Each is Beautiful

I have been thinking about birth a lot lately (obviously...). I was talking with a friend recently about birth and she mentioned a comment that another close friend had made to her about her birth. In essence, she said something like "Well, I didn't go naturally...but, I am happy with how the birth went." She was apologizing somewhat to my friend for not "succeeding" in a natural birth. What I wished that I could say to her (so I will say it on my blog) is that you need not apologize at all for how your birth did or didn't go! Too often, especially in the natural birth world, we become judgmental of how other women's births went. It is not our place to judge and nobody should ever have to feel that judgment. We are all different and we all arrive in different ways to a very similar end goal.

We are all mothers. Our journeys to motherhood may look quite different. Some may arrive through natural childbirth. Others through induction, c-section, or epidurals. Some may arrive through adoption and others, while never bearing their own children, may arrive through mothering those around them. No matter how you look at it, we are all mothers - striving to do our best - and we have all made sacrifices for our children.

My sacrifices might look different than yours. That is okay. Neither one is better or worse. Our journeys are different and what could be completely right for me, may be completely wrong for you. In the end, it really is about our babies.

There is no need to be disappointed in a birth that didn't go how a natural birth advocate would have planned...if it went how you planned it or if it went in a way that was okay with you, then your birth was perfect! We have to strive for our best birth. I recently read a birth story of a girl having her second c-section. It was a wonderful experience for her! Her first had been extremely traumatic due to the circumstances (a breech baby that was in very serious distress), so all she hoped for the second was that she could be awake and see her baby. She got what she wanted! She felt cared for by the doctors and nurses and came away from that experience feeling uplifted. I loved that story because although our birth experiences are very different, we both came away with a sense of growth, accomplishment, and undying love for our babies. I have read many stories like this lately that are so different than my own, yet inspire and uplift me.

Sometimes there are disappointments in birth...unexpected interventions or perhaps an emergency c-section. Even in those events, birth is beautiful and full of miracles. I loved this post about the courage of c-section mamas. Here's a little excerpt:

"In our analysis of cesarean births and their increasing numbers, we get caught up in the focus of why the cesarean was or was not necessary, if this or that intervention caused it, if only that had been done or not done then perhaps the birth could have been vaginal. We get angry, we get sad, we work to change things. This is all good and very important, because too many women are subjected to unnecessary cesareans.

But can we please stop, for one moment and recognize, that no matter how educated or uneducated, coerced or informed the choice that woman on the operating table made or didn't make, whether that cesarean was elective or emergency, necessary or unnecessary - it takes a lot of courage to get there. Our birth culture may be saturated in fear-based decisions, but behind every cesarean and "unnecesarean" is a woman of courage. In that moment, it doesn't matter how that woman got to the operating table. It doesn't matter if the surgery is necessary or unnecessary, what matters is that it takes extraordinary courage to say:

"Cut me open. 
I love my baby so much, that I will do anything to get my baby out of my body alive. 
Lay me out, cut me open 
because I love my baby so much." 

That is courage. That is bravery and sacrifice and mothering in its purest form. That is the willingness to lay down your body and risk your life that your child might be born, that your child might live.
Cesarean mothers are BRAVE."

I have to say that a c-section birth is probably one of my biggest fears and I wholeheartedly feel that cesarean mothers are extremely brave. You have made the ultimate sacrifice to see your baby's face. I have many friends who have had c-sections and I want to tell all of them how beautiful, strong, and amazing they are. Sure - the c-section rate is far too high and we need to advocate and work for change to bring that number down. The maternity system in this country needs drastic reformation and change. Mamas and babies need to have better outcomes - not just physically, but emotionally and mentally as well. There's no doubt that there are a lot of flaws. But, there is an awfully big amount of strong mothers out there - on both sides of the fence...natural birth camp or otherwise. We need to all work together, recognize each of our beauty, and recognize the value in each of our personal journeys. Each is beautiful and each is important.

Let's stick together, join forces for good, uplift one another, and remember how each of us is wonderful and beautiful no matter how we birthed our children.