I have sat starring at this page for a while now, trying to think of how I should say what I am feeling. In a couple of weeks it will be two full years since the birth of my sweet baby girl Harper. TWO YEARS and I am just realizing now that I never wrote down the story of her birth. I could say this is because I have been so busy raising her, but that wouldn't be completely true. The real reason I have never wrote it is because my story was a lot different than the stories I saw all the other ladies posting.
I didn't labor for 24+ long hours, I didn't time my contractions, and my husband didn't cut the chord. I do not have pictures of myself holding my baby post labor all teary-eyed and sweaty. I actually didn't sweat at all, not a single drop. There was nothing traditional about my experience. My baby was born as I lay completely immobile on a hard table, in an ice cold room, surrounded by people in masks holding knives. Harpers birth lasted a total of 25 minutes. 25 minutes was all it took to cut me open, take her out and close me up. There was no yoga balls for me, no chewing ice, no long awaited epidural.
What did I have in common with all these new mommies I saw posting pictures of themselves beaming with joy after suffering for days to bring their children into this world?
How could I say, "I would do it (labor) all over again" when all I really did was lay down for 25 effortless minutes?
Long enough that it has taken me almost two years to build up the courage to say what I am about to say, because there are so many people who think I am wrong. But I don't care because I know there are going to be even more people who know what I am going to say is true, because they experienced it too.
Having a C-section does not make you a bad mom, it does not make you any less of a woman, and it does not make you a selfish person.
All those things are big fat lies.
If you were like me, you may have planned a natural, full term, drug free birth because you heard it was what is best for your baby. If you were like me you may have initially felt like a failure when you heard your plan wasn't going to work the way you planned it too. If you were like me you may have felt like there was something wrong with you because your body didn't "work like it was supposed too." If you were like me you most likely ended up on the same silver table completely paralyzed from the waist down before you even realized what was happening.
Most importantly, if you were like me, you also probably (hopefully) realized by now that everything that makes you the good mom, the real woman, and the selfless person you were, are and continue to be does not depend on whether you give birth in your home, in a hospital bed, or through your stomach.
You home birth moms, all those hospital bed moms, and us c-section moms... we all have things in common that make us good moms and women and despite what some may think those things have absolutely nothing to do with the location of, or drugs involved, in our labor.
1. All of us experienced pain: whether your labor was enduring hours of contractions or living through weeks of healing after getting chopped in half, we all felt pain, we all endured long hours and we all labored hard to bring our babies into the world. Some of us endured 48 hours of suffering because our babies were inside of us trying to get out and some of us endured 48 hours of suffering because our babies were out and we were trying to keep our guts in. But, guess what? Pain is pain, and labor is labor and we all experienced it in one way or another.
2. All of us created a child: we all have birth stories that result in us holding a child in our arms. The whole purpose of a healthy birth is to get the child here safely, and sometimes it is safer to cut the mother open, sometimes it is even necessary to do so in order to get the baby here alive. Other times this is not necessary. Whether you pushed, or got cut, your baby is here and that is ultimately what matters.
3. We are all tough: I apologize ahead of time to anyone who says that mothers who give birth naturally are 'tougher' than those who choose alternate paths because that is absolutely ridiculous. Yes the endurance and love it takes to bring a baby into the world naturally is extremely impressive. My mother did it 7 times and she is very tough. However, it is not fair to say that you are tougher than other women because you had your baby that way. It is not fair to measure the toughness of a mother by the amount of physical pain she experienced at birth. Being tough is a combination of physical, emotional, and mental endurance and I don't know a single mom who hasn't had to call on some serious physical, emotional and mental endurance at least once in her life.
4. We all love our kids: there is a sad concept that mothers who have c-sections do so to avoid labor, or for cosmetic reasons (...how is a five inch scar cosmetically appealing?). The idea is that a c-section is selfish on the mothers part and enduring endless hours of labor shows true selfless love. But what people seem to forget is that the moment to opt for a c-section you raise your chances of death, you higher your risks and you put your life even more at stake than it already was. How is that selfish? Most of the time women have no other choice than to save themselves and their children by having a c-section. Having a c-section is not cupcakes and comfort we choose because we are selfish... normally it is something we are thrown into when our babies or our lives are in danger. Remember that the next time you say us c-section moms chose ourselves over our kids.
Which leads me to my final point....
5. We all did what was best: at the end of the day whatever your story is, however you chose (or didn't chose) to have your baby, you know deep in your heart that what you did, what you went through was right and necessary. So don't you dare let anyone tell you that your choice was selfish, or crazy, or unnecessary. Don't listen to people who tell you that you are less of a woman for what you chose, and never ever allow yourself to believe that your story makes you a bad mother. Because whether your first time holding your baby was after a final painful push at home, or a last moment of pressure as you lay in the hospital or whether the first time you held your baby was an hour after you had her because you were being stitched up... you had that baby. You love that baby. And you are a good mother.