Tuesday, February 11, 2014

A Woman's Birth Deserves Respect

I've hinted at a few things people have told me about my freebirth, but one that is permanently fixed in my mind is someone giving my baby a nickname having to do with the color of the water when she was born.

Someone decided to give her the nickname "Jello baby" because the water was red when my husband sent out the announcement picture.  She had been born less than 10 minutes before, so we were still in the pool, and yes, I bled in the water (which happens in a waterbirth) so the water was red.

Now, if this nickname was because she's a chubby baby, I wouldn't care.  I never thought I would have a chubby baby and I'm loving it, so the nickname for that would be endearing to me.  But simply because you are making fun of how she was born because it's not a common choice?  That is not okay on any level.

Let's say I had a hospital birth or another cesarean, whether scheduled or not.  If our announcement of her birth had been sent out with me in the hospital holding her, or of her in the OR, or anything like that, no one would dare make a nickname based on that.  There would be no jokes about how the room looked, how she looked, what I was wearing or where I had her.  Everyone would be so supportive of our choice to have her in a setting they understand.

The thing is, it doesn't bug me as much as it did when I heard the nickname the first time.  What bugs me is that women that give birth in a situation others don't understand have to face scrutiny for it.  Sneers and jokes and comments about bravery and risks.  It doesn't stop.

Just like how we need to take control of our own births, we need to respect the births of others and not poke fun at them if they are different than the "normal" birth we imagine.

There is a huge difference between spreading information on birth choices and picking the births apart for a joke.  There is a huge difference between sharing links and resources with someone looking for change or hoping to help someone feel empowered in their own choices and hoping they don't see the underlying mean spirit.

I am not ashamed of my birth choices.  What makes me feel ashamed is how others treat those choices.  When other homebirthing mothers call me brave and roll their eyes, I wonder what I am lacking in their eyes.  When women hear about my birth and then instantly change the subject it makes me wonder what was so wrong with my choice that I can't talk about it like I could if I had chosen to have my baby in the hospital.

I hate that I feel I have to justify my choice to others.

No woman should have to justify her choice for her birth.  You may not agree, I know I don't agree with many choices others make, but that doesn't give anyone the right to make them feel less because of it.

If we want to change the way that women birth, we have to believe their birth was special.  It doesn't matter how they birth, it was special.  A mother is created, and a baby is born.  How is that not one of the most special things that anyone can do in their life?  Creating life should be treated as the sacred act that it is, regardless of how that came about.

We all deserve to take power from our births, and that starts with changing the way we treat the births of others.

2 comments:

Francesca said... [Reply to comment]

I agree, noting that the same goes for how natural birth mamas treat other women too. It goes both ways. I told my ICAN group that they are my only safe place. My traditional friends and family don't understand why a VBAC was so important to me, and my natural-birth friends (except my doula, of course) don't understand why I birthed in a hospital and had an epidural and some other interventions. I feel like I get judgment from both sides.

I love how you put your conclusion:

"No woman should have to justify her choice for her birth. You may not agree, I know I don't agree with many choices others make, but that doesn't give anyone the right to make them feel less because of it.

"If we want to change the way that women birth, we have to believe their birth was special. It doesn't matter how they birth, it was special. A mother is created, and a baby is born. How is that not one of the most special things that anyone can do in their life? Creating life should be treated as the sacred act that it is, regardless of how that came about."

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