No, they are not impressed with your unmedicated birth

I like to say that when my husband and I got married, he wanted two children and I wanted four, so we compromised … on four.

My husband would tell you that it’s the best decision we ever made. Each has grown into a wonderful person and we have had the joy (and the occasional aggravation) of supervising that process. Four children is a bit unusual in our community and over the years we gotten a lot of comments:

“Oh, four children; I could never do that.”

“Four? How did you manage?”

“I’m impressed that you could raise four children and remain so calm.”

That’s what they said, but I don’t believe for a moment that they really mean what they say. They are not impressed with my husband and me; they could do it if they wanted and they don’t particularly care how many children another couple chose to have.

I’m reminded of that when I hear natural childbirth advocates crowing about their “achievement” and insisting that everyone in the world is either impressed with them or incredulous and dismissive about their choice. They are so desperate for attention, positive or negative, and so relentlessly self-referential, that they cannot see what is right in front of their faces: no one cares whether anyone else had an unmedicated birth.

I was reminded of this reading one of the most recent posts by Donna of Banned From Baby Showers, one of the “birth visionistas” of Birth Boot Camp.

Donna writes, in an offensive post explaining any woman whose birth does not meet Donna’s specifications for birth and breastfeeding cannot become a BBC instructor:

Recently, I had a brief conversation with one of my daughter’s teachers. She saw the “Birth Boot Camp” vinyl on the back of my car and asked what that was all about. I briefly told her and she said, “Wow! You did that without drugs?!” in her sweet Southern drawl. She went on to say, “I don’t think I’ve ever known anyone who’s done that!”


I’ve had so many women over the years tell me that they thought of me during their labor. “If Donna could do it, so can I!” Husbands cheer their wives on right at the end when she wants to give up, saying, “Donna said it would be like this at the end. You are almost there. We’re going to meet our baby soon!”

Apparently, Donna actually believes this.

She is either so naive, or so desperate for praise, that she thinks people give her personal choice more than one micro-second of interest. The teacher was no more impressed with her pretend “achievement” than anyone who claimed to be impressed with my decision to raise four children. In both cases, the people expressing how “impressed” they were, were not impressed in the least. They had the opportunity to make the same choices and they chose not to because it wasn’t right for them and their families. They are really saying: “I’m impressed that choice worked for you, but it’s the last thing I would ever want to do.”

Ditto for the idea that if “Donna can do it, so can I.” You’d have to be pretty ignorant to be unaware of the fact that ANY woman could have an unmedicated childbirth, most of the mothers who ever existed have already had an unmedicated childbirth, and most of the women laboring around the world each and every day have unmedicated childbirth. When women say, “I could never do that.” they mean “I would never do that; it doesn’t impress me in the least and has absolutely no appeal for me.”

Maybe this is the reason why NCB advocates congregate at websites and message boards that ban anyone who disagrees. They thrive on the illusion that someone, anyone, is impressed with their pretend “achievement” and can’t bear the reality that the overwhelming majority of people couldn’t care less.