Scars remind us where we've been. They don't have to dictate where we're going

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Ask me about E's birth when you have a few hours....

After E's birth, I really dreaded going out and about with him while he was brand new.  I knew exactly what would happen.  Cooing over the baby, asking how he sleeps, and the big was he when he was born.  I hate, hate, hate this question.  And I don't hate it because of the question itself, but what inevitably comes after.  This is what a conversation looks like:

Them: "Oh, he's so tiny and sweet."
Me: "Yes, he's an angel." pleasedontaskabouthisweightpleasedontaskabouthisweightpleasedontaskabouthisweightpleasedontaskabouthisweight
Them: "How much did he weigh?"
Me: &!^@!^%@%!**@&!(#&(!#@&#&!(@*#&((&!#(&#!!!$@^@% "Ten and a half pounds."
Them: "My gosh! Was he a cesarean?!?!" (or some variation on this)
Me: @&^!%@%&!^@!(&@*&@^*!@&*!&@*^! "Yes."

Don't get me wrong.  I love, love, love E's birth story.  If I could afford to, I would print out a million copies of it and hand them out to strangers who pass me on the street.  But I absolutely hate when (most) people ask me about the method of delivery.  And this is why.  I am going to quote a woman named Kristina, whose comment I read on this blog post.

"It's not just an outcome, it's a whole process and experience.  When people ask you questions that reduce it to just the outcome it is rude, inaccurate, insensitive and not their place."

E's birth isn't really about the 5 or 10 minutes it took the doctor to perform the cesarean and deliver him.  E's story is about at least a year of preparation that began before conceiving him.  It is about the hours upon hours I sat with my midwives preparing mentally, physically and emotionally for his birth.  It is the almost 2 days I labored with him.  And yes, it is also the cesarean delivery.  And the triumph I felt afterwards.

But no one is really asking about that when they ask if he was a cesarean. What they are saying is "My goodness! Of course there is no way a woman can deliver a baby of that size vaginally."  And sometimes I really, really want to follow up with the story of my friend Lauren who HBACd her 10lb2oz son or the countless other women who have done it with much bigger babies, but I know they don't really care.  And that bothers me because it reduces E's birth to an outcome and ignores the experience.

So next time someone asks me about E's birth, I will ask them if they're sure they have a couple hours to spare.  Not really, I'll do the same thing I did above and then come vent about it on my blog.  But I would like to do the first thing.


  1. Have I told you how much I love you blogging?!

  2. Have I told you how much I love you reading?!? ;)

  3. My heart is smiling :) Thanks for the blog-nod ;) And I totally agree! I wish they would ask an open ended question: "wow, how was the delivery?" that would give us an option to share more of the whole experience!! I would just probably not respond with "yes" to that question. If they ask, them I will give them at minimum, "well, you know what, I labored with him at home with my midwives for almost 48 hours, when we became concerned and transfered to the hospital just to be safe and..." ;) My father says I usually give people more info than they want (just like my mother) and I remind him I'm a narcissist and don't care what they want. I give them what I WANT them to know ;) heh!

  4. Once again, Lauren, you respond with a comment that reaffirms my love for you :)