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To discuss childbirth in public

76 replies

bumblenbean · 05/10/2018 17:11

Something happened today which upset me and would like to know if others think I or the other people were being unreasonable.

I had my second baby 3 weeks ago. Labour (and the aftermath) with my first baby was extremely difficult and traumatic, whereas this time round the birth was luckily Much quicker and easier (although extremely painful as no time for epidural).

I was out for lunch today with a friend who is 2 weeks from giving birth to her first baby. She’s naturally quite nervous and asked me about the birth this time round as she knows how badly things went last time. So I explained about the experience this time, waters breaking, what contractions felt like, the pain levels, what actual birth felt like etc. We were talking at normal volume (I hate it when people have really loud conversations that everyone else has to listen to and have always been pretty ‘discreet’ in that sense) and I didn’t say anything that I would consider offensive or TMI (on the basis that she wanted the details). The only remotely TMI thing I said was what it felt like when waters broke (that my leggings were soaked through as if I’d stepped under the shower and that I had to get changed several times). I also said that at the moment the baby came out I felt like I was going to be sick as if I was having a reflex sensation at the same time as the contraction.

The people at the next table had been paying their bill when the conversation began (young couple mid/ late 20s). As they stood up to leave the woman said loudly ‘that’s disgusting’ while giving us a dirty look. As they walked past her boyfriend sneered sarcastically ‘enjoy your lunch’ and they walked away.

My friend and I were both so taken aback we didn’t react immediately but when I realised they were talking to us I called after him ‘I’m sorry discussing the process of childbirth offends you’. He threw a dirty look over his shoulder but they continued walking out.

For context we were sitting on an outside roof terrace, there were plenty of conversations going on around us and I couldn’t hear anyone else’s conversation. We certainly weren’t talking loudly, although nor were we whispering since it didn’t occur to us anyone would be listening let alone being mortally offended. I consider myself pretty ‘socially aware’ so to speak, and considerate of how my behaviour could affect those around me. I just genuinely never thought this conversation was an issue.

We were both upset by the incident and I felt like it put a dampener on our meet up. I felt ashamed like I’d been discussing something awful. But at the same time we were also both angry about it because it seemed so unnecessary and passive aggressive. If they really were offended ( and I don’t see what’s shameful about childbirth) they could have said something to us ‘face to face’ so to speak rather than as they were walking away, thus not giving us a chance to respond.

I could understand if we’d been going into graphic detail or talking loudly, but we weren’t. They’d also finished their meal so couldn’t have been put off their food or anything, which at a stretch I suppose I could understand. If they had said something while still at their table i would have apologised for offending them but explained that I didn’t think it was an inappropriate conversation and that perhaps they shouldn’t listen to other people’s conversations.

I would also have probably found it easier to just dismiss the experience if it had been a couple of teenage ‘lads’ saying something like that but I was really surprised a woman made the comment. Maybe that’s not even relevant.

So were we BU to discuss childbirth in public or was their reaction over the top? Prepared to be told I’m in the wrong but as I was quite upset by it I’m interested to hear what other people think.

OP posts:
bumblenbean · 05/10/2018 17:12

(Apologies for the essay!) Shock

OP posts:
combatbarbie · 05/10/2018 17:18

I think you just destroyed their innocence that the stork brought them.....

I would not think twice about it! I've had that conversation many times in public.... pfft if people are going to be prudes then that's their issue

PeasAreGreat · 05/10/2018 17:21

YANBU - they need to get over themselves, childbirth is the most natural thing, and shouldn't be a bloody taboo subject.


Beebopdooowopdo · 05/10/2018 17:22

I haven’t given birth and I really don’t wish to hear other people’s birth stories. I grin and bare (sp?!) for my friends but honestly, the topic is pretty grim. I get that women who have been through it do like to talk about it but if you haven’t done it...not a pleasant topic to hear.

I would never have said anything to you though. So, no I don’t think it is a particularly nice topic to over hear but nor do I think it warrants anyome complaining rudely at you.

Beebopdooowopdo · 05/10/2018 17:24

Also- childbirth might be natural but so is sex, having the shits, pissing and farting. Some topics you just want to hear about. I don’t think that makes me innocent or a twat.

onanothertrain · 05/10/2018 17:25

Personally its not what i' d want to hear when I was trying to eat my lunch

Ohyesiam · 05/10/2018 17:25

Some people think that women's bodies are just for sex, and even the upshot of the sex is bursting their little bubble.

DeadGood · 05/10/2018 17:25

YANBU OP. Extra asshole points to that couple by delivering their message via parting shot.

LikeIcare · 05/10/2018 17:26

I wouldn't be impressed if my nice lunch out had that conversation for a soundtrack.

dinosaurkisses · 05/10/2018 17:27

I can see both sides tbh.

One the one hand, having now been through pregnancy and childbirth I’m waaaaay more blasé about what happens and much more comfortable talking about things I previously might have found a bit embarrassing.

On the other hand, given the environment you describe it sounds like they’d actively have had to try to listen in. It’s actually not that difficult to block out another diners conversation in a restaurant when you’re chatting, eating and drinking yourself.

As for the shock that it was a woman who was so affronted- I bet she doesn’t fart in front of her boyfriend either.

PinguDance · 05/10/2018 17:29

I think yanbu - they could easily have tuned you out by just having their own coversation of it was a busy terrace environment. Also I love overhearing an unusual conversation so if ppl stop doing it I won’t be able to eavesdrop.

JLG19 · 05/10/2018 17:30

I thought this was going to about the conversation I just had on the train Grin

YANBU, OP. The lady in the pub garden this summer, who was proclaiming as loud as she could about her birth experience, and looking around to make sure as many people heard as possible, was BU.

bumblenbean · 05/10/2018 17:30

Thanks for the reassurance guys! Was starting to worry my judgement was way off!

bee fair point- I see what you’re saying. But as I say we weren’t going into graphic detail about the more intimate side of it so I don’t think that was much to offend!

OP posts:
bumblenbean · 05/10/2018 17:32

My thoughts exactly dead!

I can see it might not be the nicest thing to overhear while eating but they were paying the bill by then anyway ...

OP posts:
WorraLiberty · 05/10/2018 17:34

They found your discussion of bodily fluids and sick, 'disgusting'.

They didn't say they were offended or mortally offended.

It's quite possible to be disgusted at something without 'offence' being taken.

I wouldn't have said anything to you, but I probably would have thought it wasn't the right place for such a conversation tbh.

ThanksHunkyJesus · 05/10/2018 17:34

Having had a traumatic birth, hearing someones birth story when I didn't invite it would probably trigger some very unpleasant feelings. I'd be really pissed off it someone was talking about that in detail in a cafe ffs. Even without my background it's Not what you want to hear about when people are eating their lunch I don't care how natural it is.

Ohluckyme · 05/10/2018 17:35

Mmmm I’m not sure. It can be VERY upsetting for some people to have to listen to. After loosing a baby myself, other people discussing labour whilst I’m trying to enjoy a lunch out is really truly horrible. It actually happened to me a few days ago and myself and my husband were so upset we paid our cheque and left early. I think it’s very important for you to talk about your experiences with birth but perhaps in a setting such as a restaurant, were people go to enjoy themselves, isn’t the best place. The couple were snotty to you though and completely in the wrong to say anything.

BlueBug45 · 05/10/2018 17:59

Unfortunately I would say YABU.

Due to family and friends' jobs when I go out with particular people to restaurants, cafes and pubs we are extremely careful of how we talk about bodily functions and things that could be traumatic in general as people can overhear and
could be extremely upset/triggered.

I've also found men get upset more than women about these sorts of things.

AuntBeastie · 05/10/2018 18:04

I really don’t enjoy hearing birth stories and find them horribly uncomfortable. But I wouldn’t have said anything to you, because I think you also have the right to talk about what you like. I might have moved away so I couldn’t hear it.

Moussemoose · 05/10/2018 18:05

Don't be nosey, enjoy your own conversation and you won't hear what other people are talking about.

To hear the detail of someone's conversation on an outside terrace in a packed restaurant while you are chatting yourself is nearly impossible.

Some people choose to be offended.

Johnnyfinland · 05/10/2018 18:11

I haven’t given birth and don’t even want kids and I really wouldn’t care if you were talking about this, providing you weren’t being loud or doing it in an overly attention seeking way (which it sounds like you weren’t, and in the case of loud attention seekers it’s the attitude rather than the topic that pisses me off anyway).

If people find it upsetting or ‘triggering’ I think they need to accept that you can’t go through life never encountering anything you find offensive or traumatic. It’s up to them to develop coping mechanisms, not th rest of the world to pander to people’s anxieties

user1471426142 · 05/10/2018 18:23

You can talk about what you want. It’s not like you were being raucous, swearing or shouting etc. Those are the people I hate in a restaurant. Unless you were speaking really loudly they must have been tuned in to your conversation rather than chatting themselves. Childbirth shouldn’t be a taboo topic of conversation.


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RB68 · 05/10/2018 18:25

I don't think it should be taboo but time and place should feature - lunch- not sure it was the best choice

meow1989 · 05/10/2018 18:32

Oh dear, some of the discussions that I've had with my healthcare colleagues would cause far more offence I think!
You were discussing a natural thing, I can't find myself getting upset about it (but as noted above, not much turns my stomach), perhaps they shouldn't have been listening so intently.
Equally, if someone said to me politely "sorry, would you mind keeping it down or changing the subject" rather than sit and seethe and make a pointed comment after the fact, I'd of course do so.

BertieBotts · 05/10/2018 18:32

IMO, they were being rude listening in on your conversation.

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