July 24, 2023

16 months out.

Sutton turned 16 months old last week and we're in such the Toddler Phase that sometimes I forget what my squishy little newborn was like. She's a yeller and a demander. She came out yelling. She apparently didn't want to go through labor and delivery. She was obviously ready and wanted out. I never felt a single contraction so I don't mind that they got her out asap. 

It's at the point now where I don't think about it a lot but I do have the literal reminder of a c-section scar so there's that. While having a c-section can make a person (sorry, female. only females give birth) feel like a failure, it wasn't really in my control and moms who make an idol out of Birth (capital B) rarely realize that they just got lucky that it went more or less how they wanted. It's like having a good sleeper, or a good eater, or a kid who's good at math, or an early reader; it has verrrrrry little to do with you. As in, nothing to do with you, the mother. If this has done anything to me in a permanent way, it's that my brain now assumes everything that can go wrong during the labor/delivery. Moms who spend a long time in labor make me nervous. I cringed through every episode of the M is for Mama podcast about her 10 birth stories...and that last one is why you have your babies in a hospital. Complications come out of nowhere. 

Okay, all this to say that just as no one will ask you if your kid was breastfed or formula fed when they're 5 years old, no one will care how your baby was born. Personally, I cannot believe the breast/bottle question wasn't on the kindergarten registration paperwork, with the discourse surrounding this topic in the mommy groups. Around age 2-3, doctors also stop asking how your baby was born and at what week gestation they were born. 

Just this week, I had a conversation with two other moms who had, also, awful c-section experiences for a variety of different reasons. 

And it is odd because I don't want to talk about this all the time but it's important to let other moms know that, if they are experiencing it, they're not alone. All we see is the highlight reel on social media and when moms post-brag about their seamless experiences, we can easily feel like we did something wrong. That's really the only reason I keep talking about it. Awareness is important.

And then, sometimes, I find myself staring down a street of absolute gaslights. 

These are Facebook comments, talking about the midwife I had my horrible experience with:

Talk about gaslighting, right?

The thought that someone is out there recommending these people who were so incompetent and trauma-inducing to me is really hard. 

So when someone reaches out to ask my opinion or about my experience (local acquaintances have in the last year), I have to tell them the truth in a way that doesn't make it seem like I'm nuts. Mostly because if I don't tell them, who will? What if they only hear from someone with a good experience and then they take a recommendation and have a terrible experience? I would almost feel like that's my fault for not speaking up. 

Anyway. Food for thought. What would you do if someone asked you about your experience (anywhere, with anything)? Would you stay neutral? Tell the truth? 

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