I’m slowly starting to come to terms with my past labour choices and decisions. This is a good thing for me, because I’m no longer afraid to say to people, “Yes, I did ask for the epidural during my last labour.” Yep, I’m fine with that. Asking for one, begging for one, needing one medically, whatever anybody does, it’s all fine. No one really ever should have to justify their decision to anyone, nor should another person presume the purpose for someone having one.
I was recently reading the story of a friend of mine who was about to have her third elective Caesarean section – her first baby was a vaginal delivery, but her precious little boy was born with quite severe cerebral palsy. The mental and emotional trauma she has endured since that point is beyond my comprehension. In fact, I wouldn’t hesitate to say that it is quite beyond anyone’s comprehension, because no one was there except her and her husband. Some people might be able to empathise due to similar circumstances, but not truly comprehend. She elected to have a caesarean section for her second, third and now fourth child, and who are we to argue with her choices? A google-reader? An exponent of natural birth? A midwife? An obstetrician? A psychologist? Do any of these people have a right to tell another person what they should do in that situation? Today, my friend is open in saying she is soon having her third elective caesarean, and she says she is proud because she has gotten to this point – she is still here, still going, still living and loving and laughing, and a caesarean won’t stop that from happening. In fact, for her, it will most likely ensure that the living and laughing and loving keeps going. Good for her!
My situation is not even in the slightest way comparable to this amazing woman’s story, but I will learn from her strength and confidence. I will say, “Yes, I asked for the epidural. Begged even! But I also laboured drug-free for 12 hours prior to that point, and I’m proud of that.” Be open and honest about your past, be proud of your resultant actions.
On my current journey, I have come to be a part of a group of women who are aiming to have a natural birth. All for our own reasons, all have our own stories and history. Some are first time mums, the rest are second and subsequent mums who have previously not had a natural birth. It was made mainly because we were part of a natural birthing group, but we found that we were being persecuted (whether perceived or real) for previously having other births that were not classed as natural, or for wanting a natural birth as a first time mum. This group we are now in is not one that revers and worships a natural birth. Sure, we all want to be able to birth naturally in the future and we love the idea of a natural birth as our own birth of choice, but we all realise that we need to be open and honest about our past, and be proud of our resultant actions. We wanted and needed support from people who could relate to having had a birth that was not what we previously wanted, or perhaps that birth was perfect in our eyes at that time, but now we wanted differently, and this decision makes us feel differently about our past birth. Some first time mums have expressed sadness that their choice of a natural birth was often met with negativity, remarks of “you won’t be able to do it”, or “you are young and naive”, and minimal advice except to “keep your options open because you’ll need them”. People in my situation, having not birthed a baby naturally before, have been asked “why would you think you are capable of a natural birth, when you haven’t been able to do it before?” I personally have been told that ‘I am setting myself up for failure’, and that I am foolish for trying to be something that I am not. Is this the way of the world these days? Negativity, nasty remarks, no confidence in others? Is this the way to improve, build, grow? Absolutely NOT! Thus why this group was formed.
The group is based on positivity, encouragement, education with evidence-based practice, kindness, celebration, reflection and evaluation. I feel safe and happy there, and it is there that I have found the confidence to be open and honest, and yet proud. I’m open and honest about my birth history, and I’m also proud of the things I achieved in my pregnancies, labours and births. I’m also extremely proud of what is to come for me! Yes! I’m proud of something that I KNOW I will achieve!
I leave you all with a great little poster I found just this morning. This poster is definitely going to grace my birth wall! It’s not just related to labour and birth, but to everyday life. Read it, think about it, live it.
Love and light, Liss xxx