Writing this post has been a long time coming, in fact it’s been almost six years in the making. All three of our children have been born via caesarean delivery, and all three for very different medical (and life saving) reasons. Regardless of the potential threat to their lives and mine, people still judge me for having a c-section (let alone three of them!). It’s seen as taking the ‘easy’ way out because I didn’t deliver ‘naturally’.
Now I started to get a bit crankier than normal about all this judgement late last year when I was filling out a form for our new school starter. On the form it was asked if there were any complications with my son’s birth and how he was delivered. I get why they asked if our child was born prematurely (which he was), but why do they need to know how he was born? Did they need to make sure there were an equal number of caesarean babies in each class? Did they need to let the teachers know that my kid was ‘one to watch’? Why did they need this information?
After being annoyed about this for a little while (okay, maybe a few weeks), my irritation was stirred up again at the start of the school year. The judgement has started all over again. The topic of conversation with other new school mums seems to ALWAYS drift to what type of pregnancy/delivery we had (which seems random, until you notice how often the subject comes up). I’ve had no issue saying it was via a c-section, to which they will have either one of two responses
- Smile and often excitedly say “So did I!” thrilled to meet another sunroof delivering mum
- Raise their eyebrows as they say “Ohhh” and either quickly change the subject or then ask, “What was wrong with you?” or “You’re lucky you didn’t have to go through labour” or “I couldn’t think of anything worse than having a caesar” or some other inappropriate question or comment.
If you think this is the reaction I get just from people I don’t know, think again. After the birth of our third child I even had a family member comment that she was the only one in the family who had delivered her children naturally… It took all of my willpower not to give her a big piece of my mind or ask her if she was waiting for an award for this grand achievement.
Why should I have to explain the medical reasons behind having major surgery three times now? It’s really like I have to justify to others, often total strangers or people I’ve just met, why our children entered this world through a caesarean delivery when really it’s no-one’s business!
If I don’t immediately begin to explain (or justify) why I’ve had three c-section births, there seems to be this awkward moment where everyone waits for me to explain why. Sometimes I elaborate and tell people that had I been allowed to go through labour and a vaginal delivery, our eldest child would have bled out and most likely not survived his birth (the condition I had has a 95% mortality rate if undiagnosed). I go through all that and in return I get a nod and shrug, like it was nothing really and just some ‘excuse’ to not deliver ‘naturally’.
The fact is that no matter how much we talk about not judging others for their birth and parenting ‘choices’, the simple fact is that we do. I am proud that I was able to bring my three healthy and beautiful babies into the world, regardless of whether they arrived vaginally or via caesarean section. I just wish that people would stop judging me for it.