This one has been on my mind for a while…
This past summer, one of my best friends had her first baby. During her pregnancy, she discussed and planned how she would like to pursue a non-medicated, natural childbirth-even hiring a Doula to help her through the birthing process. I was surprised by her adamancy on the topic, and worried she would be disappointed should something not go according to her “birth plan.” In my own experience with childbirth, I didn’t have an actual plan for birthing other than getting the baby OUT, but then I failed to progress at all, which resulted in a c-section (times three). Per my doctor’s orders, once a section, always a section-especially with births less than three years apart. Also, in her experience, failure to progress was a repetitive problem. So, labor and delivery of babies was not something I excelled at, but as my friend put it, I still won at the carnival, and got to go home with a baby (three times!). As I went through the experience, I didn’t feel deprived of anything necessary to my life as a mother-until I got home and started reading all those parenting magazines. There, spelled out for me was every sad and lonely feeling I should be having for being limited in my “birth experience,” not only the birth of my child, but the “birth of my motherhood.” It was then that I began freaking out, wondering why those feelings weren’t welling up inside of me, and if perhaps I should have “tried harder” for a “real birth.” I quickly got over that freak-out moment, but there was always this nagging voice in the back of my head reminding me of that “lost experience.”
Going through the experience with my friend this summer brought all those inadequate feelings back to the surface. Without intention, she seemed to downplay the way my babies entered the world. She was well read in all things labor and delivery, and had vast information on labor positions, breathing techniques, side effects of pain medication, and statistics on c-sections. I read up a little more on the topic, just to be informed and subsequently questioned every decision I had made with my pregnancies. I felt lost in the medical system, and disappointed with my results.
And then I slapped myself.
Because, I DID win at the carnival. No matter what struggles my body did or did not experience, I DID take my babies home. I’m STILL a mom, and I STILL am figuring out all the things that go along with that amazing responsibility and blessing.
But, during my reading and research this summer, I found a wealth of negative reporting on c-sections, medicated births, and more positive information on non-medicated natural births. Women who “ended up” with sections were adamant on VBACS for their second child, so their “birthing experience” would be complete. It could have been the sources, and the types of people on both sides of that issue telling their stories in different ways, but I was a little surprised. I began to wonder that with everything women and moms in general have on their plates, why we need lay on the guilt for HOW the babies are born? Really?
And I’m a fan of incense and crystals. My friends would tell you that I would be the first to go with the filling the room with positive energy and an aura of light and happiness. I’d like to do that right now, on my couch. I love the women that are capable of having that birth experience; I’m so happy for them. I just think it’s kind of a non-issue how the babies arrive. Sure, make a birth plan-any birth plan, and then everyone celebrate the bundle of joy-and not diminish however that experience happened.
And despite my friend’s best laid plans, she delivered via c-section, too. I was immediately concerned for her disappointment, but the happy tears in her eyes told me she didn’t care. She’d won at the carnival too. Sometimes, it seems, it’s the babies that do all the deciding.
Now, let’s go get some funnel cake.