January 16, 2012 11:34 am

Extraction

This showed up in my feed reader today and I felt compelled to respond:

Can I tell you how sorry I feel for the child born of a mother who says she didn’t give birth to the kid? That s/he was “an extraction,” like an infected tooth or a cancerous mole? What is that going to do for his or her self-esteem? Has anyone thought that far ahead yet? What a horrible set-up for loving parenting, starting out thinking your baby was “extracted” from your body.

I suppose I see where she’s coming from. The author is making a case for viewing your c-section as a “metaphor for the beginning of a new life” rather than something to “terroriz[e] women” with. I’m sorry she thinks I’m not setting my child up for loving parenting by describing what happened during his birth, but I think that statement is nutty enough that it almost doesn’t warrant a response. If anything, I’d be more likely to show loving parenting to try to mollify the circumstances of his birth a bit.

I’ve talked before about how I felt as though I played no part in my child’s birth. I’m a little… confused? I guess? as to why the author is so hostile about this feeling. I was anesthetized, strapped to a table and “blindfolded” from what was happening with a giant blue sheet, and then someone used a scalpel to cut me open and then people pulled a baby out of me.

My part in this was… what now? You can call it a metaphor for new life if you want, and it is, but it was also an extraction. I was actively prevented from participating in my birth, and yet somehow, feeling this way and talking to other women that feel similarly is “extraction crap” started by “a sadist.”

She then goes on to play the Guilt Olympics by describing impoverished women in Somalia that would love to have a c-section to avoid an obstetric fistula, or women who end up with stillborn babies while birthing vaginally. I am not sure what this has to do with the price of tea in China but I think it’s totally inappropriate to try to make me feel better (?) about my c-section by telling me that there are loads of people would love to be in my position, while simultaneously telling me how I should feel about my position.

In the comments, she’s accused of not having compassion for the women that believe their babies were “extracted,” and responded:

I have compassion… I feel sorry for the women who don’t feel they’ve given birth. Very, very sorry for them.

THIS is the attitude that makes me feel “less than,” not other women’s descriptions of surgical birth.

Then there’s this:

Quit being dramatic, you Extraction Queens. Find a way to get over your selfish belief your birth wasn’t real because of the location the kid entered the world from.

I don’t believe my child’s birth wasn’t “real” – I have the scar to prove it. I just believe I played a very little part in it.

Let me grieve for the birth I wanted, describe the birth I had in the manner that seems appropriate to me, and keep your misplaced pity for my child to yourself.

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4 Comments

  • the grumbles says:

    people are just bizarre. it takes very little to look at someone else’s experiences and offer them compassion, even if you haven’t been there yourself. is that so damned hard?

  • Charlie says:

    If it helps a mother to get over it then so be it. I’ve never heard the phrase “when I gave birth” used by a women who had a c-section, and there’s nothing wrong with that because it’s how they felt. I hope not many women who’ve had c-sections come across that post without warning, that last quotation is especially awful.

  • In my mind, if you carried the child for approx 9 months, then you’ve gone through 99% of the pains of having a child. The baby is coming out one way or another. So delivery method doesn’t matter in my opinion. You’re seeing your child for the first time whether it’s C section or traditional birth. The excitement is the same.

  • Brianna says:

    YOU ARE SO GOOD WITH WORDS. You are so right-on.

    There are a million and one things I want to say. I’ve written, deleted and re-written so many times in the past ten minutes.

    UGH!

    What it comes down to is that whoever wrote that is wrong. So, so wrong.

    Unless you have been “there”, you don’t know.

    To want something so badly. To spend months and months researching, planning and dreaming about the day you GIVE LIFE (kind of a big deal event) to your child, and then have all that you’ve imagined that moment to be completely turned upside down is absolutely heartbreaking. Heartbreaking! Then, you’re left in shock and feeling guilty because you have your healthy, beautiful child in your arms and you should be filled with happiness and joy but instead, you feel frozen and cheated and confused….

    You’re left to face so many more challenges than you anticipated. Breastfeeding is challenged, your bond is challenged, your body and recovery is challenged, your emotions….the list goes on.

    So for someone, anyone, to tell a woman, a mother, that she is WRONG for feeling the way she feels after going through something traumatizing…I have no words for them.

    It’s not something you “get over”. It’s something that you try and get past. It’s something that you need to give yourself time to heal and you need to be gentle with yourself.