Perhaps the toughest criticism I faced was from having a c-section.
I gave birth for the first time three weeks after my 24th birthday. I was so relieved to have a healthy, beautiful boy that I didn't mind he was born via c-section.
But everyone else seemed to.
I had never heard such awful opinions about a subject in my entire life before my first son's birth.
And I honestly do not understand why.
Moms who did not have c-sections acted like I had him beheaded or something. At the time, it was very hurtful. I remember feeling so much shame....like I wasn't a real woman because I didn't push my baby out of my jay-jay.
All the while, I was just thankful my baby was alive.
My placenta had stopped giving him nutrients, so had I not delivered him via c-section, it may have cost him his life.
The mean opinions people had made it seem like it would have been more noble to take that chance.
It was all so very weird to me. The term "mommy wars" hadn't been coined at that time, but that's obviously what it was. (I would like to delve into that on a different day.)
I got pregnant for the second time while I was still 24.
Almost immediately, people started asking me about my plans for a VBAC (vaginal birth after a cesarean).
I had absolutely zero plans for a VBAC (but have no problem for those who want to try). Besides the placenta issue, my body just would not dilate. So I figured that issue probably hadn't resolved itself.
During my pregnancy, there was a mom at one of my mom's groups that took me aside and said, "Don't you dare let those doctors cut that baby out of you." (This, unfortunately, wasn't the worst of the comments.)
I remember praying and asking God to confirm to me that He wasn't disappointed in me for not having babies "the real way". (That seems silly now, but I seriously felt so much shame from people's awful remarks.)
I delivered my precious baby girl in September 2007.
When the doctor made rounds to check on me hours after giving birth, she said, "Your baby girl's umbilical cord was wrapped around her neck three times, but since you had a c-section, it wasn't a big deal."
Thank you, God, for the confirmation I needed.
That was the moment that I knew I would never again apologize for having a c-section.
I realized I would have probably been one of those moms who died during childbirth before modern medicine.
Sometimes God just likes to be funny....and extra confirm insecurities we face. Both of my little boys got STUCK during their c-sections, which is so rare that my OBGYN nurse friend didn't even believe happened (until she asked my doctor). They were both fine, but can you imagine if they got stuck in a c-section how it would have fared the other way? Ouch!
My birth stories are just a really long explanation to say I don't understand why women shame each other's birth choices. (I imagine all birth choices come with a barrage of commentary.)
It has been so long since I've cared what other people thought about my birth choice (or, really, lack thereof)....but it was very difficult at the time.
If you're a new mom and feeling the same condemnation, please don't!! The beauty of life is that you get to make the best decisions for your family. You may hear all sorts of harsh remarks, but they're simply not true. You are the authority on your family.
Years have past since I have dealt with any sort of condemnation from my c-sections, but I feel like I eventually got the last laugh. When my kids ask me how babies are born, I can honestly reply, "You were cut out of my tummy."
And I get to put off talking about the birds and the bees another day. VICTORY!