I’ve mentioned before that I’m not really a fan of the birth process. There’s been a battle within me because I want to have more children but I don’t want to go through pregnancy, birth and the postpartum period all over again. It just doesn’t seem fair. I wish I didn’t feel that way, but it’s something I’ve been struggling with for months.
Something changed last week. I am deeply indebted to a dear friend who shared her birth story with me. Her story gave me a reframe of my own. She, against her wishes, had been induced and eventually gave birth by cesarean section. “I feel robbed,” she said pointedly. I listened quietly as she continued to describe her feelings regarding her birth. While her story unfolded, so did my heart. It literally felt as if my heart was softening as she spoke.
For months my heart has become hardened with bitterness regarding birth. Hearing my friend describe all of the things she wished she could have had was heart-breaking for me. I wished that she could have had those things too. Suddenly, my birth story seemed beautiful. I became appreciative of my birth. So many things I have taken for granted… feeling my body begin the process and all the anticipation that comes with that… feeling my body miraculously push… having a team of supportive people surrounding me in my home as I embarked on the most difficult venture of my life…holding Luca immediately following the birth.
There are things that I don’t like about birth. The pain, obviously, would be the first thing. It’s so much more painful than I could have imagined. The sense of feeling out-of-control would be the other thing I could do without. But now… thanks to my friend, I see the things that are beautiful. My body is so powerful and intricately designed to produce life. The pain was unbearable, but I bore it. The moment I held Luca in my arms for the first time will forever be imprinted on my heart. I am so thankful for my birth. Finally, I am thankful for my birth.
My friend is such a beautiful and strong woman. There are things she is thankful for in her birth too. She has a wonderful support system, a healthy baby, and the conditions of her birth were not too traumatic. However, there is a part of her that longs to feel what her body was made to do. I hadn’t thought of it before, but I think that I would feel the same way. Birth is scary and miserable as heck, but there’s something about it that draws us to it. For a while, if I’m being completely honest, I wished I could have a c-section next time. There was something about it that just seemed easier. When I confessed this to my friend, she dispelled that myth right away. It’s surgery and it’s scary. It’s definitely not easy.
I pray that my friend fulfills her desire to have a natural birth next time. Before, I never would have wished that on a friend (ha!) but after hearing her sincere feelings, I understand why she wants that. Understanding why she would want that has now made me appreciate what I had. In fact, I feel sort of guilty for being so unappreciative of my birth. I think I was disillusioned. Blind-sighted, if you will. I just thought it was going to be different. Well, now I am beginning to accept my birth for what it was. I’m making peace with it. Maybe enough so that I will be willing to do it again. Only time will tell.
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