You thought the breastapo was bad? You haven't met the birth story braggers, writes Victoria Kennedy
I was recently enjoying a night out with a mum friend when she made a shock confession – she told me she somehow felt she had ‘failed’ as a woman by requiring an emergency Caesarean delivery for her baby.
Take a moment to think about that. She felt she had FAILED because a medical team had decided that the safest way for her baby to enter the world was with an emergency operation.
I completely understood what she meant though. While people previously joked about the ‘breastapo’ of mums who would put pressure on other women to breastfeed, there is now a new breed of women: the birth story braggers. The women who are so proud of their labouring prowess they make you feel embarrassed to admit you couldn’t do childbirth on your own.
This week Katie Hopkins revealed she understood this pressure. The mum-of-three told listeners to her LBC radio show that she feels like ‘a proper mum’ because she gave birth naturally.
‘I do feel like a proper mum because I gave birth to my children without much fuss,’ she explained. ‘Ultimately birth is a physical process. It might not be that pretty… but it is just a physical process. I do think sometimes that mums just need to get on with it a bit.’
She added: ‘One of my babies was 14lbs. She came out without a problem, or a stitch, or any gas and air!’
While I’m delighted Katie had such a positive birth experience (ain’t that the dream, ladies?) it’s hard not to read between the lines that she’s implying you’re NOT a proper mum if you do reach for the drugs.
And this is wrong. So very, very wrong.
Childbirth is possibly the hardest physical thing a woman will ever do in her life. (I can only assume Sienna Miller was still high on some serious hormones when she said she ‘loved it’ and ‘would do that day a million times again’.)
But you soon realise it’s pretty insignificant in the grand scheme of motherhood. In fact, if you’re Kate Middleton it’s over quicker than a box-set session.
Nope the moment you realise you’re ‘a proper mum’ is the moment it hits you that a tiny human is entirely dependent on your existence. Or the moment your baby projectile voms down your cleavage and you can’t get angry with them about it. Or the day you tell them for the first time ‘Mummy will kiss it better’ and they trust that you can.
I have utmost respect for the hero mums who manage to give birth without any pain relief. But I also have humungous respect for the women who undergo a C-section and then have to take care of a newborn as well as themselves as they recover.
‘You do have to be a bit tough to be a woman,’ Katie said.
You’re right Katie. You bloody do. But it’s from the moment AFTER someone cuts your baby’s umbilical cord that that toughness really matters.