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Friday, April 20, 2012

The ultimate litmus test: vaginal birth or cesarean?

You can tell Jessica Simpson is getting close to her due date - the "Will she have a cesarean?" question comes up. Apparently there is a story circulating the internet (and has been for months) that says Jessica wants to have an elective cesarean to avoid childbirth pain. Is it really true? Who knows.

The thing is, before we go off on a tangent, we need to realize a few things: first, it's her body, right? It's her choice, whether it's an ill-informed one or not. Secondly, the same thing was said of her sister Ashlee - and we still don't know, after two years or however long it's been, whether she had a vaginal birth or cesarean. It's almost like the tabloids picked up the old story and just switched the names.

Ultimately, it doesn't matter. And yet it does. Beyonce went through the same thing - even drawing criticism over whether she was really pregnant - and we find ourselves back in the same place. The entire birth community came down on her for one reason or another, and then had to backtrack when they realized they had fallen for a story that wasn't even true. Does it even matter? It's not our story, we don't own Beyonce or any other mother, and I hope it didn't steal her joy. Jessica is probably facing the same thing - people who question her decision and judgment, starting another battle that proves the mommy wars are alive and well and says, "Welcome to motherhood!" I won't even say it's the natural birth community that's jumping on her case - it's women in general. It doesn't matter in that it's her decision to make and not ours; it does matter in that it might send a message (as if that hasn't been done for decade upon decade) to women that trivialize cesareans and their risks. It doesn't matter in that, in the end, a baby is born and will take its place among the millions of other babies - and there are plenty of celebrities and influential people who don't want to electively have a c-section. It doesn't matter because, in six months, we'll be focused on something or someone else - the next flavor-of-the-month will get pregnant and we'll be asking the same questions about her, too.

After awhile all the questioning starts to sound like a litmus test to prove your worth as a woman and mother among other women and mothers. What next? Proof that she delivered in a particular way? Do we want to see the scar? The episiotomy? It sounds disgusting, but seriously, that's what it's starting to sound like. If she has a cesarean, I suggest we use this time to reserve judgment and instead gently advocate - instead of turn it into a virtual slugfest between people who think they have the monopoly on childbirth, whether it's "I had three cesareans and turned out fine!" or "I had three totally natural births and turned out fine!"

It's her body, and her choice. Whether we like it or not.


Quantmlife said...

I saw Ashlee and Jessica on the Rachel Ray show a couple months ago and the conversation about birth at least implied that Ashlee had a natural birth (or at the very least a trial of labor)... because Jessica said something about, "after watching what she went through giving birth." *sigh* I agree thought that these women, as all women, need to make their own choices/decisions about it. Hopefully, fully aware of the risks.

The Deranged Housewife said...

I wish (well, not really, cause that kind of negates my point LOL) that she would confirm how she gave birth - if not only to lay to rest the idiotic rumors that circulate. The tabloids said the same thing of Ashlee that they're saying of Jessica, and unless we hear it from them, it's going to turn into another Beyonce situation - where her answer isn't good enough and we want to see proof. Sheesh. Celebrities are in the limelight, sure, but that still doesn't mean we own them and can control them - I wish people would stop justifying their judgment and anger because of who she is, as if that's okay. (but otherwise isn't any other time - whatever!)