Thursday, January 12, 2012

Mind Your Own Vag....

Ok. That was a little blunt. But, seriously people...Mind your OWN Vag.
Let me explain what I mean.

This is a lovely phrase I picked up during my pregnancy with Monkey from an online parenting forum. As all forums go, there was arguing about every single detail regarding the pregnancy and the postpartum stage.

I am going into Exaggeration Mode.

OB or Midwife?
The OB is going to force you into a C-section to accomodate his golf schedule.
The Midwife will be a quack and you'll end up getting a C-section anyway.
Both scenerios can kill you.

Medicated or Unmedicated Birth?
You are CRAZY if you think that you can get through labor without drugs. It is horrific, it is the closest you will ever come to dying, and you will be begging for them.
You are CRAZT if you think you need drugs to get through labor. It is beautiful, it is natural, and there is no reason to need drugs because you will get a natural high from the natural hormones.

You need to eat your regular diet, no restrictions.
Wait! Don't eat hot dogs. Or lunch meat. Ever. Damn listeria.
Don't eat fish. Your baby will get too much mercury and damage baby's brain.
Eat fish. Your baby needs the Omega-3s to develop a healthy brain.
STOP----only eat organic and hormone-free.
You wouldn't want a sickly baby that is all "Hulk-ed" up on growth hormones.

Birth Plans?
You NEED a birth plan to ensure that you know what you want, your provider knows what you want, and you get the birth that you want.
You are SILLY for making a birth plan because it is going to happen and it will never go to plan, so why make one?

Breastfeeding/Formula Feeding?
You are crazy if you think your baby will be better with breastmilk. Formula-fed babies sleep better, so clearly breastmilk is not enough and you are starving your baby.
You are crazy if you think you baby will be better with formula. Breastfed babies are healthier because formula is poison.
If you co-sleep, your baby will be at a higher risk for SIDS. And you will never get any sleep. And baby will get spoiled and never be independent.
If you co-sleep, your baby will be at a lower risk for SIDS. And you will get a lot more sleep. And baby will be more independent because they know you are there for them.

And a MILLION more debates.

Many of us on that forum had strong opinions, there is evidence for each issue that can be thrown back and forth, and each side feels they are right. The above are just some of the generalizations that one side would make about the other. Without fail, someone with the opposite opinion would swoop in and try to convert the "unintelligent" masses.

Someone would ask about hospital policies, like how long a the usual testing and bath takes in the nursery after birth. This would prompt a helpful soul to descend on the post, lecturing that baby shouldn't go to the nursery, that the testing is not beneficial, that the bath is not necessary, and that the original poster should have a homebirth so that she could keep baby with her at all times and not deal with hospital policy.

On the flip side, someone would ask about homebirth, like what to include in their supply kit. This would prompt another helpful soul to descend, stating that the only thing she should put in her supply kit is a hospital, that she needs to go to an OB immediately and since she is not getting proper prenatal care, and that she should have a hospital birth so that she and the baby do not die.

So in both situations, the woman had already made her decision, was asking for advice about one aspect of it, and had someone else barge in and tell her everything she was doing wrong and that she needed to do it the RIGHT way. The woman must clearly not be fully educated on the topic because if she knew about A, B, and C she would have made a different decision. CLEARLY.

When these Nosy Nellies would butt in with their lectures instead of answering the question that the poster had, they were often told this simple phrase:

Mind Your Own Vag.

That's right. Most of the time, you should only be concerned with YOUR own vagina. You should not lecture other women on what they are doing with theirs. You should not think that your way is the only way that is right because it is right for YOU. And this isn't just about your birth choices. "Mind your own vag" can actually be applied to most parenting debates.

I've developed some pretty strong opinions on many of the topics that were debated during my pregnancy with Monkey. But, even I realize that what is right for me may not be right for someone else. I loved my unmedicated birth with Monkey and it was less painful than my medicated births. But I know some woman love their epidural births and some love their C-section births.

I will not play the Mommier-Than-Thou card and pretend that any woman is uneducated and selfish for making decisions different than mine. But, I have seen women on different sides of all the pregnancy issues be made to feel that way by others on the online parenting forum and in my daily life. And that makes me sad. And angry.

I did research into each decision I made, but did more research into specific issues that seemed most important to ME. I did research into how beneficial an unmedicated birth can be. If I had planned for an epidural or C-section, I would likely have been looking for positive research about those issues. No matter where your personal opinion lies, there is likely some medical research somewhere to back up your position. So at this point, it becomes a matter of personal opinion about what is best for YOU.

And who am I to tell YOU what is best for YOU? I don't know your specific situation, your history, etc. I do not know if you made a decision without learning about all the possibilities or if you researched them all painstakingly and made your decision. Just like someone else does not know what steps I followed to make my decisions.

I ran into this while pregnant with Monkey. Some people just could not understand why I would make the decisions I was making. But, that's ok. *I* knew why I was making them and felt secure in them. So it was fine if they felt differently on the issue.

But this is where a thin line is drawn. There is a vast difference between respectfully having opposing opinions on an issue and going on a mission to use any opportunity to "educate" that person on their "bad" decision.

I ran into a few people like that while pregnant with Monkey. They would turn every conversation so they could start telling me all the things THEY did, how much research backs up THEIR position, and how all these studies show that MY decision is wrong. Some of these people did not have children. Or had them 20 or 40 years ago. This aggressiveness came from some family, friends, and even strangers in line at the grocery store. And after learning the phrase "mind your own vag," I had to wonder....

WHY do they have their nose stuck in MY VAG?

Why do they care so much that I make the decision that THEY feel is right for me. Shouldn't they be supporting MY decision? I mean, clearly, if they wanted to bring some research or their own experience to my attention, GREAT! But it should not be turned into a persuasive speech and attack on my decision.

And I'm not referring to the well-meaning people. This is not about the people that ask, "Oh, why are you doing it that way?" or "I know that you are planning to _______, did you see the research about _________?" There is a marked difference between a discussion and a full on personal attack on a person's decision.

I try my hardest to not fall into this trap. I know that other women make different decisions than me. The way I see it, the only thing I can do is tell them what resources helped me, the personal decisions I made, and the experience I had with that decision. I do not tell them that they need to make the same decisions that I did. I do not corner them with a prepared speech to convince them to change their decision or send out articles to them to show them that their decision is wrong.

Because, when it comes down to it, I only care that each woman have a healthy pregnancy, a happy birth, and a healthy baby. All with as few complications as possible.

I don't care if you have a homebirth. I don't care if you have a hospital birth. I don't care if you get an epidural. I don't care if you have a C-section. I don't care if you get the boys from The Big Bang Theory to build you a teleporter to beam your baby out of your belly.

I don't care because I am minding my OWN vag. Your decisions do not affect the decisions that I am making for me. They do not affect my decisions for the birth I want. They do not affect the type of parent I want to be.

So as long as we both have the same goals (healthy pregnancy, happy birth, healthy baby), WHY does it matter so much if we make different decisions to achieve them? Do we really need to be enemies because of it?

I am confident that I am making the right choices for me and my family.

So do me a favor.
Mind your own vag.

Be supportive of the decisions that another woman makes about her vag, even if you do not agree with it. Share your knowledge. Share your insight. Share the things that led you to making a decision that you feel is best for your family.

But do not cross the line. Do not go from sharing your knowledge and experience to lecturing and implying that the person is a bad parent because they are making different decisions. Do not attack or belittle someone else's decision because it is different than the one you made. Just as you have important reasons for making the decisions that are best for your family, the other person is likely doing the same.

So mind your own vag. Because in the end, you probably don't want some Nosy Nellie's nose stuck in yours, interfering with your decisions.

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