:a cesarean birth story:
I gave birth by cesarean.
It’s taken me 638 days to claim my story publicly.
I know women, like me, are waiting to celebrate their rite of passage. That’s why I write this blog today.
And let me say:
Your birth story is worthy, mama.
Please let me take a moment and ask you to place your hand on your belly and say:
I am worthy. My story belongs in the greater fabric of LIFE.
(This goes for you mamas who became mamas without giving birth. I pray you celebrate your becoming a mama story, too).
I hid claiming my cesarean birth for a long time in a sea of grief and shame, while also feeling immense joy and pride brewing deep inside.
But, I felt conflicted to share anything, so I didn’t.
Here I write to you, a bit of reflection on why we do what we do around cesarean births.
You see, I thought if I never told anyone I had a cesarean birth, they’d think I just had a tough vaginal birth – which gets praised way more than cesareans in our culture.
I thought if I stayed quiet, I was still allowed in the natural mama club.
And, oh, what an exclusive club that is.
I thought that by hiding my story, I wouldn’t be judged as weak.
Things I’ve heard whispered from woman to woman, (that were also taught to me becoming a birth doula) about cesarean births include:
She should’ve given birth at home, a cesarean birth would have been avoided if she was at home.
She just didn’t have the right support. _____ would have helped her birth naturally.
The system is out to get women. Doctors are knife happy and want the convenience of a cesarean birth.
She wanted it to be easy. Cesarean births are easier than vaginal births.
Does any of this sound familiar to you? It does to me.
What is happening here is, well, a lot of things.
May I offer a few thoughts on how we can be with what’s uncomfortable, and serve the women around us – through all cycles of life.
1. Remember: birth, like everything in life, has it’s own path.
When we try to figure out something as mysterious as birth we are acting like we are God, the unknown, the higher force.
Ya’ll, we don’t know how any of this is going to turn out.
We really know nothing, but that makes us scared, so we try to stop the future from happening with planning.
And, I guarantee you, without a freaking doubt, no woman has ever chosen to go under a knife because she thinks it’s easy. Sure, it may be the path of least resistance, but you don’t know what’s going on in her life. Which brings me to my next thought…
2. Try to pause when caught in the loop figuring out someone else’s life decisions.
When we talk about our sisters without them being there, it’s painful. Who does it hurt? You.
In reflection on cesarean births, why people choose them or don’t choose them — we must acknowledge that there’s much we don’t know.
Start to be gentle with yourself and you’ll see…you won’t need to figure out other’s life decisions.
3. Culturally, we examine the past too much.
We’ve got to stop picking apart our past in order to reconcile our present.
I’ve done a lot of work around this looking back thing. I did it to move forward in my healing with a birth story listener. Doing this in a contained way helped me to move from where I was stuck: the past.
4. The binary-ism of categorizing things is tearing us apart.
Like, vaginal birth = good /// cesarean birth = bad.
Birth without assistance = strong /// birth that needs a team of 20 = weak.
These binary thoughts, unfortunately, are taught to us from the minute we begin learning about how to birth.
So, of course, when a cesarean birth happens to us, there’s a feeling of bad or wrong that comes up.
I felt like I did birth wrong for a really long time.
Let me remind you, if you feel the same:
There’s nothing wrong with you.
Living in the grey places makes us more gentle and compassionate beings, starting with ourselves.
There are so many other areas of life this will serve us to do, too. Don’t you think?
Do I grieve my cesearean birth? Some days.
Do I feel shame sometimes admitting I had a cesearean? Occasionally, but it’s diminishing slowly.
Do I feel proud of my birth story? Hallelujah yes. It’s how my son came into this world. It’s equally his as it is mine. Not a day goes by where my life is not improved by him being here.
I gave birth by cesarean and I’m proud of it.
My birth story is sacred.
I’m not even going to go into the details of why I had a cesarean. It’s not anyone else’s business, really. But, here’s what I will add: I labored for 60 hours through complication after complication. My intuition told me when it was time to get help. That voice was LOUD, thank goodness.
I realize, now, that I needed to be cut open to become whole again.
We can need help and be the strongest versions of ourselves.
Sometimes, our wounds are reminders of our greatest strength.
Tell me, do you ever feel like the most challenging parts of your life have made you a stronger person?
::A few shout outs::
My husband Jason Moore for being my fearless partner throughout our son’s birth, in that operating room that forever changed us, and during our first 21 months of parenthood.
To Elizabeth Harris, for being my doula and support throughout my labor, and for reminding me of my truth as I healed.
To Molly Levin Rouse, for being my birth story listener, allowing for great healing to take place in my story.
To Chama Wodyak, for teaching me that cesarean birth is beautiful. I cried through that entire class but now realize why.
And so many more of my tribe who were there with me through it all, especially my Mom & Dad.
Thank you for supporting me to share this story.
If you need perspective on a situation that didn’t turn out how you expected, I’m here for you. Check out this latest offering to allow me to help you get to the heart of the matter here.