August was a big month for me, as my partner and I hung by the phone waiting for “the news.”
Both of us come from tiny families, and both our brothers became dads within three weeks of each other.
I am still adjusting to my new role as an aunty, especially as I have no little ones of my own (yet). While I thought it would all be about occasional nappy changing, Chrissie presents and backyard cricket (I’m Australian and they’re both nephews) it turns out it’s just as much taking care of the grown-ups as the little ones – and that the position of Aunty is a defense position.
My brother and his partner did all the supposedly right things. She was in amazing shape, and they planned a completely natural childbirth with their midwife. They even considered home birth and water birthing options. The birth plan was very specific about not being hooked up and knocked out come the big event.
After nearly a fortnight overdue, the baby had to be induced. It seems that this usually goes one of two ways – very quickly, or everything simply stops. For her, it was the latter.
She simply couldn’t keep going because everything was too constricted and swollen for the baby to get out, and he was starting to have some serious trouble. The result was a C-section.
Two weeks later, nephew number two arrived – also by emergency Caesarean. It was then I found the worst comments and assumptions came from within the family.
“Why couldn’t she just keep going? I didn’t give up after only 30 hours.” “Why can’t women just have babies like they did in our day? It’s what women are designed for.” “Her sister just had her babies, none of this surgery rubbish.” These women are being made to feel as though they were weak, didn’t prepare properly, and that they won’t have the same bond with their children.
So, I strapped on the shin guards, strapped my helmet on, and let my mother-in-law know that, even if her grandson came into the world through a portal in the time-space continuum, she should have more respect for her son’s wife and their parenting decisions.
I don’t believe vaginal birth makes a mother. I believe it’s about making decisions that are the best for your child, even if they sometimes go against your own personal preferences. New moms need love and support, not judgment or disdain.