I’m not a big advocate of the “birth plan”. I mean, how can you possibly plan something that you ultimately have no control over? Planning or envisioning certain details makes sense to me, like what you’re okay with, and how you’ll advocate for yourself; other than that, you kind of have to go with the flow.
When I was pregnant with my daughter C, I remember being completely and utterly terrified of labour and delivery. Abnormally afraid. To me, it was one of the scariest things that could ever happen in my life. I knew that I had to concur this fear before baby arrived, so I worked really hard during my pregnancy to get mentally prepared. I had a midwife, took a birthing class, watched The Business of Being Born, and read a lot of articles and books about having an empowered birth experience. I even felt like I would try as long as I could without pain medication. Me? Me! Yes, it’s true. My mind was transformed.
So, when the big moment arrived, I felt ready. I had an amazing labour. It was like a spiritual, out of body experience that I truly enjoyed. I maintained laser beam focus throughout the very long journey to meeting C. Fast forward through a looooooong labour, I ended up with a caesarean. Now, this is something that I definitely knew about, but I wouldn’t say that I “planned” on it. I was so focused on conquering my fear, that I didn’t really consider this alternative.
What I didn’t plan on was how scared I would be during the entire caesarean. I have a fear of hospitals to begin with, which didn’t help. For me, knowing the specifics while it was happening was not an option. Armed with a tank of laughing gas in my system, I had an animated and comedic chat with the surgeon, and requested that he not verbally give details about which tools he was using, what he was doing next, or how much time remained. Normally a details person, I knew that hearing these specific details would have sent my focus out the window. I asked for a nice, calm caesarean, and concluded our chat with my request for a “no zig-zag incision”. Always the funny girl 😉 The surgeon agreed, and on we went. I kept my eyes closed, cried sobbed, and breathed deeply through the whole experience.
Caesarean births can come with a lot of unnecessary stigma. I remember feeling so much shame and guilt after my caesarean. I would burst into tears just thinking about it. Talking about it was painful. I felt like my body had failed me. I replayed the days over and over in my mind. To compound these terrible feelings, people say completely inappropriate, insensitive and ridiculous things. They suddenly become detectives, asking dozens of questions, like they’re trying to determine the validity on my behalf. Throwing their unwanted opinions at you like daggers. And it doesn’t just happen immediately following your birth experience; no, it continues well into the first year after.
It took me a very long time to come to terms with my birth experience. Feeling anything but proud after having a human exit your body is ridiculous. To all the caesarean Mommas out there – congratulations!