Mum shamed by friend – “You’ve not given birth properly”

Sad mum and baby

While most of us are respectful of every birth experience, it seems that there are still a few bad apples who see having babies as some kind of competitive sport …

C-section = “The easy bit”

This is further confirmed by a post on Mumsnet where a mum admitted an old friend had queried the validity of her birth.

The mum who was shamed has a five-month-old baby boy, and she had a pretty rough time delivering him, eventually having an emergency c-section. When she got together with old friends, they asked her about her birth.

“I briefly told them – induction, back to back labour ’til fully dilated, pushing with episiotomy and forceps, EMCS,” she writes.

“One of them said ‘so you’ve come away from that thinking that you know what it’s like to have a baby,’” she continues. “I said, ‘I don’t get what you mean by that!’ She said, ‘You’ve not given birth properly, you’ve not been in transition, you’ve only done the easy bit. So many women think they’ve given birth but they have no idea.’”


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The poor mum changed the subject quickly but was left feeling upset by the whole exchange. She took to Mumsnet to see what others thought of the notion that her birth wasn’t as legitimate as a so-called ‘normal’ vaginal delivery.

baby sling mum phone

Surely not?!

Surely “this is not how normal people view childbirth?” she asked.

Responses came in thick and fast, with other lovely parents providing support and also getting pretty furious that this mum had been ‘shamed’ at all.

Some commenters revealed they had experienced ‘birth shaming’ as well – and that some people DO view childbirth in these judgemental terms.

“I’ve had similar comments as I had a CS,” one Mumsnet commenter posted. “And the amount of times I’ve heard ‘oooh but you’ve not really given birth’. Well, I had a f*cking baby cut out of me so yeah, I’ve given birth.”

“One of the visiting husbands on the ward said the same thing to me,” another woman wrote. “He asked why I had such a low bed compared to the rest. I explained I’d had a CS and it was hard to get in and out of a high bed. ‘Oh, you’ve done it the easy way’ he said. Twat.”

mum after caesarean

Childbirth is a competition?

Others queried the wisdom and logic of this poor mum’s critic.

“Every mother is different and birth is different even to the same mother, so they really can’t be compared, especially not on ‘merit’,” one wise woman posted.

“Did no one tell you childbirth is a competition?” another mum wrote sarcastically. “Every painful intervention and indignity you go through you also lose points! Fun. The only way to win is to have a quick, but not too quick, ‘natural’, pain-relief free waterbirth. You must produce a perfect, unblemished, correct gender baby and look glowing in the after photos. Anything else and you lose.”

Newborn infant

“You have a baby to prove it!”

And lots of people thought this friend didn’t sound very friendly at all.

“I think your ‘friend’ has a few issues of her own. Of course, you gave birth. You have a baby to prove it,” a commenter pointed out.

“Cannot bear oneupmanship amongst mothers,” another person wrote. “Sadly, you’ll come across it a lot. There will be the early walkers/talkers/readers, brightest (and most misunderstood) child in the group/class, etc etc. Some mothers really get off on this stuff. Oh, and I forgot about Competitive Breastfeeding! Ditch this person and find some nicer friends.”

We agree. With friends like these, who needs enemies?!  Sheesh.

You can read the full story on Mumsnet.

Mumsnet post

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