I have spent over a week writing this blog. Most of my blogs take about 30-60 minutes (possibly spread over several days – 5 minutes here, 10 minutes there – I AM a mom lol) so that tells you how much time I spent, comparatively, on this. I wrote it, rewrote it, and rewrote it again. I added, deleted, saved it and came back later only to chop it up again. I say this just so you know, I put A LOT of thought into this and how to properly address the issue that I want to address.
It has come to my attention that some of those who call themselves my friends think that I am opinionated and put down anyone who does not think exactly the same as I do, or who has interventions during childbirth – even if it was a situation beyond their control. I will not mention names as I do not wish to ridicule anyone or draw negative attention to them. (I have not mentioned this situation, with names, to anyone except for my husband to ask for his advice on what I should do about it.) However, since I do not know the names of all involved in order to resolve this privately, I have chosen to make a blog post open to anyone to read in the hopes that it reaches these people. I don’t think I need to know or even want to know who all is involved in this; I just want to get this out there.
I have so many issues with this accusation that I hardly know where to start.
Speak for yourself. If others have issues with it also, let them speak up too. Saying, “This is what I think and everyone else agrees with me” implies that either 1. You’re exaggerating or 2. You’re gossiping (or both.) Neither is very flattering and definitely will not add credibility to your argument. YOU are important and your opinion is perfectly valid on its own - so own it and express it and let others express theirs (or not, their choice). (That doesn’t mean I’m obligated to agree with you, I’m entitled to my own opinion as well.)
Speak to me, not others, if you have a problem with me. Noone likes a gossip (unless they themselves are a gossip and are hoping to hear a juicy tidbit…) If you follow the Christian faith, consider what the Bible says:
Romans 1:29–32 “They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless. Though they know God’s decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them.” Wow! Evil? Deserve to die? Sounds pretty serious! Remember, these are not my words, nor am *I* judging you. These are God’s words.
Matthew 18:15 “If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother." I see nowhere in there where God allows you to first go to others and justify to them your position of being offended at me. Only if we are unable to resolve things privately does it then allow you to take one or two people with you to confront the person (Matthew 18:16 But if he will not hear, take with you one or two more, that ‘by the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.’). Never does it permit for you to say nothing to the person that you are offended at and spread your negative opinion of them to others. I like this article about gossip and try to ask myself the questions suggested before discussing things with others.
If you’re going to make a judgment about a blog or article, at least read the whole thing before doing so. The very thing that you’re so angry at them for having “left out” may be mentioned towards the end.
I was accused of never showing the other side of things. This is completely untrue (as you would know if you read my blog on a regular basis), however, it is redundant to mention the same thing every single time. I do try to mention, however briefly, other circumstances that may exist, but there’s a point when it’s just ridiculous to keep saying the same thing over and over again. And, being that extraordinary circumstances should be the exception rather than the rule, I try to focus on more positive things and how birth really can be. I don’t want to spend so much time on everything that could go wrong that I miss the whole point of my blog. (There’s already a book out there about all the negative things that you can expect to experience if you’re looking for them to happen. If you want to sit and dwell on what can go wrong and work yourself into a tizzy about it, go for it. I won’t even mention the title as I think it is terrible and if you receive it as a baby shower gift, you should immediately return it or throw it away).
If you don’t like it, DON’T READ IT! I am not holding a gun to your head and forcing you to read it. If you know that the topic will trigger negative feelings or emotions in you, maybe you shouldn’t read it. There was a time after I birthed my second child that I could not read any birth stories. I had to come to terms with his birth and the things that happened that I did not like. I didn’t go out and seek positive birth stories/articles and blast the author for their supposed ignorance of the variances of birth just because in that one blog or article they did not mention your specific circumstances. It was only when I could look back at it and, rather than be just angry at what happened, look at it and ask, “What can I take away from this? What can I do differently next time?” that I was able to read birth stories, blogs, and articles again.
Don’t assume that just because I do something differently from you that I am judging you for it. Yes, if you are getting drunk while caring for your kids, or beating them to a pulp, or withholding the necessities of life, then I do think I am a better parent than you. However, just because you had pitocin or an epidural or a cesarean, does not mean anything in that regard. EVEN IF IT WAS PREVENTABLE, you are not a worse parent for having had it. Chances are, there are areas where I do things that you would not even think of doing (such as going to bed with dishes in the sink – sorry Mom, it’s a blue moon that I have an empty sink at the end of the day). I’m going to ignore the discussion that interventions are sometimes necessary, duh. I think we all know that. I’m talking about when you have a choice and you choose to have the interventions anyways. So what if natural childbirth is not your strength or something that is very important to you to achieve? We all have different strengths, weaknesses, and interests. I do not go to someone who is a fitness guru and runs 5 miles a day and say, “STOP THAT! You’re making me look bad when I put a movie on for the kids and veg on the couch all morning.” To each her own. It’s not MY interest, but I don’t seek out fitness blogs and ridicule them for their interests just because they are not mine. And for the record, I have yet to have a totally natural, non-interfered with birth!!!!! So saying that I think I’m better than you because I’ve had a natural childbirth and you haven’t is a totally baseless accusation.
Yes, I do think that what I do is the best thing, for me and my kids. Why on earth would I do something that I did NOT believe wholeheartedly was the best thing? This is not a judgment on you for doing what YOU believe is the best thing for you and your kids. I see it this way: it is like me wearing a red shirt and you wearing a blue shirt. My choice to wear a red shirt in no way judges you for your choice to wear a blue shirt. It would take a very insecure person to take offense at that and say, “You didn’t wear a blue shirt, you must be saying that I have an inferior fashion sense because you did not choose the same colour as I did.” Just because I birth at home, breastfeed, extended rear-face, extended-harness, don’t vaccinate, circ or don’t circ, DOES NOT MEAN that I cannot respect your decision to do the opposite.
Yes, I will put the information out there and yes, it feels nice when someone says, “Thanks, that was really helpful! I never thought of it that way before.” Or “Why didn’t someone tell me this before?” I’ve heard these and similar responses countless times from women. BUT, if you say, “That’s just not for me.” FINE! I am still friends with many people who do not do the exact same thing as me! We still get along just fine as long as we respect each other's decisions. What I never want to hear from a friend is, “Why didn’t you tell me?” Information is power. The truth will set you free. I refuse to withhold the truth just because it might offend someone. I did not see ONCE when my Lord did this so why should I?
I’m not saying I’m perfect in this area. I still deal with fear and intimidation and sometimes do not share information because I am afraid of how people will respond. I’m just saying that this is what I aspire to, to always speak the truth. I never once see recorded where Jesus said, “I wanted to correct this person, but was afraid that it might offend them so I said nothing.” He offended people frequently, yet, knew who He was and knew what the truth was, and knew that their offense was THEIR problem, and not His. Not that He didn’t try to address their concerns when they came to Him with them (as I have done here), but He did not allow that to keep Him from speaking up. As far as I know, most religions have a person that they are founded on that is similar in boldness and desire to spread the truth. No one who spends their life living under a rock and never speaking up for truth will ever make a difference in the world (except, perhaps, for being an example of what not to do to people who know them!)
I write all of this not to humiliate or chastize anybody, but because I love you, my friends, and do not want these offenses and misunderstandings to continue. I hope that this blog brings some peace to you.
I saw this blog today that is very timely and expresses very similar thoughts to mine. Enjoy!