Today I met a colleague’s very sweet, very adorable 10-day-old baby boy, Noah.
We had the typical baby-was-just-born conversation. I told her how great she looked; she told me how hard it was. Several hours of labor, no pain drugs, born at nearly 10 pounds. She mentioned the lack of pain drugs a couple of times before I asked, “No drugs, like, on purpose?”
I cringed and wanted to take it back as soon as it was out of my mouth. I knew how it sounded. It sounded insensitive and ignorant. It sounded like “Dang woman, WHY? You’re crazy.”
What I meant to say to her, what I was thinking, was, “Was a natural birth something you were planning and hoping for?” I was asking whether she had won a hard-fought battle or whether the lack of drugs was more a result of circumstance.
I’m annoyed with myself because I’m not ignorant on this topic. In fact, I researched it and had hoped to do the same thing. I ended up with an epidural and have no regrets about that, but I admire those who choose the natural way. Yet, in that moment, I sounded like I was judging her.
Truth is, I was distracted by chubby little cheeks and wasn’t choosing my words carefully.
She didn’t seem offended but she may have been. I was very sensitive to rude comments during my pregnancy. I’m still sensitive to judgmental comments about my parenting choices. Rarely do I stop to think that maybe the commenter didn’t mean it like that.
We all feel judged at times, don’t we? As parents, we’re all just doing the best we can, trying not to raise little criminals. (At least that’s my main objective. Don’t know about you.) Sometimes it feels like everyone has an opinion about every move you make.
Today was a good reminder that sometimes it might seem like people are judging you when they’re not. From now on, I’m going to try not to judge the seemingly judge-y.