One dear lady said to me “Since when has being a mother been a competition?” I would say “For years”, unable to be more specific.
I know when I had DD nearly 5 years ago, it was competitive among the mothers groups online to have the ‘best’ birth. The overt antenatal competitiveness wasn’t so pronounced at antenatel check-ups, though it came to a head at the birthing classes. My DH would hold my hand tight and give me a warning look so I didn’t say anything awful to the other soon-to-be mothers. What, you didn’t know there was a hierarchy of how good a birth a woman has? Let me tell you how it works and how you get points.
1. Natural childbirth without any drugs whatsoever – 50 points
Bonus points if you don’t have an obstetrician and only have midwives.
Bonus points if you bring your own doula
Bonus points if you have aromatherapy, a special playlist on your iPod, hypnotherapy instructions, and hold on to your completed birth plan
2. Childbirth with pain relief or epidural – 30 points
3. Induced childbirth, with or without epidural or pain relief – 20 points
4. Caesarean section – 10 points
There are more point-gaining possibilities for the competitive mother. For example:
- enduring a very lengthy or a very short labour,
- having two or more children,
- enduring an avalanche of relatives and onlookers during labour and birth,
- being unable to eat for three days during the labour
- back labour (not rated as highly, which peeves me enormously because I don’t get as many points that way)
- extreme organisation of one’s labour bag
- complete disorganisation of one’s labour bag because one headed off to hospital at the rate of knots
Before I get howled down for being a horrible mother and an awful human being, I’ll tell you what I consider to be the ‘best’ birth. The ‘best’ birth is one where the baby is born healthy, and the mother is well. That’s it. We all want that same result: a beautiful, new human being to welcome into our family, our lives and our hearts. I really don’t mind how each mother gets to that point. Just leave the points-scoring and celebrate this wonderful new life.
Next: how to be competitive after the baby’s birth.