I’ve been through it all. Over my combined pregnancies I’ve done the lot – read the book, seen the movie, bought the tshirt – all of it. Drug free, long, traumatic labour; induction; drug assisted; and finally c-section.
I can tell you none is better than the other. Each has it’s own great points and it’s terrible TERRIBLE points.
But what I have noticed consistently, is that when people ask me ‘how was the labour’ or ‘tell me about your delivery’ or ‘how’d it all pan out’, that is not what they mean. What they are actually asking is ‘tell me whether you were cut open or not and whether you needed pain relief or not so that I can compare it to my experience and judge you as weaker or stronger than I’.
Because when I do actually start to tell them about it they rush me to the conclusion. They just want to read the last few pages of the story.
Quite frankly, I don’t get it. I suspect it’s this whole competitive trend that mothers have between them (which I also don’t get). Or some form of personal validation. It’s as though once they know if I was cut open or not they breath a sigh of relief knowing they can sleep easy.
They don’t really want to know my story. I suspect also, they don’t ask out of concern for me.
So guess what – if you have the desire to ask me that, I have the desire not to tell you. And I vow only to ask my friends ‘were you happy with your birth experience’ and offer a kind ear if they were not. Isn’t that, afterall, what we should be interested in, supporting new mothers not comparing or scoring.