A few weeks ago I met some of my college friends for drinks (love when I have the opportunity to do that!). One of them I hadn't seen since college and so we never really got to discuss all the juicy little details of my pregnancy and delivery.
Here's a portion of our conversation during our second round of mojitos (love 'em!):
Her: So did you beg and scream and cry for the drugs?
Me: Nope. I had a natural delivery.
Her: Whoa! OMG! Wasn't that painful?!
Me: Umm... yea. But I wanted a natural delivery so to fool myself and trick my body to go for it, I kept referring to my contractions as "intense" instead of "excruciatingly painful."
Her: Wow! Aren't you a woman?! (She then turned to everyone at the bar to tell them the tale of my natural delivery and to get confirmation that that's what made me a "woman.")
During my pregnancy when I decided that I wanted to have a natural delivery, never once did I figure that that decision made me more of a woman than someone who used an epidural or any other form of pain relief. I just made the decision because I felt that it was the right choice for me and my situation.
I'm terrified of needles and the thought of having an epidural scared the bejesus out of me.
I labored as long as I could at home (in Brooklyn, NY) and then we (daddy dearest, my sister, and me) took a taxi to the hospital (in Manhattan). By the time we got to the hospital, I was already 5 cm dilated so I figured, hey, I could go the rest of the way without the meds.
After being stuck at 5 cm for some time, my OB/GYN wanted to give me a drop of pitocin to get the labor going again, but she didn't because as soon as she made that announcement, I had two of the strongest contractions known to mankind (at which point I was screaming and hollering like a maniac!). But they pushed me to 7 cm.
I always tell people that I think it's because my body knew that I didn't want the epidural and if my OB/GYN would have given me the pitocin, I may have asked for the epidural after all. Who knows?
But that's a total tangent. Back to the point. What makes a woman a woman? I had my son naturally. But does that make me more of a woman?
At this point in time, I'm choosing not to have any more children. Does that make me less of a woman than someone who wants to have more than one child?
I've decided to put my son in preschool 5 days a week so that I can work and go to graduate school. Does that make me more or less of a woman than someone who puts their kid(s) in preschool 2 days a week? Or a SAHM?
I think that getting into the "Mommy/Woman Wars" is very dangerous territory. Isn't it really about exercising choice? What's right for you and yours?
Any mommy who carries a child for nine months, gets it out anyway they choose, and raises it to the best of their ability is definitely woman enough for me. And any woman who exercises the best choice for themselves and their family is also woman enough. Not just woman. Super woman.
Cheers to all you fabulous Super Women out there! You deserve a medal.