What would you do?

  1. A few years after I graduated from college, a friend of mine invited me to be one of her supporters at her first birth. Her husband and a few other family members were there, of course. I was flattered. Neither one of us are nurses, but my mother is a pediatric nurse, so I did a little bit of reading about labor and delivery. I viewed my role as a friend and supporter, nothing more.

    Although the birth was considered normal and non-eventful by the professionals who competently attended her, both the mother and I later agreed it was one of the worst experiences of our lives. (She never had another child.) Not only have I never forgotten it, I had nightmares about it for months. The process alone was horrible, and just watching the pain she experienced literally made me vomit when I finally was able to leave and get in my car. (I threw up in a McDonald's bag I neglected to toss out. So glad I was a garbage bum that night!)

    Fast forward to today. I am nearly 40 and finally engaged. I've been meticulous about birth control and avoided pregnancy all these years. My boyfriend and I are planning to get married in about a year, maybe less--not a big, expensive shindig.

    My problem is my mother. I never told her that I decided right then and there, that night, that I would never have a baby. Truly, it was a significantly traumatizing experience, and there is not a chance I am putting myself through that kind of pain. It makes no sense to me--I don't understand the mentality of someone who would voluntarily do it. My boyfriend is resigned to not having any children--I even offered to end the relationship if he wanted children with someone else, but he said no, Mr. Wonderful--but my mother has become the Nightmare on Elm Street since she (finally) figured out why I won't have any children. Her anger is really amazing. She is truly irate, and the name calling, fighting, etc., is a shock. She's controlling, yes, but this is even a little bit much for her. She is mighty peeved that I won't have a baby, no grandchildren, I am being selfish, etc. On and on, one complaint after another about the decision, I had better change my mind, etc.

    I think the best way to handle this is to (quietly) have my tubes tied and just announce it after the fact. I need to get her to understand that birth is way too much and way too painful for me to handle.

    I mean, it's all about personal choice, right? No nurse wants a me for a patient! You'd think she would get that.
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    About Nice2MeetU

    Joined: Oct '06; Posts: 11

    42 Comments

  3. by   TiffyRN
    I guess I'm a non-confrontationalist. I would have my tubes tied and just shrug when she asks if your pregnant yet. I would think at nearly 40 she would realize your fertility might not be the most active in within a couple of years she wouldn't even expect you to become pregnant. But name-calling over you not wanting to be pregnant? Wow, I think there are deeper issues that may go beyond just this one.

    I announced years ago there would be no grandkids from me, mom didn't like it but has accepted it (especially once I told them husband had been "fixed").
  4. by   SmilingBluEyes
    I would definately make this subject OFF LIMITS from this point on. You owe her no explanations whatsoever. And any time she brings it up, tell her you are not open to discussing and end it right then and there. No arguments, no angry words, no angst. Just drop it. And if she won't, hang up or walk away until she does. Simple as that.
  5. by   LizzyL&DRN
    Is the only reason you decided not to have children because you are scared of childbirth? I don't mean to pry, some people just don't want kids in life, it sounds as though maybe you are one of those people. I'm surprised your mother is so upset. Its such a personal decision and its not your mother that would be doing the raising, its you. Its a lot of work! and not a decision anyone can and/or should make you feel guilty about. If you truly want to be sterilized, that's your's and your new husbands private decision. I agree with Smilingblueyes: make the subject off limits and it might not be a good idea to let your mother know you had you tubes tied. If she's upset now, that might really blow her top!:flamesonb Good Luck.
  6. by   Nice2MeetU
    It's a definite problem. I couldn't believe how bad the process of childbirth was. It was stunning. And hers was a normal birth. After that night, I have never been able to fathom why anyone would want to go through that process, even once, unless totally unaware of the ramifications of it. I was grateful to see the birth process without having to go through it. Women should attend someone else's birth so they don't get a big shock, like my friend got. I felt so bad for her. If more women knew what to expect upfront, I think fewer women would have children, and the poor nurses would have fewer problem patients. It would make your lives so much easier!:wink2:

    I knew birth would be bad, but I never expected that bad. (Unless you are a nurse, it's a bit gross, too, but that's what makes you all so great--you have superstomachs!)

    I think my mother thinks that she had to go through birth, so do I. That may seem illogical, but I genuinely think it is part of that.

    I have been thinking more about it, and I agree that my mother might explode if I say anything to her about it. Makes sense.

    Thanks for your input!
  7. by   SmilingBluEyes
    I don't think you can possibly judge all birth experiences by the one you witnessed. That was obviously a scarring experience for you. However, if you have no desire to parent, you have every right (and OBLIGATION) not to. You owe NO ONE an explanation why----this includes your mother. Your reasons are valid if you believe in them yourself. No need to justify yourself to anyone else.
  8. by   anne74
    Don't feel bad. I'm a nurse (not a labor/delivery nurse, however) and child birth kind of creeped me out too. And you're right - there's a lot they don't tell you about childbirth. When I did my OB rotation, I was shocked, thinking, "What? Why don't they tell you about this? Lochia? Hemrrhoids? Foreceps? Tearing?" I'm just not one of those people who think childbirth is "beautiful". (Although, I'm looking at it technically and not emotionally. I've never given birth myself.) I think it's great other women think it's so wonderful - otherwise we wouldn't be populated. But I think a lot of other women are creeped out too, but they won't admit it. It's OK to feel that way.

    I don't know if I'll have children either. I'm 32 and single and I don't feel deprived not being a mother. But maybe if I meet someone special I'll feel different. Who knows? I don't give into pressure about it, and I don't feel the need to go out and freeze eggs or find any random guy just so I won't be "barren". I really can't control when/if I meet Mr. Right, so what can you do? It's really not 100% up to me.

    My mother makes comments here and there, but I just throw it back at her. Like she complains that her friends all have grandkids and she doesn't. So I say, "Oh - sorry I'm keeping you from being a member of the "IN" crowd, Mom." It's like she doesn't have the right designer jeans to fit in with the cool kids.

    It's really ridiculous, and it's your mother being selfish - not you! I really don't talk about it a lot with my Mom, and she's eventually moved onto other issues - like I'm not good with finances or my house is not clean enough. They always need something to fuss about, right? You're an adult now and you don't need her input anymore on how you should run your life. Maybe your Mom just needs a hobby or something - like ceramics or making pot holders. Don't let her make you feel bad!
    Last edit by anne74 on Oct 18, '06
  9. by   Altalorraine
    I guess I'm trying not to be offended by your description of birth as bad and horrible and your wondering why women would want to go through it. Clearly you *don't* understand the mentality of women who do it. My four natural births were the most wonderful, empowering things I've ever done. They are sacred events in my memory.

    I don't think you owe anyone an explanation for what you do and don't want to do, but you may not get a lot of sympathy for your stance which seems just a bit insensitive.

    Altalorraine

    P.S. I do wonder why you are posting on a board for OB nurses who tend to be pretty pro-birth when you are not even a nurse and don't plan to have a baby.
  10. by   canoehead
    When I saw my first birth I vowed never to do it too- then about ten years later I became an OB nurse and have a totally different take.

    Your decision is your own, but realize that your friend could have had MUCH better pain control. If you found the process brutal and frightening it may be that things happened that WERE brutal. Your friend's experience may not be what usually happens.

    As far as your mom- if she wants a grandbaby there are lots of big brother/big sister groups nationwide, and kids that need love. You make your decisions, and she makes hers.
  11. by   Gompers
    If you don't want to give birth for whatever reason but still would like to have children in the future, there is always adoption. There are plenty of kids out there who need homes.

    My mom delivered me in the 70's with a natural childbirth. She likes to joke that my brother's birth her favorite though - he was adopted and she picked him up from the hospital when he was a few days old!
  12. by   GooeyRN
    Its totally up to you if you have children, or not. No one should guilt you, either way. But... If you afraid of the pain and do want children... There are always epidurals!!! And not everyone tears down there. Not everyone has a horrendous birth experience. My labor was painful, but the delivery was simple. I wasn't even sore afterwards. (I felt like I had rough sex, sorry if TMI) And as Gompers said... There is always adoption if you just wanted to skip the whole preganancy/labor/delivery thing. Adoption is a beautiful thing!
  13. by   loquacity
    Firstly howevor "no pain no gain"...
    my cosuin who used to breed dogs sais it best i think cus she said that before she had children she never thought she could love anything more than her dogs....but after she had her first kids that changed....
    Secondly if having a kid will ruin you realtionshiop thats not good, and people who don't want to have kids shouldn't neccesarily have kids (although sometimes accidnets occur lol)
    and finally if you are in your 40's you have to realize that even now a child is at higher risk for developing down syndrome and the sort....
    although i have a very different viewpoint regarding chuildren i wish you the best of luck
    ~L
  14. by   Nice2MeetU
    I guess I'm trying not to be offended by your description of birth as bad and horrible and your wondering why women would want to go through it. Clearly you *don't* understand the mentality of women who do it. My four natural births were the most wonderful, empowering things I've ever done. They are sacred events in my memory.

    I don't think you owe anyone an explanation for what you do and don't want to do, but you may not get a lot of sympathy for your stance which seems just a bit insensitive.

    Altalorraine

    P.S. I do wonder why you are posting on a board for OB nurses who tend to be pretty pro-birth when you are not even a nurse and don't plan to have a baby.

    Altorraine, it's unfortunate that you are offended by the description of the birth that I witnessed. The description is accurate and truthful based on my experience. I don't apologize for it. What I saw, as I interpreted it, was brutal and horrible. As a consequence, no, I don't understand the mentality of women who would want to do it. I am glad for you that your birth experiences were positive. It's unfortunate, too, that you find my stance insensitive; you, clearly, are choosing to interpret my description of what I witnessed in that fashion, which is both your right and responsiblility. I lay no blame on anyone else for anything; I am simply reaching out to rational people with a different personal and professional experience for input. And yes, I selected an OB nurse website because nurses are medical and science professionals with a professional perspective on the situation. They have seen it all. My own mother is a working nurse with more than 50 years of experience. Her perspective is colored by her desire for me to have a child, but that doesn't mean that other OB nurses won't have a rational and clear perspective that I can and do appreciate. It's unfortunate that you chose to interpret my comments as you did.

    As far as the big brother/big sister perspective is concerned, that is brilliant! Thank you for that thought--I completely overlooked it.

    I appreciate your input, and I thank the rest of you for your time and consideration.

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