9 Things You Don't Get To Ask Me About My Labor & Delivery
If you get a group of moms together, the conversation will likely lead to childbirth. People just love to hear birth stories, including, it seems, all of the gory, less-than-pleasant details. My only problem with this trend is that a lot of those details are really personal, or at least they are to me. So, yes, there are some things you just don't get to ask about my labor and delivery, because, frankly, it's none of your damn business.
I have been asked numerous questions about my labor and delivery experiences that make me wonder if people think all moms no longer have a right to privacy. I recently went to a birthday party and, within the first five minutes, another mom literally asked me if I had delivered my kids vaginally. I thought to myself, "If I am going to tell you about my vagina, can you at least buy me a drink, first?" Then, she asked if I was still breastfeeding, and quickly learned exactly how I feel about that question. Contrary to popular belief, I don't really want to discuss the state of my vagina, how I use my breasts, or if I got stitches on my labia or perineum. Especially with a stranger.
Other questions piss me off, too, because they seem to imply that there's one "right way to give birth," or that people who have short labors or who tough it out without any pain meds should get an award or something. They make me feel like people are shaming my choices to my face, or that they feel sorry for me because I didn't experience what they believe to be a "perfect birth." I actually thought my induction and epidural were pretty empowering and perfect to me, and I happen to be the only person who's opinion matters on the subject, really.
Let me give you a piece of unsolicited advice: unless I bring it up, can you please stop asking me about my labor and delivery experiences? I don't want to talk about it, and I really don't want to answer the following questions:
"Did You Have A Natural Birth?"
I hate this question. It makes me want to respond, "No, I had a Supernatural birth, attended by Sam and Dean Winchester." Seriously, though, I kind of wish that question would die in a fire. What you really mean when you ask this is if I had a good birth, which in your misguided opinion means "a birth without pain medication." In my book, a good birth is one that ends with a healthy baby and healthy mom. Period.
"Did You Follow Your Birth Plan?"
Nope. With my first baby, I discovered the hard lesson that birth plans are more like "nice ideas" and, in my case, they have a tendency to quickly go right out the window.
"Did You Cave & Get An Epidural?"
Before I had my daughter I thought getting an epidural meant that I was weak or had failed. However, after 18 hours of back labor, getting an epidural didn't feel like a failure at all. It was just what I needed and made the rest of my hard labor feel like a day at the spa. I highly recommend an epidural and 10/10 would do it again.
"Did You Poop On The Table?"
Ummm, gross. That's kind of personal, don't you think? If you ask me this, make sure you actually want to hear about my bowel movements, though, because if not, you might just regret it.
"Did You Tear?"
Are you seriously asking me a question about the state of my vagina, labia, and perineum? Seriously? Just no.
"How Long Did You Push?"
Why do you care? How long a laboring person has to push depends on a ton of different factors. many of which are completely out of their control. Can they feel contractions? Is the baby positioned well? Are there complications? Or in my case, is your baby both sunny side up and resting his hand against his face? It's not a contest. I have no idea why people ask this or think that they win a prize or something for delivering with one push or after hours of pushing.
That said, I do enjoy telling people how my second child was born with one push and before the midwife could even get there. I caught him myself, which was totally badass.
"Did Your Partner Catch The Baby Or Cut The Cord?"
My husband was awesome during labor and delivery, even if he didn't want to catch the baby or cut the cord. He left those things for the professionals and, instead, held my hand and told me I was doing great. There's more than one way to be a great birth partner.
"Did You Have Any Interventions?"
In my experience, the people who ask about medical procedures during labor and delivery say the word "interventions" like they are a bad thing. When, actually, the different things a doctor or midwife might have to do to help your baby come into the world safely can be lifesaving and necessary. So, don't ask me about if I had my water broken, an induction, an episiotomy, or an assisted delivery, because I trust my provider and my medical care is none of your business.
"Did You Breastfeed Right After Delivery?"
People who ask this particular question probably don't stop to consider the undeniable fact that not everyone wants or is able to breastfeed, and for moms who don't this question can really hurt. Even if a mom is breastfeeding and wanted to do so right after birth, sometimes babies need medical care and miss the golden hour with mom.
After my second child was born prematurely he had to be on oxygen for a few hours after delivery. Those first hours were terrifying and lonely, and I felt so empty and helpless. I definitely don't want to re-live them in order to satisfy someone else's curiosity about my baby and my breasts.