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Parenting

Its time to stop shaming others for their birthing choices…  

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If you’re expecting a baby it’s highly likely you have thought about the many ways in which your birthing experience may pan out. Often in the lead up to the big day, expectant mothers lie awake at night (usually between wee stops), wondering and reading about the many scenarios of child-birth. Will I be able to give birth naturally? Will I need pain relief (*cough* YES!), What if I need to have a C-Section? Will my waters break? Will I be induced? How long will I labor for? Do I even need a birth plan? Help me!?!

I never had any expectations (apart from the fact I would be in pain of course …clearly I’m not good with pain) of the way I would birth my children. I always thought ‘whatever will be, will be’ in the delivery room, because at the end of the day labor and childbirth doesn’t allow you, as a mother, to make choices of how it is exactly going to pan out. A good lesson to learn quickly for the rollercoaster of motherhood that follows – not everything will happen the way you want it to – and that’s perfectly ok.

Personally, I was quite nervous about giving birth naturally, questioning whether or not my body would in fact be able to do it. I was scared and I was worried about the possible complications, as any first time mum-to-be is. On the other hand, I was also eager to be able to say that I did it, that I was able to experience one of the most admirable forms of strength and endurance that anyone can in fact go through. However, when my obstetrician told me that my little girl was well and truly breeched I was admittedly happy to follow his professional advice and sign up for a C-Section. I didn’t care how she entered the world – as long as she was safe and I was safe, it didn’t matter to me. And to this day this is still how I feel. For us, this was our safest option.

I was aware of what was going to occur, but like anything in life, no matter how much preparation you have for something as big as this, you can never truly know what to expect, or how you will react. From the spinal, through the surgery, to the long recovery, a C-Section isn’t easy. It’s tough. But you know what? It’s certainly is as rewarding as any other birthing experience. My birth experience with my second child was much different. My waters broke early and I experienced labor before undergoing another C-Section. In both of these instances, we made some very big decisions, and for us, they were the right ones. I have no regrets. I am blessed to have my babies here safely and I am so thankful for that.

I am more than aware, however, that there are many people out there that take a different approach to the way in which mothers bring their babies into the world and this is also ok. Childbirth is so personal, so precious and so individual that it is important to embrace the way you, as a mother/parent, feel. And in saying that, this is the reason why, when I came across a website that devalues the birthing experience when it comes to C-Sections, I was not only upset, I was angry. There is of course a point where it is in fact not O.K. to impose your thoughts onto others. This website proved to be a perfect example of this.

Through my insistent scrolling, I was faced with comments that ran from blaming C-Section births for allergies and obesity in children, to stating that children born via C-Section have abnormal immune systems. Unfortunately, I am aware that this site doesn’t stand alone. There are many advocates for specific birth rituals, and again there is nothing wrong with this, but when it comes to a point where these opinions are imposed onto others, it most certainly is not O.K.

There are many facets to birth and parenting, and within these facets are multiple opinions that emerge from many different individual experiences. No single opinion or piece of advice can trump another, because it is so personal and so individual. So how is it that some people believe that they can force theirs onto others who are not only vulnerable but also apprehensive and nervous about what is to come – with something so personal as motherhood? It just doesn’t make sense to me.

There is so much to think about and so many aspects to be anxious about when having a baby. Extremist opinions should not be one of them. My advice to any expectant parent? Ditch the scrolling. Most times it does more harm than good anyway. Stick to what you feel is right – it’s your moment to experience and no one else’s. Embrace it how you want to and how your mind and body needs to. Its time to stop making comparisons and just realize that each birthing experience is beautiful and wonderful no matter what our choices or circumstances. At the end of the day holding your child in your arms for the first time is what really matters, not how they got there.

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Sarah is currently a stay-at-home mum to Charlotte and Ashton. She is a qualified secondary teacher, specialising in boys education. Her newfound passion for fitness and healthy living came about because of her children. Even though they poop and cry a lot they, along with her husband, are her world. You can follow her Instagram at @for_theloveofmum