I'm getting a little sick and tired of having to defend my choices both in parenting and life lately. As I reach my 30th week of pregnancy, I am bombarded daily with random strangers asking some very personal questions and then turning around and questioning my answers, as though I have offended them somehow by NOT choosing the answer they had concocted in their brains.
For example, a random woman, never seen her before in my life, commented on "how big" I was and proceeded to rub my belly. I'm kind of used to the invasion of my personal space by strangers since it seems that having tattoos gives people the notion that coming up to grab my arms and say "Does that mean something?" is ok. The belly rub isn't what irked me, though. The fact that this woman proceeded to ask me if I was going to breast feed did. Ok, um, what business is it of yours "Strange Woman at Publix"? Are you really concerned with my boobs that much? When I answered "yes" she said, "Oh good! It's better that you don't give them formula. It's pretty much poison." Ooookkkk thank you, random stranger for your idiotic "fact".
Look, if you don't want to feed your kids formula, go for it. If you want to nurse your kid until they are 40 years old and in law school, fine with me. But let me tell you something. Dante had both breast milk and formula and he's not dead. As a matter of fact he's sitting here annoying the #$%$@ out of me asking me to play "knights" with him and then to look at his butt. He's very much alive, healthy, and now singing a song about saying "Hello in the telephone" that I am assuming he just made up 3 seconds ago.
I kind of looked at this lady funny and said, "well have a good day" and sauntered on. I kind of wish I had walked into the formula aisle and grabbed a whole mess and filled my cart up as I walked past her, but the "mature" person in me said, "Forget it, there's a jar of Nutella in aisle two that has your name on it".
But that was really not the straw that broke the camel's back.
I visited my endocrinologist today whom I haven't seen in quite a while. Normally when I go to the endo I see the practitioner and the nurses who just take my blood and then "discuss" the results with me. But today I got to see the head honcho, the doctor whose name is on the door, and whose been following my thyroid ups and downs (mostly downs) since March of 2009. So, if course, my pregnancy is a big topic of conversation, since my thyroid seems to have gone out of business since I've gotten pregnant, and of course I get the question, "When are you due?". And I say, innocently, "I go in on July 20th at 5:30am".
I say, "innocently" because I don't expect anything other than, "Oh that's great!" or "Wow! That's coming up soon!". Instead I get a clicking of the teeth, a sigh, a disappointed look of scorn and the phrase, "A C-Section then? Why would you do that?"
So, of course I go into massive detail about the horrible problems I had delivering Dante. Between the 30 plus hours of labor, the fact that I was 41 weeks and had to be induced, and the fact that after pushing to exhaustion and immense pain, it was determined that Mrs. Lady Parts down below was on strike and wasn't going to open her doors to let anyone or anything out. Consequently, between me pushing, Dante straining to get out, things got hairy (not like that) and Dante's heart rate started going down and I started "giving up" and the doctors decided to C-Section me. It was not "forced" upon me, nor it was done hastily or because the doctors "didn't feel like helping me push" as that stupid Ricky Lake movie, The Business of Being Born would like you to think EVERY C-Section is like, but rather an INFORMED decision after I, the mother in labor, had struggled for quite some time and my unborn child was stuck and in distress.
So I go through all of this story and retelling with my endocrinologist and she starts LECTURING me about how I should not have another C-Section, "just because your doctor told you to", and that she had 600 VBACs after her first child was born and that she was fine and that I was "selling yourself short of a miraculous experience" and that just because I had trouble with the first run, I may not have trouble with this one. I felt like I was being cross examined and I didn't like it. I tried to explain to her that my choice and my feelings were that the risks of a VBAC outweighed this "miraculous" experience and that I wasn't going to risk my health or Mr. Bean's just to "try it out". You "try out" shoes or cars or new foods. Not giving birth in the safest possible RECOMMENDED way by your doctor. Yet, my endo kept insisting to the point where I just had to tell her that it was my choice and that was that. I got a little snippy, I think and rightfully so.
Where do people think it is ok to, in essence, DEMAND that you do things their way? Whether I breast feed or formula feed, C-section or vaginal birth, cloth diaper or disposable, circumcise or not, indoctrinate into religion or not is really nobody's business by mine and my husband's. And it certainly doesn't give anyone the right to interrogate me like I'm some sort of murderer on Law and Order. (Although maybe if Vincent D'Onofrio was the one grilling me about this stuff, I wouldn't mind as much).
I see it all the time. People ask such personal questions of pregnant mothers that it's really as though as our belly grows our self-respect somehow fades and people think you can say or do anything to us and it's ok. Do I walk up to random men on the street and say, "Hey, when you masturbate are you a lefty or a righty?" or to random women, "Do you wipe front to back or back to front"? Yet people see a pregnant woman and think they can ask pretty much the same questions and then attack you when you don't give the "right" answer.
Hang on...wait....I think I hear that jar of Nutella calling to me from the kitchen. Let me go take my non-working vagina, forced C-section, breast feeding but also formula poisoning ass over there and see what it wants.