On Saturday, I read a post in a Facebook group about a woman’s sadness at not having been able to have a natural birth. I wanted to tell her I get it… more so on that particular day.
On Saturday we celebrated my son’s eleventh birthday. As I was preparing for his birthday party, I was thinking back to that day. How I went into the birth unit with visions of a gentle water birth and after 16 hours of agonising induction contractions, I wasn’t even 5cm dilated and landed up in theatre with an emergency c-section. To be told later by my caregivers that my labour wasn’t as long as I claimed because I wasn’t in active labour. And how, two years later I tried again for a natural birth and again I landed up in theatre.
My loss of a natural birth experience led me to doula work. When I was first pregnant, I fell in love with the birth world and when my son was 4, I decided to do a doula course, partly to feed my interest in working in the birth field, and partly to try and understand what I had failed to experience.
For a long time after my unsuccessful attempt at a VBAC, I played with the idea of having a third child and attempting a VBA2C. If I’m absolutely honest with myself, the main reason would have been to try again to experience the natural birth I felt so deprived of. That would never be a good enough reason to have another child – I guess it’s a good thing my husband was pretty adamant that he didn’t want more kids because in my moments of less than crystal clarity… Eish!
Only last year, when Ewan turned 10, did I realise that I actually didn’t want any more kids and I wouldn’t really want to deal with all that baby stuff again, at this point in my life. Some things take longer to sink in than others.
Which brings me to the point of this blog post. I’m still sad that I never got to experience the miracle of naturally birthing my babies. I still feel cheated and sometimes, when I’m being hard on myself, like a failure. Occasionally, a little bit angry.
Yes, perhaps in the grand scheme of things, all that really matters is a healthy mom and a healthy baby, but for some women, being deprived of that primal experience leaves a horrible weepy wound. But with time, comes acceptance. Wounds do heal, but they leave scars. Mine is sensitive, but not as raw as it once was.
A couple of weeks ago I bumped into my midwife and she introduced me to her companion… She started to say that she caught both my babies and then corrected herself and said “oh but wait, you had Caesars, didn’t you?”
I am sure it was unintentional, but she certainly scratched open an old wound. That’s when the anger happens. don’t think she realises how that introduction made me feel. Breathe, 1,2,3,4…
I do believe that things happen the way they do for a reason. Perhaps I wouldn’t be celebrating a beautiful boy’s 11th birthday today if I hadn’t had that Caesarian. Perhaps I wouldn’t have had the privilege of being part of the miracle of more that 30 other births as a doula.
I posted this in the mom’s group occasionally participate in and the replies were overwhelming. Not everyone gets this feeling of bereavement at the loss of an experience… but those who get it, they truly get it!
If you are one of those moms, please know that you are not alone.
This amazing artwork is by Amy Swagman @ www.themandalajourney.com