Birth, Judgement, Life Changes, Miracle of Life, Motherhood, NYC, Pregnancy

Judge Ye Not. . . A Birth Story

It is unique to human beings. No other animal is so harsh to one another. So callous and cruel. Humans are constantly trying to one up one another, pointing out how they are better or superior in some way or another. This is shown through clothing worn or money earned. Where one lives, what one drives and even how one eats.

Since becoming pregnant (and now becoming a mother) I had become even more conscious of the human species viscousness through their judging of one another. And while I had made an effort before to not be so quick to judge another person, I was adamant to be better after judgement I have heard and received over the last nine months.

Pregnancy judgment begins the day you choose to announce to the world (or even close family and friends) that you are expecting. The happiest moment in your life (well, at least until that Little Roo is born), immediately becomes a harbor for constant worry and constant scrutiny from others.

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The moment I started telling people that we were expecting I was bombarded with questions. While ‘congratulations’ was the first thing to come out of people’s mouths, it was quickly followed by; “do you have a birth plan?” or “are you planning on having a natural birth?” and even just the advice of, “you know you should breast feed for at least the first year”. People, my baby is the size of a pea and is indistinguishable between that of a tadpole – CALM DOWN PLEASE!

Fast forward to week 25 or so and I was that lady the people were afraid to ask if I was pregnant. Really, I just looked like I had gained a few pounds. I really had the prefect example of a spare tire. When people did choose to ask and I told them how far along I was I immediately got looks of concern. “Are you sure what you are doing here {at the gym} is ok for you?”, “Are you sure that’s how far along you are?” (no, actually, it’s not a perfect science, you get an ESTIMATED due date, not an actual – doctors are good, but not that good). I even had people have the audacity to tell me they didn’t think my pregnancy, or at least the baby, was healthy with how small I was. Here is what they didn’t know:

At week 13 I went in for routine test looking for downs syndrome and chromosomal abnormalities. While almost everything came back looking great, one blood test made my doctor a little concerned. I even had to have the discussion with her about what our decision would be if the additional blood tests showed the same result (scariest discussion I have had to date). Everything, thankfully, came back fine – but there was a, shall we call it, a side-effect to this red flag. Come week 28 I would be going in frequently for additional ultra sounds and non-stress tests. I was a ‘high-risk’ pregnancy. I found myself immediately being judgmental and had to catch myself. ‘I can’t be high risk, I’m too young. That’s only for those people who choose to have babies later in life’ – massive error. I don’t know what leads people to have a baby later. Maybe they have been trying for 10 years to get pregnant. Maybe they had such a wonderful job that they couldn’t imagine leaving it just yet. Whatever the reason, they were choosing to bring life into this world and that’s all that matters.

Every time I was asked if the baby or just everything was ok I would just smile and say, ‘yes, everything is great’. And it was. I was lucky. Every test I had taken looked great – my baby was smaller than average, but not dangerously so. We just really were going to have a little Little Roo. But did that reassurance help me when constantly getting asked about our health by others – no. Every time it made me a little nervous.

Now let’s go to the birth. I had a c-section. We chose to tell very few people this. People push the whole natural birth thing so much these days that having a c-section is practically frowned upon by many. Did I want to have a natural birth? I most definitely did. Some crazy part of me wanted to feel that euphoric pain that comes with a natural birth. But do you want to know what I wanted above anything else? A healthy baby. Before my baby’s birth I had more random people give me advice on what the baby’s gender was and how I needed to birth her. I had one man (yes, a man) tell me that I HAD to have a water birth. It was the best for a baby. Hospitals were not a good place and if I wanted to, he could give me the info for the place his wife birthed their child. I had a woman in a nail salon tell me it needed to be ‘au-natural’ as well and that a Doula was necessary; “especially since you are from Utah, you definitely need a Doula” (um, what? What does Utah have to do with anything!?). The c-section was not my first choice, or even one I wanted to even choose from – it was, however, the safest choice. My baby was breach, and even though we attempted a version, our Little Roo wasn’t budging. It was much more content kicking my bladder constantly.

Now some of you reading this may think, “well yeah, it’s safer, but you can still at least try a breach natural birth”. True, this is something you can choose to attempt. To me, the thought of going through the stress of actual labor to have the chance that something goes wrong that they do an emergency c-section anyway wasn’t worth the risk. I would enjoy my birth experience no matter how it happened. My husband and I were having a baby! That’s the ONLY thing that mattered.

It’s funny, now, to hear people’s reactions when I say I had a c-section. I even catch myself defending my reasoning. Why should I have to give an excuse for why I had a c-section? There are people who elect to have them all the time. I think I do so because, in the back of my mind, I am still worried about the judgement people will place on me for that decision. That I wasn’t strong enough to go through labor, that I wasn’t willing to do more, to try more to make a natural birth happen. But I shouldn’t have to defend my choice. I grew a human being for heaven’s sake! I created life. I altered my body so that it could harbor this miraculous being, and regardless of how it was brought into this world, it is still a little miracle. My little miracle.

So next time you are walking down the street and you see something different than what you personally believe in, stop you brain from even starting to judge. But if you can’t quite quit judging cold turkey, at least start with not judging the lady with the belly. Tell her congratulations. She is creating something miraculous and her body will change in whatever ways it sees fit. You, at one point, were that little miracle too – you still are, that’s what makes you, you.

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