AIBU to think I should be able to discuss my birth w/o being called a show-off?

(54 Posts)

Hey, I'm a first time poster.

I've just joined a few mother and baby groups after having my DD 9 weeks ago because I'm going stir-crazy at home. Most have turned out well, but I had a bad experience at one and probably won't be going back.

I'm pretty sensitive about my birth still, although I realize I am pretty lucky at the same time (I had planned to have a hospital birth but ended up with an unplanned home birth because my DD decided to come extremely quickly, basically I started bleeding, walked downstairs my waters went and four minutes later she was delivered by my DM before we had time to phone an ambulance.) It was pretty scary because there was no-one with medical training there to help me, I was worried that my DD could be hurt, I didn't get to hold her properly until we were at the hospital because I was in shock, I ended up getting two 1st degree tears stitched without enough local anesthetic and I was hysterical because I have a pretty severe phobia of needles.

We were all sat around discussing our births because one of the women was due any day, they were being quite competitive, 'Oh, I had an emergency c-section,' and 'I was in labor for 29 hours' if you get what I mean. I mentioned mine and one of the ladies told me that 'no-one likes a show-off' in a jokey/serious kind of way. I explained that I knew I was lucky it was so quick but it wasn't the best experience because of the reasons above and was accused of being silly and asked why I got pregnant if I was scared of needles.

I'm pissed with myself too because usually I'd be the first to tell them to take a long walk off of a short pier, but instead I kept shtum. AIBU?

DeepRedBetty Wed 10-Apr-13 17:07:08

yanbu, but that's the thing about mother and baby groups - some are nice, some are nasty, some are mostly nice but contain a couple of infuriating queen bee cahs. Just keep going to the nice ones and leave the bitchy ones to stew in their own juices.

And congrats on your dd after such a traumatic start!

TigerSwallowtail Wed 10-Apr-13 17:08:20

Yanbu, and your birth sounds terrifying, you must have been so scared. Those women sound quite mean, I'd avoid them too if I were you.

Congratulation on your little one smile

Yeah, it doesn't help that I look about 12, which I think gets a lot of people's backs up straight away sad. I definitely won't be going back, I felt really sorry for the woman who was due, to be honest, the last thing you want to hear is a bunch of horror stories.

But thanks for the congrats!

TimeIsACurrency Wed 10-Apr-13 17:11:23

She was a knob. Don't let it get you down. Just stick to the nice groups. And congratulations! smile

Cherriesarelovely Wed 10-Apr-13 17:11:26

Yanbu but it shows that many people are sensitive about their birth experiences. Hope you are healing well and enjoying your lovely Dd.

Ugh, read my post back, I hope it doesn't look like I'm trying to brag about how awful it was!

digerd Wed 10-Apr-13 17:12:41

If it was just the one woman - can't call her a lady- who scorned and scoffed at your fear of needles and your decision to have a baby, I'd give the group another try.
It does depend on her tone of voice, but I wouldn't like it unless her tone of voice was a concerned one for you and how brave you were?

YANBU to feel offended at all.

One woman told me no-one likes a show-off, she did it in a 'I'm being serious but I'll say it in a jokey way so I don't sound like a cow' kind of way. The other comments came from different women, so, yeah, probably better not to go back.

It's hard. No one can know how your birth felt except you. I remember a baby group where one woman and I were discussing our births. We had literally the same story. Only difference was that she had PTSD and was really messed up and I wasn't.

If you want to, give them a chance. If not, walk away. I had to dump one baby group. Bunch of cliquey arseholes. I stole the best two people and buggered off. And, I'm 40 and look it smile

Flobbadobs Wed 10-Apr-13 17:15:26

Ah competitive birthing grin
Bugger all showing off in your story, it sounds terrifying! Congratulations on your baby, find a good group to suit you both and avoid this one.
Fwiw, I don't like needles, had an amnio lt time, almost wet myself when I saw the size of it. And I'm rh neg so being jabbed in the arm comes with the territory, not sure why a fear of needles should stop anyone having a baby tbh confused

puddock Wed 10-Apr-13 17:16:31

The first remark about being a show off might have been jokey - but going on as she did (was that all the same woman?) was really mean.
Good time for the classic MN response "Did you mean to be so rude?" I'd say...

Yanbu at all, I can't stand people who are like that either.

I remember with ds I was sitting on the ward with 4 other women, we were all eating our lunch and they started this 'my placenta broke into two bits I nearly died', 'oh really, you are so lucky, my placenta broke into 10 bits and I died twice', 'oh my God I wish I only died twice, my doctor said mine was the most traumatic birth in all the world' crap.

Either tell them to fuck off, or make up some really ultra smug birth story to deliberatly piss them off (I would do the latter)

Congrats on your dd flowers

WhenSheWasBadSheWasHopeful Wed 10-Apr-13 17:17:32

Tbh I would say that kind of thing. If everyone was sat around comparing birth stories I would say "no one likes a show of" in a jokey way.

It would be may say of saying "well you clearly win the worst birth story then." As you don't know the people very well I would just assume she meant no offence and just has an odd sense of humour.

If she's still making you uncomfortable next time you see her then she's best avoided.

MolotovCocktail Wed 10-Apr-13 17:18:38

At 9 weeks post-partum, it's still very early days. They don't sound like a post-natal group I'd like to be part of, so you're better off finding a new group, I think (there are lots of lovely mums out there smile )

Anyway, I was chatting to a much older friend of mine (she's 60 now) about 4 years ago, after my dd1 was born. I'd had an incredibly long labour, episiotomy and ventouse delivery with her, whereas my friend had laboured and delivered in just 4 hours. I said something like to her "you're so lucky! I wish mine had been like that!" And she just said "I wasn't lucky. I was terrified. It all happened so fast that I went into shock. And the less said about the way I tore, the better".

I've had a different perspective ever since. A fast labour doesn't mean an easier time. So, yeah, fuck'em and their narrow minds!

Flobbadobs, yeah, needles where the last thing on my mind when I was getting pregnant. grin

Puddock, I'll remember that one for the future. grin

She was a bitch. I really don't understand why some women feel the need to be competative about births, as long as you both survive and are healthy that is all that matters. One bitch woman had a friend of mine in tears because my friend had to have an emergency c-section. Apparently she didn't try hard enough to have a natural birth!

And as for the why get pregnant if you are scared of needles, I got that one. I pointed out that I wasn't planning on giving birth to a hypodermic needle (I waver between passive agressive and downright agressive depending on mood!)

Molotov, yeah, I get the 'you're so lucky' a lot. I don't think most women do understand that sometimes fast isn't better.

Agreed about the needle, Glen. grin

Sorry if I'm not replying to everyone!

Vilt Wed 10-Apr-13 18:21:23

All my labours were very fast and dd2 was born at home before any medical help arrived. I also found it terrifying. And I also have had all the, oh lucky you, comments. I didn't feel lucky. I felt very traumatised. Just sending my sympathy I guess. And YANBU x

bumperella Wed 10-Apr-13 18:23:34

I can't really imagine how scary it would be to give birth at home without medical help, esp for your first. As my obstretrician freind said to me " it's usually quite fun getting them in there, but can be hell getting them out again."

I had a planned CS under GA (initially signed up for a home birth, but CS and no spinal/epidural became a medical necessity) and it was a truely awful experience that i could easily cry about now, 2 years on. But people still come out with the same "lucky you"/"too posh to push" type crap. I'd say that the womans' comments were not about you, or about your experience, but entirely about what a bitch she is.

Vilt, thanks, it's nice to know you're not the only one. smile

Bumperella, I can't believe people would actually say you're lucky or too posh to push, so insensitive.

DireRear Wed 10-Apr-13 18:27:23

Don't get pregnant if you don't like needles? confused

Did you check with her what other phobias were acceptable? Spiders? Heights?

What a freakazoid. Ignore! And congrats on mini-GAMS.

specialsubject Wed 10-Apr-13 18:32:52

what a boring way to spend time! The birth is done for most of you, and I can't imagine the still-pregnant woman would want to hear war stories.

sounds like you should find a mother and baby group where they have something else to talk about?

grin @ DireRead, I should have asked her.

Good idea Special.

MiaowTheCat Wed 10-Apr-13 18:44:05

I can't think of anything I'd rather do less than sit around comparing birth stories (possibly sit around comparing tears and stitches would come close). I only ever do very edited highlights of mine (like MIL rolling in, pulling up a chair and sitting down and the other bits of utter absurdity that happened) in a joking way - because I ended up with fairly severe PTSD and utterly wrecked by one of them and the other was so fast (kind of like yours - I don't so much labour as waters go > bang > baby) that there's nowt much to say on it (thankfully I had a good hunch I was going to explode and had got to hospital at least)... but I do get the "lucky" comments about that one when people hear how fast it was (they didn't get the week and a half of being in and out of hospital with threatened preterm labour, the steroids, drips and hospital food experience).

As for insensitive - I (like lots of prem mums) have been told before that we were lucky not to have to push out a full term, full birth weight baby. That one's pretty insensitive - I just considered myself blessed not to have to push out the wretched plastic box I felt I'd given birth to when she was in incubators and then covered cots for phototherapy at one point!

Fast = you're limited on pain relief as they won't give you 'owt till you officially dilate; no point agonising over things like epidurals and the like since you won't have the time to get one and having to live on tenterhooks getting toward full term if you know you're prone to delivering like that (and crossing your legs every rush hour when you know the hospital run will take a little while longer). I'm definitely not having any more and one factor IS my increasingly fast deliveries coupled with never going to full-term - I just don't feel I can risk it.

BalloonSlayer Wed 10-Apr-13 18:45:15

I think people can't imagine how frightening a fast birth can be.

I have a friend who has very quick births and she said much the same as you - it's awful, terrifying.

Yet I still feel a bit jealous, because I can't get my head around her experience . . . even though I know what she says and take it in, and what you say and take it in, still in my heart of hearts there is a part of me that is thinking "yeah but four minutes and having to be stitched up must be so much better than 24 hours and having to be stitched up."

And I think that's probably the case with a lot of people, sadly. But she was very rude to speak to you like that.

Oh my gosh Miaow, I think being told you're lucky your baby was premature is even worse! How horrible, some people need to engage their brain before they bloody speak. angry

Balloon, I understand what you're saying. I don't think I would have coped with an extremely long birth, so I understand that I am lucky to have a short one, it's just not as nice as other people assume it is!

EmmaGellerGreen Wed 10-Apr-13 18:51:53

I had a bloody awful, long labour with DS but tbh yours sounding terrifying and much worse. Ignore them and congratulations!

EmmaGellerGreen Wed 10-Apr-13 18:51:53

I had a bloody awful, long labour with DS but tbh yours sounding terrifying and much worse. Ignore them and congratulations!

Meglet Wed 10-Apr-13 18:54:29


AnyoneforTurps Wed 10-Apr-13 18:57:52

YANBU. When I read the thread title, I thought you were going to be some ultra-competitive type who'd given birth while doing pilates in a moonlit meadow grin. But clearly you're not showing off at all. Ignore them.

redexpat Wed 10-Apr-13 19:39:22

I read your post and thought gosh that sounds quite frightening actually. Ignore the bitch. If it was just one woman who said it then I would give the group another go. People can be very insensitive and open their mouths before engaging their brains. But this seems to intensify around the subject of childbirth...

bluestar2 Wed 10-Apr-13 19:54:11

Take no notice of the silly women. Fast births are horrendous particularly if its your first. I had both, my first was very long , episiostomy and ventouse delivery and second in under 2 hours. I was literally terrified, I couldn't understand why I wasn't coping as well with the pain second time around. The tear was worse for me than the cut and the shock after was scary. People should understand its not a bloody competition and as for people making comments over prem births being easier, how insensitive do u get!

I wouldn't go back to the group but that's because I can't be bothered to deal with the aspects of competitive parenting!

Well done to you and your dm for delivering your Lo safely.

skratta Wed 10-Apr-13 20:16:51

YANBU. Fast births can be and are scary. And...if they were discussing birth stories,, can discuss yours too! I had a nice, plain normal bir with dd3 (four hours, no stitches or tears, limited pain relief, no problems and went home quickly) which was the only birth which went happily for me I guess. I DF like people having competitive mystery (you Bly had to be resuscitated FIVE TIMES? And you think you're unlucky? I was resuscitated TWELVE TIMES!) or competitive amazing birth experiences...

Sorry you had a terrifying birth, it sounds so scary. That sounds really frightening! And congratulations on your DC (9wks to late I say that?)

Panzee Wed 10-Apr-13 20:23:25

You poor thing. My friend had a fast labour, I said "good?" she shook her head. She was in shock. sad

MammaTJ Wed 10-Apr-13 20:23:57

I had one normal birth and two traumatic births, one where DD nearly died, one where I nearly did and DS ended up with ptosis (droopy eyelid) but I would rather have that than what you went through. I was in one of those wonderful buildings they call a hospital. It is full of people who are trained and experienced to help and equipment to be used when needed to!!

I do consider myself lucky, we are all here and reasonably health.

No way would I have prefered the shock of a home birth, sudden and with no medical proffessionals to hand.

Congratulations anyway!!

CloudsAndTrees Wed 10-Apr-13 20:30:02

YANBU. I have been where you are and it's not very nice.

Some people are just horrible people, and pregnancy and early motherhood seems to bring out the worst in some people.

TheNebulousBoojum Wed 10-Apr-13 20:31:23

I think everyone should be able to relate their birth and newborn experiences to a sympathetic audience and be listened to, why go to a group if not to be supportive of each other? I hope you find a nicer group, and no, I wouldn't bother going back.
I dislike competition when the situation should be one of mutual care.
FWIW, I kept quiet about my first experience for a long time. smile
Easy pregnancy with no backache or heartburn or blood pressure issues or nuffink. Reasonably quick labour of less than 7 hours, fine healthy baby who fed like a drain and slept for at least 6 hours a night until she was 6 weeks old and then went to 8 hours. Never possetted.
Can you see what a hate figure I could have been? grin

I never understand this. I've never had this sort of conversation with anyone.

YANBU. Who cares how you gave birth and whether it was quick or not?

Evenin' Gruffs. These unexpected homebirths really are a bugger. Mine was 4am on the bathroom floor and bloody lucky he was that it was the floor and not round the U bend (I can be very athletic when neccessary).

All in all it took about 20 minutes from unexpected start to panic fuelled finish. He was delivered (all 9lbs 12oz of him) by my bemused and confused husband...which served him right as only 4 hours previously he had snuggled up to me and said "three weeks overdue is enough, I'll winkle the bugger out".

I am still dining out on the story...much to the eye rolling embarrassment of my now 38 year old son.

Congratulations on the birth of your lovely daughter and remember this...the first thirty eight years are the worst!

LynetteScavo Wed 10-Apr-13 20:39:58

I feel really sorry for the woman in the group who was still pregnant.

She must have gone home fecking terrified!

LynetteScavo Wed 10-Apr-13 20:46:33

I think there should be somewhere women can unload about their birth stories. I needed to go over and over (mostly in my head) DC1's birth. It was long and hideously painful. DH and I were still traumatised when I got pg with DC2 3.5 years later. I've heard counselling is offered wasn't 14 years ago, and I very nearly made a complaint against the hospital.

Giving birth to DC 3 was a walk in the park. A pain free home birth. Obviously nobody wants to hear about that. I certainly wouldn't soon after DC1's birth! But I think one thing which helped me was so many people telling me "baby 3 is like shelling peas." Positive thinking, and all that.

You see? I still feel the need to off-load now, years later.

PurpleStorm Wed 10-Apr-13 22:27:39


Having an unexpected homebirth sounds terrifying. And it's mean to be making comments like that when people are telling birth stories.

calmlychaotic Wed 10-Apr-13 22:51:58

Don't let it put you off going to groups, I have made some great friends at them. sadly even the nicest people can't seem to help competitive birth stories, the more gruesome the better. Terrified me so much when I was pregnant and I was convinced all births where horrific. I am not allowed to mention mine. It was straightforward, I do try and tel my story to pregnant people to try and redress the balance after all the horror stories they have heard. But if I tell another mum I am accused of showing off. Made me a bit sad in the first few weeks when I wanted to talk about it, suppose in my case its fair enough. Yours sounds scary. Glad you are ok.

MrsMook Wed 10-Apr-13 23:05:49

There's no way to win with a birth story- either you're "showing off" or "scaremongering". All you can do is be honest about your experience, and it does seem to come up as small talk. I suppose you have to go through some version of it to be a mother, so generally there's something to say on the subject.

Mine was one of the long- drawn out types ending up with an emergency CS and other complications in Neo Natal/ HDU. Random strangers who came up and asked "did you have a good birth? were normally silenced by the succinct version "He came out of the emergency exit"

AlbertoFrog Wed 10-Apr-13 23:19:25

Welcome to the world of competitive mothering Gruffalo.

There are mothers out there who will compete about everything, believe me!

Avoid like the plague and try and find a like minded spirit so you can confide in each other, compare and advise.

Failing that just find one who enjoys long walks with cake at the end of it grin

But most of all enjoy each day with your new little DD. It really does go by too quickly.

MiaowTheCat Thu 11-Apr-13 07:24:25

People also lie like mad - cousin was revelling in telling me about her perfect birth, most of the labour at home, went in, had baby, home in 6 hours - doing so at least partially to make me feel like shit since mine had gone so badly, and because she's so insecure she's only got bigging up her parenting and running down everyone else's to make her feel good (she laid into me for being a shit parent since I didn't read to my bump every night type levels of doing so).

I later got the full version of events from her fella - her birth was nothing like she liked to make out.

Quite why people feel the need to lie - apart from the obvious one of omitting gory details to save the feelings of women yet to go through it - is beyond me - but they do.

lljkk Thu 11-Apr-13 09:32:25

I wasn't there, but it sounds like you are taking it all way too seriously.

It's only competitive if you agree to compete. Otherwise it's just a conversation. I think I would have joked about the awfulness of it; how else can you put it behind you?

Only part I would hate was gory details with someone there who is due very soon. Agree about best to omit unpleasant truths around someone in that vulnerable state.

Bejeena Thu 11-Apr-13 10:05:34

To be honest I don't understand why people discuss their births. It is a very private thing and whatever happens in the labour room to me come August I want to stay between me, hubby and the midwives!

lljkk Thu 11-Apr-13 10:30:44

Maybe that's just it. Don't share, especially not with casual acquaintances, if it's near and dear to your heart.

ThreeWheelsGood Thu 11-Apr-13 10:36:32

Yanbu, and well done for getting out and about at 9 Weeks! I couldn't drag myself out til around 14 Weeks. Thankfully I've never met anyone that rude but as with all things in life there will be people you get on with and people you don't. Sounds like you're doing the right thing, just keep trying different groups. none of the mums I met would be dismissive/bitchy like that about someone's birth story, she's not the norm!

bicyclebuiltforfour Thu 11-Apr-13 11:42:47

Have to say, I feel for the other women.

My first birth was a horrible horrible 42hr process, and, to be honest, I was very jealous of anyone who'd had a short labour: as far as I was concerned, I got two days' worth of hell and they only got a few hours of it, so they were the lucky ones.

I know the OP's birth experience was horrible, but maybe the other women also had horrible births, births they truly consider worse than hers. I've been like this myself when around women whose births I'd have paid good money to experience (however inaccurate my perceptions of them were).

One more birth down the line I've come to realise that every birth is unique, and every mother's reaction to it is also unique. Now I just deal with my own feelings about my births and try to empathise with others regardless of my personal feelings about their experiences. Sorry if that sounds sanctimonious!!

OP - congratulations on your baby and I hope that you manage to deal with what happened. Sounds like you did great smile

Oh and Lynette - I love the shelling peas promise: makes me much more willing to discuss having a third with DH wink

Offcolour Thu 11-Apr-13 11:42:52

Lord, I thought you were going to say you'd gone on about how your hypno birthing and positive mental attitude resulted in your perfect birth! Your birth sounds traumatic. Ignore the nasties, don't go back if the group makes you uncomfortable, try a new one. There can be some very odd people at baby groups and some absolutely lovely ones.

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