Many of us have birth trauma- both parent and child. When we are told to suppress this, it hurts everyone. The way we birth matters.
A healthy mother and baby is the most important result of birth, it’s true.
But after my first child was born my arms were shaking from the epidural and I could not steady myself to properly touch or kiss him, and then he was whisked away. I heard him screaming and knew my husband was with him, but it was not enough. I was strapped down, unable to move, and having a clinical panic attack.
Things were slightly different the second time around, but it was a “failed” VBAC. I was so close, but a supposed concerning heart rate thwarted all of my and my baby’s work.
I appreciate the words from those who try to remind me to feel grateful that we all are okay- thriving. I am. Grateful. But I don’t think it’s all that matters. I want people to know that I did not want a c-section. I could have avoided it if I had known more. My baby could have been caught by me and climbed to my breast.
He could have been enveloped by already familiar arms, and basked in our meeting. Rather than be taken away by cold and unfamiliar hands, he could have remained with his mother- indefinitely and around the clock. Instead he was shot, poked, cut, and assaulted.
I want people to know that it does not have to be this way. I want all mothers to be supported. I also want people to know that so much more than a “healthy mother and baby” matters. The birth that we have matters for our baby, and it matters for the mother.
I did not have enough information. I had not learned the nitty-gritty. I did not know that some avoid vitamin K, circumcision, and quick cord clamping. I simply did not know. If I had , I would have chosen differently. I would have made arrangements to surround myself with the support I needed to trust myself and my baby. I would have learned enough to build my confidence so that even in my most vulnerable state, I had no need to waver.
So yes, having a healthy mother and baby is the most important result of a birth, but it is not all that matters. How the woman birthing transitions to mother matters too, and so does what happens to her baby.
I am grateful for the health of myself and my children, and that they are in the world with me. I also give thanks for knowing that if there is a next time, things will be different. It will be kinder, more tender, and warmer- not only for my baby’s welcome to the world, but for my own transition to mothering a new child.