entertainment

Terrific, now birth has become a competitive sport.

Teresa Palmer, just days before the birth of her son Bodhi Rain Palmer.

So Teresa Palmer had a baby. Which is nice.

Babies are Good News, and we all love an announcement, whether it’s on our Facebook feed or the evening news.

We want to know the details. The sex, and the name. But do we want to know how they entered the world?

Teresa obviously thinks so, because she felt the need to add this information to the announcement of the arrival of her baby boy:

“Thank you God for blessing us with the most divine gift of our baby son Bodhi Rain Palmer born safely & naturally.”

“Naturally”. Thanks for that bit of info, Teresa.

Here’s Miranda Kerr in the official announcement of the arrival of her boy Flynn:

“I gave birth to him naturally; without any pain medication and it was a long, arduous and difficult labour.”

Or the always-relatable Gisele Bundchen, who said of the birth of her first child, Benjamin:

“My delivery was in a bath tub, in water. I wanted to have a home birth. I wanted to be very aware and present during the birth… I didn’t want to be drugged up. So I did a lot of preparation, I did yoga and meditation, so I managed to have a very tranquil birth at home.”

And let’s take a moment to savour this next line: “It didn’t hurt in the slightest.”

Really? Not in the slightest?

Let’s be clear: I am not criticising these women, or the way that they gave birth. Like anyone who has been through it, I have ultimate respect for anyone who has lived through bringing a baby into the world, however it goes down.

Miranda Kerr, pictured here with son Flynn, also posted about her “natural birth”.

But here’s the thing: by choosing to reveal the nature of their births, these women are telling us what they consider to be important. And the fact that they weren’t ‘on drugs‘ and that they were able to delivery vaginally is clearly right up there on the priority list.

Teresa Palmer walks the walk. She co-authors a blog about health and wellness, so it was obviously a big part of her plan to have a ‘natural’ birth, and it’s great that she got live the experience she was hoping for.

But really, what’s a ‘natural’ birth anyway? I assume that what these mums mean is that they didn’t have a c-section. But do you still get to say you had a ‘natural’ birth if you had an episiotomy? An epidural? Ventouse?

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Mostly, I just wonder why it matters.

How much do we want to know about other people’s births?

Among my close girlfriends, especially the mothers, all the sharing is required. I remember an early dinner with my mother’s group where we all recounted their birth stories, over wine, with much hilarity, hooting and screeching. It was liberating. Possibly healing. But it’s also why you NEVER want to be seated near a mother’s group in a restaurant.

Other friends of mine put their birth stories on Facebook. Of course there should be discussion and sharing around birth stories. It’s a massive event in any woman’s life, and people who are heading towards it need to know that there are many ways to, um, slice that pie.

But let’s lose the competition.

I surprised myself, but after my second baby, I didn’t really want to share. Not widely, at least. People who didn’t know me very well asking me for details of my boy’s arrival suddenly felt invasive.

I also think that I’d realised it really wasn’t that interesting.  What had shifted for me in between children was the importance of focusing on the birth.

It doesn’t matter how your baby gets here. It just matters that it does. Motherhood had taught me that. Birth is not the big bit. Despite how it feels at the time, it’s not the hard part. Really sorry, but that comes afterwards.

This post was first published on our sister site iVillage and has been republished with full permission.

Do you like hearing birth stories? Or are they TMI?

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