Rethinking our Birth Stories

C-Section or Natural – all deserve a “Job well done momma!”

The average labor for a first time mother is 6.5 hours. The length of “hands-on” motherhood (birth till 18) is 157,248 hours. So why do many mothers allow their birthing experience to define their mothering journey? From a time perspective, the birth compared to raising your child is equivalent to a speck of sand on a beach.

Now don’t get me wrong, being pregnant and having the baby is amazing. It is thrilling to see how our bodies are made to protect growing life and help us through the birthing process. But with a growing trend of natural and nonhospital births, I worry that mothers that go different route, such as a C-section or an epidural, end up feeling “less-than”.

My Birth Stories

I had the benefit of having two different birth experiences – both awesome. The first one, my daughter, was a long but smooth 14 hour labor. At 10 hours into it, with many self-doubts, I decided to get an epidural. Wow – what a difference it made! When it came time to push, it was a fun experience that lasted an hour but we laughed through it.

My son was what is called a “spontaneous delivery”…and let me emphasize the SPONTANEOUS part. Within 20 minutes I went from feeling like I was in labor to needing (begging…pleading) to push, and then had an active baby boy in my hands three pushes later. It was an intense but amazing ride. No drugs…no time for drugs. The first thing our doctor said to my husband was that #3 will probably be a home birth and she will teach him how to deliver. Evidently babies can come out of me really fast!

Having both a medicated and a natural birth I see the benefits of each. I am not in the natural birth “camp”, even though I have several friends that are home birth advocates. There are many benefits to controlling your surroundings and trusting your body. Plus the rush of hormones after giving birth without an epidural can’t even begin to hold a candle to what probably gets passed out at raves.

I have heard mothers talk about their birthing experience with embarrassment or shame. Maybe they had to schedule a C-section due to personal needs or they were scared and wanted an epidural towards the beginning of labor. It is painful that some think their experience is not as worthy or noble as someone that didn’t get the drugs or didn’t do it in a hospital.

Why do mothers doubt themselves?

Maybe because some moms have a way of looking down at anyone that isn’t squarely following their personal doctrine on childbirth and rearing. Or we are quick to measure our experiences against others. Either way, social media and thousands of “expert blogs” don’t help the situation.

“Oh you don’t feed your kid organic grapes, have you read about the pesticide content?” “Wow, you are sending your kid to the local public high school…geez, good luck.” “Ugh, I don’t know how you could go back to work after a few months off. You are going to keep breastfeeding, right?”

Instead let’s say, “Congratulations on your choices. You are doing the best for your family and your child looks healthy and happy! Job well done momma!”

And for those of you that didn’t have the birth story you were hoping for, it’s ok. You have 157,248 hours to make-up for any perceived ill choice. And I PROMISE YOU, this will not be the last time you beat yourself up over a parenting-related decision. So let it go and proudly think back to the day your baby was born. Because YOU DID IT! Job well done momma!

Tags: , , , ,