Last week, B and I walked to the grocery store for a few things. While we were waiting in the checkout line, the woman behind me said, "I'm studying to become a doula. How was your birth experience?"
I know there is always a choice in how we respond to questions like this. I could have just said that it was great and left it at that, but I think this is an intensely personal question and is it really appropriate to ask random people at the grocery store?
I decided to just answer but to be straightforward: "She's happy and healthy and that is all that we wanted." I then turned back to face the other way and hoped that was the end of the conversation.
It wasn't. She then asked where we delivered and how. Seriously? So I told her the name of the hospital and said that I'd had a c-section. I got the classic disappointed look and a "Oh... well did you schedule it?" And then I got irked. So what if I had? Even if I had just scheduled it because I wanted a c-section and not because of a medical reason. Is it any of her business.
"No," I said. "I didn't schedule it. I was induced and ended up needing a c-section." [Again, hoping this would end the conversation.]
"Why were you induced if you don't mind me asking?" Really? I thought I was abundantly clear with my tone that I DID mind, but apparently not. And I thought I could just tell this woman that I was induced because I have a clotting disorder or I could just be completely honest and hopefully make her feel a bit uncomfortable so she might not harass other women in the store in the future. So, I went for it.
"I had a daughter that was stillborn," I said. "And I have a clotting disorder." I then went on to make a point of telling her that I didn't care one bit about having a c-section and actually thought it was pretty great.
That look that people get on their face when you mention losing a child. It gets me every time. She looked (finally) horrified that she had pushed so far and kept asking questions and also sad and a little shocked and then she *finally* stopped asking about my birth and started asking me questions about B.
I've never been happier for my turn to check out at a store.