A dear friend of mine recently had her first baby–a joyous event, to be certain, but one that nonetheless left her feeling a bit heartbroken. The beautiful, natural birth experience that she had spent 9 months dreaming about was shattered when her doctors wheeled her into the O.R. for a C-Section. She was devastated. And I can relate.
When I was pregnant with my first child, I planned an all-natural out-of-hospital birth.
It ended in a C-Section. I was devastated.
Twenty-one months later I was ready to deliver my second baby. This time, things would be different. Since I’d had a previous C-Section I was denied access to the same birth center where I’d labored with my first baby. So, next best bet, I chose the best VBAC (Vaginal Birth After C-Section) doctor in my region to help me deliver my baby “naturally” in a hospital.
It ended in a C-Section. I had hope.
This letter is to all of you mamas out there who, like me, have unexpectedly been thrown on the C-Section Roller Coaster.
Dear C-Section Mama,
This sucks. I know. And even though “at least everyone is healthy”, it still sucks. Yes, your baby is perfect and wonderful and safe. But that doesn’t change the fact that things just aren’t…right.
It’s alright to love your baby and still feel saddened by their birth. You wanted something different, something beautiful. Something that you experienced from start to finish–every pain, every squeeze, every push, every sensation. You wanted to know what it was like to feel life enter the world. That was taken away from you. And it sucks.
You spent months–if not years–dreaming about your baby and their birth. You read all the books. You ate all the right foods (okay, most of the right foods!). You exercised. You planned and you prayed. You did everything…right. Yet this still happened. It sucks.
And the worst part of all? You know that your body was designed to do this. A woman’s body is supposed to bear children and, one would assume, birth them at the appropriate time. Yet somehow your body has failed you in this most basic of tasks. It sucks.
While everyone around you is marveling at your new bundle of joy, you can’t help but feel a nagging feeling of loss. A loss of the experience you wanted to have for that baby’s birth–the only chance you had to experience that baby’s birth. And, you know what? That’s a fine feeling to have. Because, despite the joy and the relief and the love you are feeling right now, it’s also okay to feel the loss. It was real, and it hurts.
Know this, though, Mama. You are strong, you are capable, and you are going to be an amazing mother to this child. The birth experience that you lost does not define you, and this is only the beginning of the greatest adventure you’ll ever take. An adventure that will have many peaks and valleys, some expected, but many that you never saw coming. ‘Tis the spice of life.
There are other moms out there who have been through this very experience right along with you–and we’re all cheering for you. Not for your loss, but for your gain.
Welcome to the best role you’ll ever get to fill: Mama.
You, of all women, have definitely earned it!