a c-section for instant gratification. I had one because I wanted to ensure my baby would live.

  • Williwaw

    I might get a t-shirt that says “Women who wear shirts that say ‘Epidurals are for sissies’ are assholes”.

  • http://www.twitter.com/ohladyjayne allisonjayne

    It’s pretty funny (and by funny I mean sad) that people here are bitching about how judgmental these folks are by being super judgmental about woman who seek unmedicated and/or home births.

    • Ann

      That`s what tends to happen when you wear T-shirts that call other moms rude names over their birthing choices….

    • http://www.twitter.com/ohladyjayne allisonjayne

      I’m 100% sure that ALL people who opt for unmedicated and/or home births do not wear those kinds of shirts.

      People who wear those shirts (and post the kind of stuff being mocked by STFU) are assholes. What I find interesting is the people below who are ranting about judgey people but then turning around and being REALLY judgey about people who opt for unmedicated and/or home births.

      Obviously if someone’s being a dick, being a dick back to them makes sense. But some of the comments below are painting everyone who opts for unmedicated/home births as being ‘crazy’. Which is pretty judgey and unfair.

  • allison

    I support moms however they choose to give birth. I took as much medicine as possible without any regrets. I really do not understand why people care so much about it.

  • http://jorn.knuttila.com jorn

    Sanctimomious shirts. They are, apparently, a thing.

    Kill me.

  • http://jorn.knuttila.com jorn

    Hey “R” I have one for you: My son, between the ages of 7-8, endured 10+ spinal taps. That’s right. He did this while enduring treatment for cancer and his colon rupturing… twice.

    You know how many t-shirts, similar to yours, that he has mocking people? Zero. None. Nada. Zip. Wanna guess why? No, don’t bother, I’ll tell you: Because I did not raise him to be an asshole.

    The community at large here, I feel safe to guess, knows just where that shirt does and should fit.

    Thank you. Carry on.

  • scooby23

    Wow. Just wow. “Epidurals are for Sissies.” If I saw anyone wearing that shirt, it would take a good deal of restraint for me not to go start a screaming match with him/her! NO ONE who goes through the process of a small person growing and living in them and then coming out of their body is a sissy! Epidural, C-section, or natural birth, NO ONE!

  • gothicgaelicgirl

    I actually have a question for anyone who’s had a baby/epidural- I have stepkids and have not yet even reached the age where I want to discuss adding to our little family-
    I have heard that for people who regularly get tattoos, piercings and body mods, that labor and childbirth *CAN* be easier, as your body becomes accustomed to the rush of pain and adrenaline?

    I’m covered in full body tattoos and get new piercings every few months, and I LOVE IT.
    I AM a pain junkie, I love getting that rush rush, I love having that control over it. A friend of mine who has had two gorgeous babies jokes if I can sit through a 6 hour tattoo and piercing marathon and do a body suspension for an hour (hooks were inserted in my shoulders and back and I was hoisted up and let swinging around- great fun!), then I’d “laugh through labor”

    anyone have personal experience or is there any basis in this?

  • h

    I wish this bashing of birth experiences would stop.. ultimately the goal is healthy baby and healthy mom, yes? If we are talking about a non-emergency situation, then there are a number of ways to reach this goal: from scheduled c-section, to home birth delivered by your partner, and everything in between. Every woman makes her plan based on what she feels is best for her, and what she (and her doc/midwife/etc) thinks is best for that particular baby/pregnancy. If mom and baby are healthy in the end (again, talking about a non-emergency, no immediate threat of loss of mom or baby situation) then what is best for you is best for you. Provided all is well with baby, the birth experience is for mom (and partner if applicable), and nobody should be shamed for their choice in how to do it.

    Even if there is no emergency, a plan can go off track. Maybe you wanted a birth without drugs, but the pain is too much and you end up getting the epidural. Maybe you planned to ask for the epidural right away, but the baby is coming too fast and you have to go drug free. Those situations shouldn’t be cause for shame either.

    Any birth is cause for nothing but celebration, regardless of the method.

  • gammachris

    I personally think that any birth that results in a live, healthy baby and mom is THE perfect birth. I had three of my kids without epidurals. The first time, I intended to have an epidural, but it was too late :(. The next two, I figured that the first one didn’t kill me, so I didn’t bother. Let me tell you, though, there is NOTHING fabulous about labor pain. It hurts like a bitch. I didn’t feel like a warrior or some primal animal; I was feeling pretty damn crabby. The reward at the end was sweet, though; much better than the kidney stones I’ve also delivered.
    My third son was stillborn in my 8th month. They snowed me with morphine for that one, for which I’ll be eternally grateful.

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  • SarahJesness

    The women “squatting in rice fields” probably don’t really have an option other than “natural” birth. Kind of bad to use them as an example. I’m sure plenty of them would give birth in hospitals if given the chance. Shoot, there are still countries that have a high rate of women dying in labor, and pregnant women will run all over the place so they can give birth in a hospital.

    Putting yourself up on a pedestal for having a “natural birth” is crazy. Yes, having a kid is an accomplishment but it doesn’t make you special. Women having been doing “natural births” for most of human history. Lots of women around the world still do “natural” births because they don’t have an option anyway.

  • MellyG

    I don’t have kids but I do have uterus and cervix issues that make a pelvic exam excruciating (i used to think i was being odd, and just a baby, until a very nice FEMALE gyno found the problem and was like – uhm, how are you not screaming) so I can guarantee that childbirth will be painful. Add to that, my very best friend is a very well regarded anesthesiologist – who has said she will be my side with the needle if the time ever comes. Epidural for the win! I really hate these women that need to say that “their” way is the best – i don’t judge a woman for natural child birth! My mom had drugs with me – she says if they had made her go natural for the more bonding experience or whatever it is – she wouldn’t have held me for days because she would have been too angry, lol (she has the same issues i do, and NEITHER Of us are sissies – if we were alive back in the squatting in fields day, we would have likely died in child birth!)

  • val97

    When I had my first kid, epidurals were not always covered by insurance (including mine), so I decided not to have one. So many years later, and I think I still have PTSD – for me, natural childbirth was the worst experience ever.

  • val97

    When I had my first kid, epidurals were not always covered by insurance (including mine), so I decided not to have one. So many years later, and I think I still have PTSD – for me, natural childbirth was the worst experience ever.

  • Pixx

    The reason not everybody does natural birth anymore is because in centuries previous women used to die all the time from childbirth. A fact some of these rabid natural birth/home birth people seem to miss.

    • Teleute

      Oh, but what a way to die! We should ALL be lucky enough to go out as birth martyrs so we can be reborn as fertility goddesses and help inspire future vaginas to assert their independence from modern medicine and reclaim their spirituality.

      To hell with those “what matters is a healthy baby” fanatics! They’re clearly missing the purpose of birth, which is for a mother to be born/reborn.

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