Friday, August 15, 2008

The Birth, Not the Baby

I'd be lying if I said I wasn't angry, sad, and grieving over the cesarean section. You're probably thinking something along the lines of, "Well, but you have a healthy baby, and that's what matters." However, the message that the end justifies the means is an inappropriate one here. Yes, my beautiful, healthy baby boy matters, but he's an entirely different topic from the manner of his birth.

I'm grieving over the loss of my birth experience. I knew that I might not have my ideal birth as I'd envisioned it, but, wow, I never thought I'd end up with a totally medicalized birth. It's not about feeling disappointed with my body; I know that some women do feel that they failed in some way. For me it's about missing out on the full experience of a natural labor, pushing my child into the world and being the first to greet him as he lay on my chest. Kieran will be my only child, and I wanted that elemental, primal experience with him.

I'll never know if Kieran's birth could have been different, and that keeps me from being entirely at peace with it. I know that I should probably be grateful that I live in a time and country in which we have the knowledge and skill to deliver babies and mothers that are in danger and might otherwise die or be horribly injured. But I don't know that my c-section was inevitable. Was there any point along the chain of decisions where we might have avoided the c-section? It doesn't help that the doctor who performed the surgery was the doctor I liked and trusted least out of all the doctors I saw in the practice.

I went to a La Leche League meeting this week, where I ended up in a discussion about birth. When asked about my own experience, I mentioned my disappointment in the c-section. (Don't worry, I didn't go on and on about it like here or anything! I stayed up-beat.) One woman, who had three children with her, proceeded to gush about all of her birth experiences and how beautiful they were and how she just loves birth. I don't begrudge her her wonderful births, but hearing about them did make my heart ache. I'm moving through the grief; at some point I will be able to put it away for good.

1 comment:

Melissa Q. said...

i, too, grieved not seeing that child emerge from me and putting him and her--on my chest. that is really normal to fel that way. i've tried to focus, in retrospect, on the naturakl things i did with them such as breastfeeding, cloth diapers, and pinching their cute little bums. somehow this has helped me.
incidentally, a good friend of mine just had a VBAC abd she honestly told me she wasn't sure which way was better. food for thought for me.

we're thinking od you!
love, melissa