I took the boys to Target the other day. Before I go any further, let me paint that picture for ya.
Well, first, I would be out of my mind if I let both boys walk on their own (it would take forever and I don’t want them to ruin the sanctity of Target for me), so they need to be contained. I’ve done the stroller a few times, but everyone knows that little basket at the bottom isn’t going to fit all the things I need, and those things I didn’t know I needed, but miraculously seemed to find.
So now we’re at our last option: the cart. This goes one of two ways. If it’s a quick trip (ha, what trip to Target is “quick”? Maybe Ryan’s are, so he’s clearly not doing it right), I put both boys in the same cart. But then, because they both don’t want to stand, I have to set the timer and switch them from the seat to the basket every 5 mins. We don’t get much accomplished, my arms are burning, and I’m sweating like I just ran a marathon.
If I want to spend time quality time browsing the aisles though, I suck it up and put them in their own cart. How do I do that when I’m by myself, you ask? I push one and pull the other (and basically let them hold whatever they want to let me look in peace)…because I love my kids and will go to great lengths to make them happy, obviously. I’m also fielding the “Are they twins?!” comments, too.
That’s what I did when I went the other day. And, as we’re standing in line–boys obviously at their limit of Target fun for the day and trying to grab the candy from the checkout shelves–a woman in front of me asked if they were twins. And followed with, “were you fortunate to deliver both vaginally?”
She obviously did not sense the tone of our current situation–teetering on the edge of two very big toddler meltdowns. And then she hits me with that question? I don’t hide my facial expressions well (or probably at all), so I’m sure my response was written all over my face like a tattoo.
First of all, it’s not proper checkout lane etiquette to discuss such things. Granted, she did say she was a Labor & Delivery nurse, so I guess I understand why she used the word, “vaginally” in the middle of Target (still kind of icky though). Not to mention, that’s kind of a personal question, don’t ya think?
The short answer is no, I didn’t. But there’s so much more packed into that simple “no” that she, or anyone else who has asked, will realize or know.
My first thought was: “I would not equate the word ‘fortunate’ and pushing these two out of that area.” Hold your judgement, let me tell you why.
Remember, I was HUGE, could barely walk at this point from a combination of a mountainous belly and swollen legs, had been in the hospital for 2 weeks, and most importantly: Jack was breech (you could literally see his foot ready to step right on out on the ultrasound). Delivering naturally (I’ll avoid using the “v” word anymore in this post) posed a huge risk that no one was willing to take.
As much of a planner as I am, I realized quickly when I pregnant that my birth plan had to simply be: do whatever was best for the babies. When the doctor told me it would be best to plan for a c-section, I didn’t question it. After all, she’s the one with the medical degree so clearly she knows better than I do.
So no, I was not “fortunate” to deliver naturally. But I was fortunate to bring my babies into the world.
Much like your employer doesn’t care too much about the college, but rather the degree, everyone else doesn’t (or shouldn’t) care too much about the birth but rather the baby. Isn’t that what matters at the end of the day? Who cares how they came out. And, if you do care, remind yourself of what I said above: You brought your baby(ies) into this world and no one can take that away from you.
While we’re at it, let me address another common question that people think it’s ok to ask in public. Like the other, this one is normally asked at the most inopportune time or the most public of places. “Did you breastfeed?”
No, I didn’t.
Again, WHO CARES. Haven’t we heard the phrase, “fed is best”?!
If you did breastfeed, more power to ya. Seriously, I admire you. I knew from the beginning that I wouldn’t. There was nothing about it that appealed to me personally. I also knew if I did, it would be because someone else had decided that for me…which means that 1. I would feel backed into a corner, and 2. my babies wouldn’t get the mom they deserved.
Let’s not forget two things: I had twins (again, if you’re a twin mom who breastfed, my hat’s off to you) and they make formula. Good formula. Like, the Cadillac of formula. And that, my friends, is exactly what we bought.
Yes, I know it hit (eh maybe dented) our wallet. But I like to think of it as though we were supporting the workers at the Enfamil corporation and giving all those people jobs to support their own families.
Because the boys were not solely reliant upon my upper lady parts, feeding them was fair game for anyone. And I was a better mom because of it. Trust me when I tell you that I still bonded with both boys. I mean, our bond is so strong now that I can’t shake them sometimes.
Answering no to both of those questions does not make feel ashamed. Not in the least. My boys were delivered safely and believe me, they were well fed (they ate us out of house and home). As long as we’re talking about eating, they also enjoy the occasional Happy Meal from one of my favorite establishments as well. And they’re still as healthy, happy-go-lucky, and active as ever.
These are topics you talk about with your besties, or your mom, and even your husband, in the comfort of your own home or via text message (because you’re a mom now, so you don’t have time to sit on the phone and gab all the time). Not with a stranger in a store aisle.
Why some believe these are as common a question as asking about the weather is literally beyond me. I would never in a million years go up to a mom and think to ask how she gave birth or how she fed her kids. Simply put, I don’t care. Why should I? It’s none of my business! I have my own chaotic runaway train to take control of; I don’t need to worry about yours.
Let’s stop focusing on the details that, in the grand scheme of things are trivial (and ultra-personal), and look at the big picture here, folks. Stop judging those moms who did it different than you.
Also, it’s 2021. If someone can make millions by doing makeup tutorials on Youtube, I can support c-sections and bottle feed my kids. People can do what they want. To each their own. You do you.
And for the love of God, stop ruining my shopping experiences (which I consider part therapy, part sacred) with these questions.