The Stigma Of Inducing Labor
I finally have an answer for the question I’m asked dozens of times a day—”When are you gonna have that baby?”—and the answer is, “Four days from now!” It may be sooner, but it will definitely be, at the latest, four days from now. I know this because that is the day my doctor is inducing me. And it’s the one tiny ray of sunshine that keeps me from packing up my shit and moving to a cave far, far away until my son finally arrives.
This is my first (and most likely my only) time being pregnant and, man oh man, have I hated it. I’ve heard that some people love being pregnant; I’ve even met one woman in real life who loved it. But I just can’t wrap my head around that feeling. My sincere hatred for being pregnant gets even more confusing when I try to justify it.
No, I didn’t have morning sickness or another type of sickness.
No, it hasn’t been a record-breaking hot summer.
No, I’m not in it alone. My husband, his folks, my folks, and our friend group have all been very supportive and enthusiastic. My husband, especially, has pretty much solidified his saint status. So no, that’s not why I’ve hated being pregnant either.
And yes, I am going to love my son when he gets here. That’s a very important distinction. Do I love being pregnant? No. Do I love my son, and will I continue loving him when he’s born? Yes. That’s very important
Since I’ve started showing, the random unsolicited questions, advice and horror stories have gotten on my nerves. But in the last three weeks or so, they have begun provoking a new, scary level of reaction from me that makes a simple trip to the grocery store downright dangerous. Before I scheduled my induction, the simple, “When are you due?” would make my head spin.
It seemed so far away—impossibly far away. Each day, I’d negotiate a thin peace treaty with the fact that it probably wouldn’t be today, just so I could get out of bed. And then here’s this stranger attacking me with this question! Why would she want to remind me how long I still have to go?
I’d instantly get on the defensive, making it impossible for an acceptable response like “August 4th” to battle through the whirlwind of rude, snarky or shockingly bitchy responses swirling through my head. So instead, I would end up blurting out things like, “Who the fuck knows,” or “Not soon enough,” or once, in the cereal aisle, freezing completely and saying nothing. Leaving the poor question-asker no choice but to awkwardly walk away thinking either “WTF” or “That poor woman doesn’t know she’s nine months along.”
But now, in this shiny post-induction-date world, I can say, “On or before July 28th!” And I can say it with a genuine smile! Yay! I’m smiling people! But I’ve found this happy news is quickly met with a new, unexpected judgment: “Oh, you’re inducing? You don’t want to do that.” Yes, yes, I do. I really fucking do.
People are not excited. Apparently there is a stigma I was unaware of when it comes to inducing. It means I’m selfish, and possibly that I don’t care about the well-being of my child. (Did I mention I scheduled this with my doctor, someone who makes these decisions for a living?)
These judgments didn’t totally surprise me, because if I’ve learned anything from growing another human being in my body for most of a year, it’s that people have tons of opinions on what you should do and how you should do it. And they think that if they don’t tell you and constantly remind you, they are doing you a disservice. So I guess I knew that some people would disapprove, but I didn’t know it would be the majority. Like, hello people, do you see the smile on my face? Obviously I’m happy about this; why are you shitting on it?!
So here I am, four days from the day I meet my son, the day I’ll stop being pregnant, and yes, the day I’m inducing. I have removed myself from the public. I’m not going to work. I’m not going out. I’m staying home and holding on to the calendar for dear life. Because on or before the 28th this will all be over, and you’re damn right I’m inducing.