Can we please end this ridiculous "debate" over whether C-sections count as "real birth"? Because I've really had it.
There is nothing to debate. The actual definition of the word is "the emergence of a new individual from the body of its parent" or "the act or process of bringing forth young from the womb." Nowhere in those simple terms does good old Merriam-Webster specify where exactly the new individual must emerge from or in what fashion exactly the baby must emerge. Which must mean that the very act of any young emerging from the body of his or her parent in any way constitutes birth!
Hallelujah! It's settled for once and for all.
If only the debate over vaginal birth and C-sections was that simple. It's not, and that's because the discussion isn't really about the definition of the word at all. It's another way for women to claim superiority over other women. It's women proclaiming that their way is better than your way. To bask in the glory that they did it right and you did it wrong. To turn their nose up at something they don't understand or don't care to understand. And I'm calling it. I've had enough.
I totally get the natural tendency toward thinking your way of doing something is better than another person's. After all, there's a reason you chose (or wanted) it that way! And we've all had judgy thoughts about others at some point in our lives; if you claim you haven't, you're lying. Although thoughts like these might creep into your mind from time to time, especially when it comes to this most polarizing of motherhood topics, there's a simple step we can take to end the viscous cycle: stop talking about it!
I'm talking to you, rude Facebook commenters.
To be fair, I don't think the overwhelming majority of kind people most of us encounter in our daily lives need this reminder. But after I read this enraging text exchange between an expecting mom and a birth photographer who refused to photograph her C-section, it's apparent that some people still do. I'm talking to you, rude Facebook commenters. And you, judgy eyes in the grocery store.
Go ahead and think you're a warrior for enduring 43 hours of unmedicated birth and pulling your own baby out of your vagina. You are! Go ahead and schedule your C-section and feel really good about it. You should! Go ahead and plan for a vaginal birth and feel kinda sad when you have an emergency C-section. You're allowed! Go ahead and think you don't want an epidural and then change your mind. Your choice!
But do not go ahead and comment negatively on another person's birth story. Do not feel entitled to shame another mother with your holier-than-thou feelings about the way her young emerges from her body. Because after all, it's all, by definition, birth.