I‘ve done this twice now. Each time it was different but yet the same; nerve wrecking, joyous, pain inducing, and ultimately I got to leave with a bundle of joy in tow. Though you know what to expect, inevitably with pregnancy, comes a sense of fear. Largely because it is the unknown. There is discomfort in not knowing exactly how the event will go and to be honest it can weigh on even the most experienced of mothers.
With my eldest daughter I can’t say I had the most pleasurable or joyous birthing experience. I had an OB who incessantly tried to pressure me into having a Caesarean with no real reason other than for his convenience. Luckily I was educated and verbal enough to meet his forcefulness with my own, but I often thought of the multitude of mothers who may not feel the same. Truthfully I’ve never been a fan of the doctor’s office due in part to other poor experiences and this instance certainly didn’t do anything to assuage my fears. In fact I often left my appointments feeling anxious and uncomfortable. It also didn’t help that I had to do much of it alone. Ultimately even though I was strongly against having a c-section, I delivered my daughter that way. I can’t say if it was necessary or if the hospital’s lack of care for me played a large part in my birth story but I can say it left me scarred.
For years after I felt as though I had failed. Failed to advocate for myself properly and failed by not delivering my child in the most “natural” way possible. For 32 hours I labored only to have to be told an emergency surgery would be required. You can feel like it’s your fault when things don’t go as you’ve planned or hoped. My plea to mothers I’ve met in the years since has always been, please ask as many questions as you can. And don’t allow anyone, even a medical professional coerce you into anything. Be informed about your body as well as what labor and delivery entails for yourself.
When it came time to deliver my youngest daughter I felt more prepared. I had done more reading and it was seven years later so I felt like I would be more heard by my doctors. I tried to secure a midwife for delivery but was told it was not an possibility for me because I had delivered via cesarean the first go round. That pained me. I felt like I was on the path to “failing” again. Then I had conversation with my current OB who said these simple words, “No matter how you deliver your baby – you are still a mother.” With that very simple sentence he removed years of shame off of me. I cried that day because I had finally rid myself of the sadness I felt in not having a “natural” birth.
As I went to be induced for her delivery I told myself I would successfully have a VBAC (vaginal birth after Caesarean), that I would give birth with no drugs and things went that way, for the most part. While I did have a VBAC I also had to get an epidural much to my chagrin. Even as I was contemplating having it in the midst of my uncontrollable shaking and weeping, I felt the shame again of letting myself down. I realized during that labor the fear I possessed wasn’t in giving birth but more so the fear of failure.
There is a level a worry that comes naturally with becoming a parent. You want to make sure you do right by this person you’ve been given charge over, you want to care for them and love them appropriately. But even before they make their arrival you’re nervous about if you’ll bring them into the world right. Right is subjective though. Natural is too. I am of the belief that we should stop touting that having a natural birth is what’s best for us or our children. Natural birth is giving birth. As women our bodies were made to handle the task biologically regardless of how that delivery takes place.
This time around I’m taking the pressure off of myself. I’ll stop reading articles like this and instead trust in me and God. I know that I am covered by Him, I also know that no weapon formed against me shall ever prosper. I won’t tell myself that I can’t have pain relief if I need it, I’ll do all within my power to be calm and usher my daughter earth side in peace. I am relinquishing myself of the shame from my first two deliveries. The only birth plan I have this time is to be comfortable. In the end I am a mother, I got my babies here safely, and they are growing wonderfully everyday.
Are you a mom who experienced fear in giving birth? Or perhaps you aren’t a mother yet but fear about pregnancy and birth riddle you anyway. Let’s chat it’s time to bury that fear.