The Thing About Assvice
September 15, 2005
"I know you hate assvice, but..."
"Just my two cents worth of assvice..."
"I'm not going to tell you what to do, but here's my completely biased opinion and some scary statistics that will mean death, destruction and doom if you ignore them..."
Okay, Internet. We need to Talk.
I'm not exactly sure who coined the word "assvice." I first saw it on the infertility blogs. And it was not a good thing. It was something to Refrain From Giving. It was a synonym for You Probably Should Have Kept Your Big Trap Shut. Urban Dictionary defines it as "The unwelcomed and unsolicited advice given to someone."
Get that? UNWELCOMED. UNSOLICITED.
But somewhere along the line, assvice has lost its meaning -- and its stigma. And this needs to stop.
It's not some kind of cute disclaimer. "Hee hee, I know this is assvice but because I label it as such, you can't be annoyed by it..."
No. You're basically admitting that you're butting in with advice that the other person probably doesn't want and definitely didn't ask for. You're basically admitting that you're being an asshole.
And that you're the type of asshole who lectures pregnant women at Starbucks and gasps in horror when you see a toddler without mittens in January. The type of asshole who, after overhearing part of a conversation between two people at the table next to you, feels compelled to tell them what YOU would do if you were them.
You would never do that?
Then why do it on the Internet?
Obviously, this rant is stemming from some (SOME) comments and emails I received after yesterday's post. The offenders fell into one of the two following categories:
1) C-sections are awesome! You so want one! But make sure it's scheduled because all your biggest fears will come true if you attempt a vaginal birth and end up having an emergency c-section. Too bad you aren't actually planning a scheduled c-section, because I'm going to jump to that conclusion and scare the crap out of you!
2) C-sections are awful! And wrong and unnecessary! Your doctor is lying! Never mind that he never said you definitely needed one, just that it was a growing possibility, because I'm going to jump to that conclusion and scare the crap out of you with scary stories and links and also make you feel stupid in the process, because I'm assuming that you can't fucking think for yourself when it comes to making major decisions about your medical care.
(Bonus points to the emailer who managed to include the words "fetal death" in regards to elective c-sections. That was lovely.)
Perhaps I wasn't totally clear in my post when I said the following:
My doctor is certainly willing to let me try for a vaginal delivery, don't get me wrong. He's not claiming that it's impossible or pressuring me to schedule a c-section right away. Not at all. He just wanted to prepare me for the possibility that hey, this could happen, and in his opinion, it's a very likely outcome.
Translation: There is no scheduled c-section. There never was.
My doctor knows my wishes and wants me to have the birth I want. But he also wants me to be completely informed regarding any risks he sees on the horizon. And from his point of view (with thousands and thousands of births behind him and his hand full up in my vagina probing my pelvic bones), he thinks I need to prepare myself for a delivery that might not go exactly as planned.
I took this news hard. Probably harder than I should have. And then I ranted to the Internet before I'd fully calmed down and formulated a plan. Because that's what I do. Because I am Amalah, Queen of Drama and Working Shit Out Through the Power of Run-On Sentences.
The plan (which my doctor wholeheartedly supports) is to hold out hope for a vaginal delivery for as long as possible. I am hoping labor will begin on its own, and soon, while there is still no question that the baby will fit. If that doesn't happen, I'm hoping next Wednesday's appointment will reveal enough cervical activity to 1) give us hope that labor will begin naturally soon, or 2) give us a shot at inducing.
If I go past my due date, I still want to attempt a vaginal delivery, and will opt for a c-section only if I run into problems.
Yes, I know I am running the risk of an emergency c-section. Yes, I am putting a lot of faith in my body's ability to bend and stretch. Yes, I am aware that labor is hard and that you can tear and stretch and have a pointy-headed baby. Yes, I reserve the right to change my mind completely.
For now, however, I am at peace.
So everybody who felt the need to tell me about how horrible emergency caesareans are vs. scheduled ones?
And everybody who felt the need to lecture me on the horrible dangers posed by scheduled caesareans?
And everybody who decided that hey, while we're being all judgey about other people's birth choices, let's rant about Pitocin and epidurals?
Well...remember what I said about butting in with advice after only hearing half of the conversation?
A round-headed baby and a non-stretched-out cooch are not enough to convince me to pursue major abdominal surgery at this point. By the same token, if I end up having a caesarean, I will not have been "bullied" into it or deceived by the evil medical establishment. I'm sorry if you feel like you were. I hope to avoid it, but by gum, I will be so fucking grateful that a c-section was available to get us both through the birth safely.
Basically, those comments and emails upset me -- greatly -- although I doubt this was anyone's actual intent. But they did, and I got sucked up in a weird, circular pattern of whatever I do, it's probably wrong logic.
Oh my God, am I stupid for stubbornly holding out for a vaginal delivery when I know I'm risking an emergency c-section?
Oh my God, am I awful for thinking that I would totally schedule a c-section if my doctor changed his mind and said it would be my best and safest option?
Oh my God, am I evil because I refuse to attempt labor without an epidural and I would buy Cervodil and Pitocin at the Rite Aid if I could at this point?
I'll be honest -- my appointment yesterday left me reeling. I cried
a little bit in my car afterwards and again in Jason's arms last night.
I wasn't prepared for the emotional impact of being told to prepare for
something that I didn't want to prepare for.
And I appreciated everyone sharing their experiences. I was overjoyed to hear of 0-60 labors and women who breastfed 30 minutes after a caesarean (that's insanely important to me). I was comforted by the simple "I hope it all goes well, however it goes down" comments. And we can never be reminded enough that whatever our birth choices or experiences are, all that matters is that beautiful, delicious baby.
I know you all care. Thank you for caring. I completely understand how the Internet makes it possible for you to care -- intensely -- for someone you don't know. However, if you care, just bite your tongue sometimes. Reread that comment before hitting publish. Are you assuming you know more than you do? Are you giving advice that was not specifically asked for? Are you possibly passing a little bit of self-righteous judgment? Don't you think that pregnant girl has probably already been told about sex causing dilation a frillion and one times already?
Yes? Then delete it. And then write something about Britney Spears and her early scheduled c-section which was so OBVIOUSLY done so she wouldn't lose the K-Fed love due to more baby weight and a stretched-out vagina. Whore.
P.S. Comments are closed on this entry.
P.P.S. We're circumcising the baby.
P.P.P.S. Any and all emails regarding the above P.P.S. will be summarily deleted upon receipt.
P.P.P.P.S. That sound you just heard? Was the sound of hundreds of militant assvice-givers spontaneously combusting in horror.