I had a birth plan. It wasn’t complicated. I didn’t want a home birth, I wasn’t looking to deliver in a pool full of water and I wasn’t expecting butterflies released when my baby entered the world. I just wanted that magical moment, after all the pushing and pain, when the doctor laid my perfect baby on my chest and we had an abundance of skin to skin time. My husband would hug us and look at us endearingly. I would cry with happiness and it would be the best moment of my life. We waited the full nine months to find out our baby’s gender and I thought in the moments after birth we would be talking about how our baby boy was going to be on the soccer team or how our baby girl was going to be the princess I always wanted. What was definitely NOT on my birth plan was multiple failed attempts at an induction, actively pushing for four hours and being rushed in for a C-section. I didn’t expect to only get one glimpse at my precious new baby before she was rushed off due to breathing trouble and to give me time to ‘recover’. Also not in my birth plan was the sadness, guilt and jealousy I had after Lulu’s birth. It took awhile for me to cope with everything that happened during and after her birth. I wish someone would have reminded me of these four things after Lulu was born:

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You gave Birth

After my C-section, I felt like I couldn’t say that ‘I gave birth’. After all, my baby didn’t come out of the birth canal like a ‘normal’ birth. I felt like I somehow cheated. The truth is, I did give birth. She wasn’t pushed out like I expected, instead she was cut out of me in a major surgery. Giving birth isn’t defined by the way your baby comes into the world. I carried my baby for 40 weeks (plus 1 week and 3 days…she was very comfy in there) and my body changed to grow my baby. If it wasn’t for me and my body, this perfect human being wouldn’t be here. My body grew this baby and my body gave her life! It doesn’t matter how she came into this world what matters is that I gave her life.

You Didn’t Take the Easy Way Out

Anyone who says that a C-section is the easy way out, clearly never had a C-section! We as C-Section Mothers had our abdomen and uterus cut open and then stapled back together. We were given a serious dose of pain meds and put on strict movement restrictions. Prior to ever entering the cold and sterile operating room, many of us, tried pushing out our baby, we attempted labor and the C-section was the absolute last option. We had to make a choice about what was best for our babies before they even entered this world. We definitely didn’t take the easy way out either emotionally or physically.

You Didn’t Fail

I am lucky enough to be surrounded by incredibly resilient women. The women in my family are strong minded and tough. They are amazing women and even better moms. I heard all about the birth stories that the women in my life experienced. I knew they all powered through labor and showed amazing courage through it all. I knew how proud they were of themselves and how proud their spouses were when they were able to deliver their babies. I knew that they all had vaginal births and I never anticipated I wouldn’t. It never even occurred to me that I wouldn’t have the same type of birth as all of the other women in my life. I remember right before I went into the operating room that I cried to my mom because ‘I failed’. She assured me that this was absolutely untrue but it didn’t change how I felt. What did I do wrong? Why couldn’t I deliver my baby the way a woman was supposed to? Why can all of these other women have vaginal births and I couldn’t? All of these questions went through my mind right before the C-section and after. It wasn’t until one night that I was holding my beautiful daughter and she smiled for the first time. It hit me. Of course, I didn’t fail. I loved her from the minute I found out I was pregnant. I changed my diet and my lifestyle. I took vitamins and went to all of my prenatal appointments. I did kick counts and I went to birthing class. I did everything I needed to do to make sure my baby was healthy. The way my baby came into this world does not determine my success or failure. It wasn’t my fauly that she was a rather large baby and that her head was positioned wrong which made her stuck in the birth canal. This wasn’t my fault, I did nothing wrong. How could I have possibly failed when my body created the most perfect being I have ever seen? I couldn’t have. I didn’t fail. C-section Mamas may have given birth in a different way than anticipated but they certainly didn’t fail. After all, when you have given the world a miracle there is no possible way you could have failed.

Stop Focusing on How Your Baby Came Into the World

The months following Lulu’s birth, every time I heard about another baby being born a little part of me was jealous. I hated hearing about other people’s birth stories because mine was so traumatic. I didn’t get the happy and exciting moment that everyone else got.  I cheated myself by getting bogged down in this thinking. I missed celebrating happy moments with my loved ones. I missed out on talking about my birth story. I missed out on celebrating the day that changed my life. I missed out because I couldn’t stop thinking of all the things that went wrong. I am not going to make this mistake again! If my next birth ends in a C-section my focus is going to be on how happy I am to have my baby in this world. I will focus on this new life that I brought into this world and what a blessing that is. These are the things that are important about your birth story, not which way your baby was delivered.

C-section Mamas {and all mamas} YOU are strong, you are courageous and you are amazing! Stop telling yourself any differently.