SLOGAN #1: “Don’t Hate Me Because I had a Beautiful Birth”

For the foreseeable future, my individual posts on the Where’s My Midwife? blog will be a series of slogans, some of which are, and some of which are not original. A few of these would probably not be appropriate for a t-shirt or for a button, but they’re meaningful to me… some even made me chuckle or cry a little bit.

Don’t Hate Me Because I Had a Beautiful Birth 

To every woman who ever felt judged or insulted by anything that I said because I love birth, midwives, breastfeeding, access to care, evidence-based  science, sexuality, and other issues concerning women and empowerment: I am who I am and I love that I gave birth to my babies vaginally, under the care of midwives, and without medication. I love that I breastfed them until they outgrew the need. It made me feel beautiful, powerful, and amazing. I really felt like I had super powers.  I know that I had it in me all the time, but many important women (including my midwives), but especially my mother (who knew?!) helped me to access the power to birth my babies and to feed them myself with my own milk.

I don’t mean any of this as a judgment about you or about the type of birth you had, nor about the reproductive choices that you made before you decided to give birth (or if you decided not to have children), nor about the choices that you made after birth for yourself and/or your baby. I don’t judge you if you were unable to breastfeed. Really, and I doth not protest too much. I want us to nurture each other as women. Let me be absolutely clear though, I want you to have access to as much education and information as possible so that you can make informed decisions about your body and about your baby (ies). I want us to avoid as much as possible the self-recrimination and self hate that often causes us to lash out at those who have made other choices and decisions than those we’ve made.

I would like us to be able to talk about the things that are important to us in an authentic way, with whatever passion, or lack thereof, that we may feel about these topics. The topics I listed in the first paragraph are all important to me and I want to speak and write about them. If this is difficult for you to read about, don’t read my entries, or tell me, this is hard for me to read. I will still love you. I will talk to you. I will listen very attentively to what you have to say.

I revel in my experience, and in how I felt about it afterwards. I felt (feel) powerful, beautiful, and amazing. That’s about me, not you.

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12 thoughts on “SLOGAN #1: “Don’t Hate Me Because I had a Beautiful Birth”

  1. i’m tellin ya…this was easy for me to read! :) just watched a friend crumble to the pressure of induction, and as i knew intervention would lead to intervention, it did. like a science. and then, you guessed it, Cesarean. so sad that her ob robbed her of certain joys. there are times when medical intervention is necessary, no doubt. but every day women are robbed of their choices and it is sad. robbed of the empowerment they deserve. thanks for sharing your personal experience. i am so so so grateful that as a doula i knew my choices, and that i, empowered by my birthing team, got to stay home and feel respected, honored, cherished, and my baby was respected (even his timing- ha!), honored and cherished. thanks for all you ladies did today! wonderful event!

  2. I love that you kept saying that no one was being judged if they didnt make the same choices as you, you just love your own story. WHen I first started advocating for natural birth and breast feeding, I’m afraid I came across as judemental against those who did not make that choice. I finally had to step back and remind myself that I support ALL women who give birth or (help those who do) in any way, yet still staying proud of my own choices. I think people who don’t/can’t/won’t choose natural birth often feel judged by those who did. I am still looking for ways to prevent that:) Thank you for your beatiful story.

  3. I know exactly what you mean. I did the same and the memories I have of birth looking backnon it all are beautiful. Nothing can compare to all natural. We really DO have superpowers!!! ;)

  4. Thank you for your post. It is nice to hear my thoughts echoed by other women. I too had incredibly empowering natural births with midwives. One baby at a hospital and one at home. I felt strong, I felt powerful! I still feel that way, even 5 years now since my first birth. It has shaped the woman I have become and I think it will shape the women that my girls become. I loved giving birth and the feelings that came with it. I loved (and still love) nourishing my babies with my milk.
    I think when you have this experience, you want other women to have it too. To give them this power. Every time I hear about another failed induction or scheduled c-section, I grieve a little more. I know every woman isn’t going to be able to experience what I did, but most should be able to! And the sad truth is, most don’t even have a chance. They are bullied, pressured, and scared into distrusting their bodies and their instincts.
    So thank you for posting this. I feel the only thing we can do is lead the way, keep talking about it, keep pushing for it. Thanks for leading the way!

  5. Oh, this one is SO going on a tee-shirt! I can relate to your feelings of pride and power. I gave birth to my 4.5 month-old in my home, with midwives, without any medication or anything else, four years after an induction and c-section I allowed myself to be talked into. I’m feeling quite proud of myself these days!

  6. I had a c-section, but without telling the whole story and taking up lots of space, I feel ok about it because my midwife and my doctor allowed me to be in control of the decision making. And I had the c-section to avoid interventions and drugs because birth drugs scare the heck out of me and I think other women should feel the same way.

    Also, women who don’t breastfeed irritate me. I try not to share my feelings with non-breastfeeding women, though. The worst part is that many who don’t breastfeed are made to feel they can’t or shouldn’t by misinformed medical staff.

  7. Beautifully said Sylvia! As women we should all be on the same team cheering and advocating for each other. Our bodies are amazing works of art and incredible machines and the more we all learn to trust in all that they are capable of the fewer interventions and the more breastfed babies we’ll see. Thank you for sharing!

  8. **Thunderous Standing Ovation Applause**

    Thank You Sylvia. You say so beautifully what my heart wants to articulate, but sometimes can’t. This gives me the courage to once again share my beautiful birth story with pride and to nurse my 19 month old openly. I vacillate between sharing so zealously that I scare people, or shrinking back and saying nothing. You are an example that there can be a balance between having pride in your own story while having love and compassion for those who might feel threatened.

  9. Sylvia, you said it! If we support each other, educate each other and stand together strong, supporting all women and making sure everyone has choices and knows what they are–there ain’t no stopping us!
    Thanks for sharing this. I love all of the comments, too. Thanks, Sylvia for opening up the conversation.

  10. Thanks everyone for all the thoughtful comments! I just wanted to share with you how my 18 year old friend, Miguel Escobar was inspired to create a song about this post. You have to listen all the way to the end. He’s the son of a very close friend of mine, a long time La Leche League Leader and Lactation Consultant, so he’s been around pregnancy, birth, and breastfeeding his whole life. Miguel, you ROCK!

    http://www.facebook.com/l/2dc60;www.mediafire.com/file/emgw23d5y0n/Where's
    my Midwife_.mp3

  11. Such a powerful story!
    I love to say that I’m a “Burger King midwife”: “Have it your way”! But in reality, that is how I feel. It isn’t about ME. It is about the family who is getting ready to expand. Birth means so many different things to different people; who am I to judge?
    As long as I feel you have the knowledge, I care less if you have an epidural or IV sedation or desire a natural birth. I want women to feel that they have a say in the process. The outcome, of course, is important, but the process transforms ALL OF US!!!

  12. Pingback: Put Your Big Girl Panties On | Where's My Midwife?

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