I recently sat around with a group of women and the talk inevitably turned to birth stories. As usually happens, the group talked about the size of their children at birth, the humorous side stories, and our husbands. When it was my turn, I told how my first child was 9 lbs 2 oz, and I delivered naturally. One woman laughed with derision and said, "you know they don't give out medals for having a natural delivery. That is why they make drugs."
I didn't respond, but what I wanted to yell was, "I'm not asking for a medal!" But I do want the right to express my full birth story without judgment from the other women present. This isn't the first time I have heard this sentiment, and I admit I don't fully understand it. Why the hate, ladies?
I chose to have a natural delivery; I chose to deliver in a birth center, with a midwife. I made informed choices based on my wants and beliefs. What I didn't do was make any statement whatsoever about anyone else's choices. Truly there is no competition or judgement here. Every woman has a different experience: a hospital delivery, home birth, midwife delivery, epidurals, emergency C-section, inducement, natural labor, slow labor, fast labor. Your story is your story, not a commentary on the way birth should be.
My story is mine. And I have a right to be proud. As any woman who has ever delivered a child from her body knows, it is a life-changing experience. Not just because you made a person, but because you chose to put your body through something difficult and stressful and came out stronger at the end of it all. Because deep down, we all wonder if we can do it.
Part of my story includes that I labored and delivered without drugs. And that my children were large! My choice; my story; my equal voice in the community of women telling birth stories.
That is all the medal I want.