I waited patiently for 40 weeks and 5 days – I read all the articles, and watched all the positive birth stories – I drank the red raspberry leaf tea, and took the natural birth masterclasses. Does this sound like you? I know there are a lot of women who can say the same about their experience during pregnancy.
Like many of you, I had my heart set on a medication free, vaginal birth. I wanted to do everything I could to set my sweet baby boy up for success.
Then, I left the hospital with my husband, baby, and a c-section incision.
I just want to say, that I realize I am so blessed to have a healthy, happy baby. I really am grateful, and I know a lot of women don’t get the opportunity to be sad about a c-section – and wish they could. My heart goes out to you.
Again, two years later, preparing my heart and body for a VBAC…. my baby is breech and I am scheduled for another C-section. Can I be honest with you? I was so sad, and frustrated. Add to that upset and defeated – the list goes on.
Truthfully, I am a pretty laid back person. It was extra difficult to accept how things played out, and I still struggle with how I feel about my delivery experience. But I am happy to say that I have finally come to terms with the outcome of my births (although I am still sad sometimes), and I’d like to share with you some of the thoughts and ideas that have helped me with that.
I just want to start out by saying that if you are a mom who delivered via c-section: you are amazing. You did not fail your children, and you sacrificed so much to give your baby life. You are inspiring, and incredible.
Second, I want to note that these are things that worked for me. We are all different and deal with life differently. I do hope there is something in this post that resonates with you.
Gratitude and grief lived together in my mind for a while. Although I was so truly sad, and felt a loss for the hopes and dreams I had about birth. I consciously chose to think about how grateful I was that my baby was alive and breathing. There are many moms who leave the hospital without a baby.
And this isn’t to say that voids all bad feelings. Just because someone else went through something worse than you doesn’t mean you also haven’t gone through something difficult. But purposely thinking about the things that went right helped me a lot. For example,
1. I am thankful my baby is alive
2. I am thankful I am alive.
3. I am thankful I am able to breastfeed my baby
4. I am thankful my baby didn’t have to spend time in the NICU
5. I am thankful that there were doctors at my birth who knew just what to do.
6. I am thankful that I have a home to bring my baby home to.
7. I am thankful that my birth is over and I can hold my baby now.
8. I am thankful I have family to help me recover.
9. I am thankful that my body knows how to heal.
10. I am thankful that I have a family to help me.
I was told once that our bodies are a valuable gift, and we should treat it as such. I don’t create it. I didn’t ask for it. I can’t give it to myself, and I only get one. Therefore, take care of it. With thoughts and actions.
After you have a baby, looking at yourself in the mirror can be a bit of a shock. I could barely stand up, and the sight of my abdomen made me a little woozy. And every time I look down (or move, for that matter), with the pain of recovery and the sight of my scar, I am reminded of what happened in the hospital. The scar represents to me – honestly – my failure. Although I know I didn’t fail my baby, I still failed to give birth vaginally. And that bothers me.
I make a point to be proud of my body. Again, this was a decision for me. I didn’t just feel like being proud of my body one day – I made the decision that from here on out, I am not going to be my own worst enemy, I am going to love my body and be thankful that it did what only it could do.
I embrace the round belly that will never be as flat and smooth as it once was. And the other parts of my body that are not exactly the same after breastfeeding ;). TRULY I love my children so much that I would do it all over again – and I know most of you would too. I am proud that I was able to grow a baby in my womb. I am proud that I sacrificed so much to do it. It is an honor. Not only that, I am so proud of the people my kids are becoming – they are the future, and I helped to create that.
It is a beautiful thing to accept yourself, stretch marks – flabby belly – cesarean scars – and all. You are beautiful.
1. My body grew a baby
2. My body is healing
3. My body is strong
4. My body is adaptable
5. My body can give & sustain life.
6. My body can overcome
7. My body is a gift
8. My body is valuable
9. My body is a (custom) work of art.
10. My body was created on purpose for a purpose.
Honestly – while thinking positive thoughts help you reframe your mind and not feel so yucky about what happened. But it is still a part of your story. Talking to other moms who didn’t get what they wanted and expected in regards to their birth is so life – giving. My husband didn’t get it. My mom friends who had beautiful births had their own challenges they need to overcome that were mostly different than mine (although we relate on a lot of other things). Community is so important.
I have a friend who has two kids the same ages as mine, and also had 2 c-sections. We see each other. We are both patiently waiting for our turn to come again. And we will be the other’s biggest hype man when the time to try for a v-bac comes again!
1. I am not alone
2. Other moms have gone through this too
3. I have people to support me
4. I have friends who understand me
Okay, Okay, truthfully this isn’t my favorite one. But a question for me: what difference did it really make? When I die, if I have never had a vaginal birth, the only difference that will have made in my life is that I will have felt like I missed out on something I wanted to experience. I want to be a part of the vaginal birth moms club!!!
My kids were born. I recovered, and the world goes on. It even feels a little *ouch* to type this out but it’s the truth. It’s not a large deal in the grand scheme of my life. But you can bet that I am still going to keep trying for that vbac 🙂
1. This doesn’t have to ruin my life
2. I can move forward from this
3. I have hope for the future
4. I can try again
I hope these were some helpful things to think about if you are also struggling with how your birth happened. I am wishing you the best – lots of positivity, and if you have anything special that helped you, please leave a comment!
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Helena Schwartz is a full-service photographer in Omaha, Nebraska specializing in maternity, newborn, milestone, motherhood & family photography. Surrounding areas include Millard, Ralston, Elkhorn, Gretna, Lincoln, and Council Bluffs. Helena loves to create images that are soft, sweet, natural, light, and airy for sentimental mothers and families.