I Can't Make You Feel Ashamed of Your Birth (Unless You Really Are Ashamed of It)
"Shame on you!" is something my sweet mother used to say to me every now and again. Usually when I really fouled up. It usually involved a shaking finger in the vicinity of my face and a raised voice. Those were the good old days...
Ironically, now that I am a mid-thirties lady, it is actually pretty hard for somebody to make me feel ashamed of myself unless I am actually...ashamed of myself. (This is the big blessing of your 30's that nobody mentions. Man, I freaking love being 35.)
Shaming is a hot topic in the birth world though, isn't it? If you are dumb enough to have an opinion and share it then you are undoubtedly going to be accused of shaming somebody who did otherwise. If you state that formula is a poor substitute for breast-milk or mention that the cesarean section is a perverse form of birth control (OK, I admit the language was a bit harsh, but you have to understand how the internet works before you judge me on that one), or (gasp) talk about how much you loved your natural birth, then stand back. Because what happens next is you will be accused of shaming people.
Never-mind that the people who you have forced into feeling guilty because you had an opinion are full fledged adults who you have never actually met---never mind that! You got in their head, you twisted their emotions, you are now in charge of their brain. This is called brain control. Sadly, the only person who has it, is you.
Sure, it would be really nice and convenient if every time we felt bad it was actually somebody else's fault. Then nothing would be our fault. And if we did screw up, the bad feelings that went along with it would not be our responsibility.
But I don't buy and and I don't think you should either. (Yeah, I just shamed you. Did you notice my finger wagging in your face?)
Here is the thing- life gets real miserable, real fast, with this mentality. I have seen it happen. Trust me.
I have watched women go from happy with their epidural birth to ashamed of it when they met somebody who had a different birth. Then they love their awesome home birth. Until somebody told them how unsafe home birth can be and how they know somebody whose baby died in a home birth. Oh no, now mom feels bad again!
True story- I had an episiotomy with my first birth. It, of course, was not what I wanted or planned. But it happened. It might have been prevented, but all in all, I think it was probably necessary given the situation and wasn't the end of the world. I still had a great birth. I still can teach about episiotomy being unnecessary "most" of the time. It doesn't make me cry to talk about it. It doesn't make me ashamed that I had one. It doesn't make me jealous when other women didn't have or didn't need one. It is what it is and even though it was part of my birth, I have no problem telling women that they probably don't need them and they are often (almost ALWAYS) unnecessary.
I had two home births, one (accidentally) unassisted. I have read some really angry blogs from some really smart people who think home birth and/or unassisted birth is horribly dangerous. It CAN be dangerous. But the opinions of those people don't make me feel any different about my birth. I loved my home births. They were incredible.
You know why?
Because it is MY BIRTH and I can feel any way I want about it. As an added bonus, I am strong enough to handle it.
And ladies, so are you.
So stop accusing people of fit or fat or formula or birth or cesarean or natural birth SHAMING. Own it. We are women and we should start acting like we are. And women are tough. I pushed roughly 35 pounds (total) of baby through my vagina in my lifetime. I have caught vomit in my bare hands, fished toys out of public toilets, lived in Texas and even puked in a bag on a full flight. I can handle your opinions about my birth.
Chances are, I don't even know you. And if I did, you would think I was hilarious.