We all seek it…It’s just human nature. We want (sometimes crave) the approval of others. We want (and need) acceptance….longing for validation. Mothers have one of the most stressful jobs on the planet and make hundreds of decisions….most of which we fear judgment for. When you think about it, the last thing any mother needs is judgment straight out of the gate….and yet, just about all of us get it….(Want to know the saddest part? That judgment….it’s from each other.)

Before we’ve even begun to parent our babies, we often find ourselves standing behind the firing squad of others’ opinions. For whatever reason, women tend to think their method of L&D is the absolutely (and I mean absolutely) only correct way to bring a child into the world. The nasty comments and unbridled sharing of opinions come from both sides of the spectrum on this one…The moms who believe in natural childbirth, midwives, water births etc are called “crunchy”, “granola” ,”hippies,” etc. Moms who favor epidurals, hospitals, and other pain meds are attacked for being selfish and subjecting their child to drugs. Can’t we just let a woman have her baby? What gives any of us the right to comment on the method of delivery one mom chooses?

The natural childbirth movement carries with it some women with….loud voices…This can make the spectrum seem unbalanced, as you won’t find too many people posting articles on facebook about how awesome epidurals are (although I’ve seen several people post about how truly horrid of a person you are if you get one..) Don’t let the articles get to you.  Don’t let the soapbox speeches about how giving birth without pain medication is the “way God intended it” and  let anyone make you feel as though you are in any way less of a mother for choosing a medicated birth. In the same way, don’t let anyone pressure you into doing something you don’t want to do. If you’re into the breathing, the focal points, the doula…more power to you. End of the day, you get the same prize….a baby. There is no additional “medal” for giving birth any specific way.  A mother should get to choose the method of labor and delivery that makes HER the most comfortable….not doing what makes the person who likes to make other people feel bad the most comfortable.

I’ll be honest. Certain birthing choices have been made out to be the enemy….I’ve done most of them. My kids are all healthy and I had very positive labor experiences. I could have kissed each of the four beautiful people who gave me my epidurals. I’ve had three inductions and one of them….(here comes the part where a few of you have to restrain yourself from writing me hate mail or showing me articles about what a horrible mom I am…) was ELECTIVE. (And ya know what, my doctor signed off on it, the labor was no different than any of the others,  my child was healthy, and it made the whole process much, much easier for me.) I’m not a bad mom for making those choices. I’m not any less of a mother than those who wrote out the ten page birthing plans or breathed their way through each contraction. I did what worked for me. They did what worked for them. We BOTH made the right choice. (Neither of us got a parenting award, gold medal, or “better” child.)

I’ve heard from women who have been put through hell for making the labor choice they made….One of my friends still cries every time she talks about having her c-section….not because it was painful or hard on her…but because of the judgment and hurtful comments she received for having one. “Too bad you couldn’t have a baby the “right” way” was the most frequent….Seriously?! Were we all raised by wolves? When did we start believing it was okay to be so catty and hurtful to each other, simply because she had her baby in a tub at home, and you had  yours with medicine flowing down your spine? She’s not a crazy hippie and you’re not selfish and unnatural. The mom that chose to have an induction….she’s not the devil…stop writing articles that say she is. She chose a doctor. You chose a midwife. She wanted the drugs. You relied on a doula. She chose to have her baby early. You went two weeks over your due date. Big whoop. Do we have to all do the same thing? I think the reason we feel like we need to put each other down is rooted in fear. We’re so afraid of being a bad mother that we want to make sure we get started the “right” way. I’m here to be the annoying philosophy professor and tell you that there is no right way. There are lots of ways to have a baby. LOTS.

Natural. Drugs. Home birth. Hospital. Midwife. OB/GYN. Birth plan. Go with the flow. C-section. Vaginal. Elective. Wait it out. Adoption. In-vitro. Surrogacy. Sperm donor. Foster. = BABY

We all win. That’s the thing ladies…It’s not a competition. There’s no one there to grade our performance or pass out gold stars. No matter how you choose to bring your baby into the world, know that you are undertaking the world’s most  important job…and you’ve already won. You don’t get a head start by giving birth one way over another. We all start at the same place. Let’s try to be a bit more “Burger King” and let each other have our babies, “our way, right away”….Labor and Delivery…It’s YOUR choice, and I give you permission.


To check out the full I Give You Permission series, click HERE.

If you want to read more about my baby story, click HERE.