August 4, 2014

Natural vs C Section: Who Is the Better Mother?


I read an article back in June about a new show coming out that shows women giving birth in the wild, completely devoid of any medical help and it's stuck with me. One paragraph in particular: 

As extreme as it may sound, the show [Born Into The Wild] is, believe it or not, a natural extension of a culture that has turned labor into a defining moment in women's lives, their first chance to prove just how devoted a mother they truly are. The criteria for measuring this devotion are based on how little medical intervention they use during labor, meaning the ultimate mama, the sort who might appear in this new show, is one who relies only on her breath, the shade of a couple of pine trees, and a kiddie pool on top of a bed of leaves to get her baby out in the most natural method imaginable. On the losing end of the spectrum, we'd see a C-section mother, who broke every alternative birthing commandment imaginable by electing to undergo the procedure. 

Isn't it sad that this is really how many think? That a natural birth makes you a better mother...
Have you noticed it too?

I've struggled with writing this piece because it's very personal and I'm sure, controversial. 
Natural childbirth vs a cesarean. Are you proving your worth as a mother if you have one rather than the other?

My first pregnancy went 41 weeks.
She was classic textbook. We didn't find out the gender, she hit every milestone she was supposed to, there was never any doubt in my mind that I would have a vaginal delivery.
The night before my induction, which was scheduled at exactly 41 weeks, I went into labor on my own.  It came on hard and fast.  I had never made a birth plan, what's the point, the baby can't read and won't follow it anyways.  I had never considered an epidural.  Not because I thought I was better than them, but because I was petrified of one. I never got one.
Within two hours of my water breaking, it was time to push. I pushed for maybe 30 minutes and she was in my arms. A completely natural delivery.  She went skin to skin immediately and latched within the hour.

Until I went into labor I was scared of what labor would be like, I was afraid of the pain and the recovery. I felt power and pride when I saw a perfectly healthy little baby in my arms that my body had made and nurtured. I was proud of how brave I had been.

My second pregnancy was different.
We learned we were having a boy at 17 weeks. He hit every milestone he was supposed to, until we hit 32 weeks and he hadn't flipped. At 36 weeks, he hadn't flipped.  At 38 weeks I attempted a version and he didn't flip. I fought so hard for my vaginal delivery.
The night before my scheduled c-section, I sat in my bed thinking.  I hadn't made a birth plan again and clearly this little man wouldn't have listen anyways. I was petrified of the spinal.
Within two hours of being at the hospital, it was time to get me into the operating room. Seven minutes later I had a small child in my arms, and a half hour later I was all stitched up. A completely textbook routine cesarean. He went skin to skin immediately and latched within 15 minutes.

Until it was over I was scared of what a c-section would be like, I was afraid of the pain and the recovery. I felt power and pride when I saw a perfectly healthy little baby in my arms that my body had made and nurtured. I was proud of how brave I had been.

But I was disappointed in myself for a bit.  Before he was born, when people would ask, I always said "I need to have a c-section because he's breech", like it was an excuse for my failings. But I didn't fail.  
I gave birth to a perfect little boy the way he needed to be delivered.

Am I a better mother to my daughter who was a natural delivery? Nope.
I was, and am, exactly the mother that both of my children need, even if those needs were not and are not the same. 


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