A couple weeks ago, after the whole Gisele Bundchen debacle, I wrote a long, ranty, angry post and then immediately drafted it because I was afraid it would sound too preachy and… well, ranty. I’ve since taken out the possibly preachy sounding bits (I hope) and here’s the rest of it, re-posted. (In case you didn’t hear about the Gisele thing, she’d simply said that she had a home water birth and that it was painless.) :
Gisele Bundchen said that she had a natural, home water birth. My first reaction was, “AWESOME! Man, we need more people to speak out about this & get rid of the stigma surrounding home birth.”
I knew there’d be some backlash, but wow, I didn’t realize just how much of a backlash.
Ok, she also said that it was “painless,” and WOW. I’ve complained, before, about how competitive and weird women get about pregnancy and birth and if you’ve read any of the commentary about Gisele, there’s my proof.
I’ve tried to avoid reading all the blogs & commentary, because I knew I’d just get into a rage. But this afternoon I wasted a good 45 minutes retorting to people on Twitter.
I get it. Gisele is perfect & gorgeous blah blah blah and someone said to me that it was wrong of her to rub it in our faces. Well, I don’t think she was rubbing it in – I think someone asked & she answered. Had she said it sucked & was painful & she wound up needing a c-section, everyone would be cheering her on, right? Someone said that because she’s this “perfect” woman & a celebrity, her saying that she had a painless birth just makes women feel like crap – but I say that everything in those celeb mags makes us feel like crap. I, personally, stopped reading them long ago. I seriously broke my addiction to women’s magazines & gossip rags – the only stuff I read now is Martha Stewart (which has caused a whole other type of jealous rage on my part) and cooking mags.
But would women not call her “a liar” any less if it weren’t a gorgeous, “perfect” super model? I doubt it. I’M not perfect and beautiful, but I’ve been on the receiving end of a surprising amount of name calling and accused of lying any time I say anything about my birth experience.
Maybe I’m evolved. I’m not jealous of Gisele for… well, for her being Gisele. So like I said, when she came out and said “home water birth,” I was thrilled. I can’t ever have her money or her body (don’t tell me I could, I’m far too lazy) but I COULD try to have a good birth experience. Look at that! She & I have something in common!
Anyway. My point is – this is why I so rarely had female friends. Women, in general, are an awful bunch. I don’t understand why we need to be hateful & jealous because a woman said she had a “painless birth” and a good experience. I don’t understand why women need to attack her & call her a liar. Clearly, just because you haven’t experienced something yourself doesn’t mean it’s not possible.
I said this long ago, when I first got pregnant – pain, to me, is all about perception. I had said that I decided it wouldn’t hurt & I refused to approach the experience with any fear. I can honestly say that I felt absolutely no fear, before or during the birth. No anxiety or trepidation. I was pretty blase about the whole thing, really. (Oh, and people get angry at me anytime I say that, too.)
Having said that, if someone says to me that they felt no pain, I know what they mean. Maybe there was a feeling of some sort (well, most likely there was), but some people don’t call it or think of it as pain. I didn’t. I said that contractions sucked, big time – but the word I attached to them was “intensity,” not pain. Maybe Gisele had some intense moments, but in her mind, it wasn’t pain. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that. I get it.
During my arguments on Twitter, where the woman gave me that bit about how it was wrong of Gisele to “flaunt” it, and how it made other women feel crappy about not having as good an experience… I’m sorry, but that’s just stupid. And negative. Why the fuck do people need to be quiet about good things, at the risk of upsetting everyone else? Why is our society so wrapped up in sharing only negative experiences? Why do we have to lynch people who had a better experience than us? Why, because she’s “beautiful and perfect” do we have to be so hateful? And why do we have to be so obsessed with celebrities and compare ourselves to celebrities? To that, I say GROW UP.
Personally, I think she’s an asshole for that whole affair thing (Tom Brady left his pregnant wife for her.) But that’s not my business. And I really don’t care enough about her as a person to wish bad things on her.
My hope, when she came out about having a water birth, was that people would hear that and be curious, maybe decide to learn more about it, maybe open their minds a little bit & realize that they, too, could have a good birth experience. Maybe it wouldn’t be “painless,” but it would be good enough that “pain” wouldn’t be the thing they focused on and remembered most. Thank god she didn’t say she had an orgasmic birth, I can only imagine the even bigger shit storm of negativity that would rain down upon her. (For the record, I did not have an orgasmic birth myself, but I believe in them. If I tell you that right as I pushed I honestly, truly, dead seriously had a few moments of thinking, “Holy crap, that actually feels kinda good,” do you promise not to rain hateful comments upon me? It was fleeting, but definitely there.)
I know that even if you approach your birth with the right attitude and you do the preparation* and have a positive mindset, it doesn’t always mean it will turn out as you’d hoped. But my point is that it’s possible. And hopefully if it doesn’t go exactly as you’d imagined, you’ll be grown up enough to not wish bad things upon others in retribution.
*When I talk about “natural birth,” I often use the words “preparation” and often I say “truly natural birth.” As I steep myself further in the world of natural birth and midwifery, I’ve come to the belief/opinion that natural birth – a truly natural birth – isn’t simply NOT getting any pain meds. And it isn’t, really. A natural birth, to me, is no pain meds and being able to move around and give birth in a position that feels instinctual. Women were never meant to give birth laying on their backs in a bed. That position alone will often cause stalled labor, pain, or fetal distress. And I don’t say that to judge anyone else’s experience, I swear. It’s only to clarify why I often refer to “natural birth” and “unmedicated birth” separately. I think unmedicated birth is absolutely valid and I’m not getting up on a high horse about people in the unmedicated camp versus natural camp. I have an acquaintance who’s gotten angry at me every time I post information about birth in this country and the over the top c-section rate, finally telling me that it “might make other people feel jealous & crappy”. (Hey! Just like Gisele!) I told her what I’m saying now – I post all that stuff & rant against our system, not the women in the system, and to put information out there that might cause someone to research further and decide to have a natural/home birth of their own. Not because I think everyone must have had a crappy experience if they didn’t go natural – but because even *I* didn’t know that there was an alternative to the typical hospital birth and once I did, I wanted it. I just want people to know that there are options, and THEN make a decision.
Anyway. So no. No, I won’t be hatin’ on Gisele for anything. She’s gorgeous & has a great body – so what? There’s nothing about hating her that will improve anything about or for me.