Stop with the “better than you; I didn’t use drugs during labor” already

In general, I try to tell funny stories about my kid on this blog.  I’ve weighed in with vehemence on various topics, and I’ve been punished for doing so on occasion(eventually even taking down a post I still agree with).

But as I was surfing the blogosphere, one entry today just got under my skin to the point where I couldn’t NOT talk about.

I’m talking about today’s “Motherlode” column, where today, Lisa reposted the experience of a dad as he watched his wife give birth.

Sounds fairly benign.  I mean, Ravi was there when I shoved all 6lbs and 10.6oz of Elanor out of my vagina (which has never been the same since, but we’ll save that topic for another post).

He starts out talking about the birth of his first son.

I saw a bend of will and determination I had never encountered (there was also blood). My wife passed on an epidural and spent several hours battling contractions on a birthing ball.

“That’s cool”, I said to myself, “good for her if it was the right choice for her.”

Then we get to the description of her recent birth to their second child.

The delivery-room nurses were surprised when we told them Nicole didn’t want an epidural. She is only about 110 pounds without child but exhibits a genuine fierceness of character and body that continually surprises me. There were six other births happening that morning, and we found out that Nicole was the only one going without drugs.

I hate to ruin a good narrative, but really?  The nurses said that she was the only one without an epidural?  Did Dad go check their charts?  Do you think they might have said that to her to make her feel more powerful, even though it was a lie (spoiler alert….I have a friend who did an obstetrics rotation on the road to becoming a pediatrician…THEY SAY THAT…sometimes they’re LYING).  I mean, it’s not like actually telling them that could be construed as a HIPPA violation or anything.

Secondly, I realize Dad here is trying to demonstrate how tough he thinks his little woman is, but the utter condescension and better/worse dichotomy he sets up makes me nauseous.  I get pretty pissy when it’s another woman who’s playing birth hierarchy, so you can imagine my opinion of someone who doesn’t have the equipment to pass a watermelon through a straw playing this game might be.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with the Birth Hierarchy around here, allow me to enlighten you….

At home birth with NO MIDWIFE!!! And I cleaned the house after!!!!

At home birth with midwife!!!  I ordered pizza after.

At home waterbirth with help.  (At least I’ve bathed recently)

Midwife center birth (no water)  It wasn’t a hospital..nyah nyah

Midwife center (in water) Wasn’t it STERILE where you gave birth?  No sense of harmony.

Hospital birth NO DRUGS  (I PWN your asses…I am TOUGHER THAN YOU)

Hospital birth DRUGS  (Weak weak woman giving into the patriarchy)

EMERGENCY C  (It’s so sad that you failed and needed one)


Please note, those aren’t MY opinions…they’re the opinions of far too many women I’ve run into in real life and online.

It’s not that I want the author to get run over by a truck…it’s that I’m irritated that an editor didn’t read over his piece and give him some guidance to help praise his wife’s strength without creating the hierarchy and thereby denigrating those of us who are mortal and did gleefully, willfully, demand our drugs.  I would also take issue with his editor not coming up with something other than the trite “I was equally astonished at how powerful her vagina is.”  It may be true, but it’s still a tired and trite thing to say.

Mostly I’m just irritated that this hierarchy is alive and well, and apparently not just limited to my biological sex.

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3 Responses to Stop with the “better than you; I didn’t use drugs during labor” already

  1. Saffy says:

    Yes, I think your heirarchy sums up what the general feeling is in this neck of the woods too. By definition, ‘m a complete failure – compulsory c-section and GA – gees, I must be totally at the bottom of the pile – trampled over by the 110lb perfect-pain-relief-free-pushing women huh? Does it REALLY matter as long as your baby eventually vacates your body? That kind of drivel used to screw me up inside until I learned to ignore it. I’m with you on this one.

  2. Rachel M says:

    Funny but true! I had a hospital birth with no drugs but I wasn’t given a choice, she came to fast. I don’t boast about it to anyone, I don’t want to get slapped by most women I meet who have long labors. Besides, next time around I might not be so lucky!

  3. Taking a Chance on Baby says:

    I can’t wait for the attacks to start if I decide that the elective C is the right course for #2 when it’s time, regardless of my rationale.

    Rachel–meant to say so on FB, but you look FANTASTIC

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