Mess To Message, messy momming

C-Sections, Shame, and Perspective

It’s been a month since I received the disappointing information that burst my bubble of what our birth story might look like.  For nearly eight months, I daydreamed and planned and spoke life into the idea of delivering via v-bac (vaginal birth after cesarean), and no one had told me I should think otherwise.  In fact, it wasn’t until my 32 week appointment that one of the doctors I see, the most experienced doctor of the practice, asked me about my pervious c-section.  Upon hearing that birth story, he gently painted a picture of what I might expect for this one.

As you can imagine by the title, it wasn’t the flowers, rainbows, and glitter I’d been longing for.

I was immediately disappointed.  And beyond disappointed, ashamed.  How could I, a woman, not be completely and totally able to deliver this baby as she should be delivered?  Why was I so flawed?  Why wouldn’t my body do what it was supposed to do, designed to do?

Piggy backing off of the tumultuous experience of getting and staying pregnant, and all of the shame that stemmed from that journey, accompanied by the well intended but ill thought out messages peppering my mom groups with sayings such as “your body was meant for this” and “you were made to get pregnant, deliver naturally, breast feed, etc.”… I was struggling under the pressure of society as seen through the lens of would be perfection.

And so my prayers, after that appointment, were filled with fear, rejection, inferiority, and resentment.  I begged God for a small baby, an easy delivery, or at least the opportunity to try to prove myself.  I wanted to deliver naturally so I could say that I’d done it!  To validate my worth as a woman!  To blot out the indignity of my previous delivery and subsequent borderline depression from the embarrassment of failure!

Two weeks later, I was given a glimmer of hope: we’d measure her at 36 weeks and a small baby would give us the go ahead to try for the much anticipated v-bac, while a larger (if not just average) baby would solidify our need to schedule the cesarean.  It was at that appointment that my perspective changed.

How dare I ask God for my will to be done in this matter?  Who was I to assume I knew what was best for my body or my baby?  What in the world made me qualified to give God the answer, to offer Him the solution to my problem?  And when did I forget my desperate plea for the blessing of carrying a baby to term, replacing it with my request to to determine the way she was born?

In the next two weeks leading up to our baby girl’s measurements, I found myself praying in a new way, with a new heart, and a new point of view.  I asked God not for what I wanted, but for what He wanted.  I prayed not for the perfect delivery, but praised Him for making a way for women of my structure to deliver at all.  I was filled with gratefulness and appreciation for having been born in this moment in time- a time in history when your bone structure did not cause you death in child birth, but simply qualified you for a different kind of child birth.  How lucky am I, is every woman who has needed one, that I get to have a baby even though I’m not exactly perfectly designed to do so?

Here’s the dangerous part about messages that say anything other than “you need to be obedient to God’s will for your life and the life of your child”: they are implying that all of us has the choice.  I get it, there are quotes and affirmations and encouragement out there to embolden and empower women to do hard things to get to long term rewards… and truly I don’t begrudge any woman that motivation… but the truth is that we live in a fallen world.  And because of that fact, people are born with imperfect bodies.  Women with ovaries and a uterus have trouble carrying babies, or getting pregnant in the first place.  Women with breasts have trouble producing the quantity of milk they need to adequately nourish their babies.  And women with hips have trouble delivering even small babies because of bone structure abnormalities.

Sure, the ideal is that we are women hear us roar into motherhood… but the reality is, some of us cling to God and medical intervention to usher us into our destinies.  I, for one, am tired of feeling badly about that.  And I’m tired of hearing of other women feeling badly about that, either.

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If I can be honest for a hot minute without losing your fellowship, I used to judge women who chose to have a second c-section without even trying the other way.  Perhaps this experience was designed specifically to extinguish my pride in lieu of wild humility.  Because after speaking with my doctor about the what if’s and what might’s, the pros and the cons, the probably’s and the seldomly’s… I had to ask myself the question, “Was I willing to put my baby at risk, myself at risk with a six year old and a husband waiting for me, for the sake of my ego or to satisfy any judgmental “haven’t walked in my shoes” side liners who might have a less than life giving thought towards my decision?”

And the answer was obviously, definitely, without even a shred of doubt no.

So, with all of that being said, I can proudly and excitedly announce that our sweet little lady (who, as it turns out isn’t so little at all) will be making her way into this world on Tuesday April 3rd… and we will not stop thanking God for His provision.  Here’s our healthy, growing, thriving, chunky, squishy little miracle now:

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Who needs a natural birth when you have a supernatural God planning your steps?

Proverbs 19:21

“You can make many plans, but the Lord’s purpose will prevail.”

What is your experience with birth, c-sections, v-bacs, or mom shaming?

3 thoughts on “C-Sections, Shame, and Perspective”

  1. I’m so happy for you Noel! I know when we had lunch you were struggling with this decision. A healthy and thriving babe is all that matters! Xo

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  2. Hi Noel! Reading this today has given me much more peace than every “your body was made to do this” and “you are a woman—labor through the pain” message I have read since getting pregnant last May and having my son on February 17 by unwanted and unplanned c-section. My immediate thought was this is it. This is the way I will have to have all my other children. Then I researched vbacs but discovered I would have to switch doctors practices to do it and have a natural birth. There are so many options, but you are right! Who am I to question how God saw to deliver His son (not mine) into this world. And, who am I to question how my future kids come into this world. By vbac or other, whatever way, it is God’s Will! Thank you so so so much for writing this!!!

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  3. I can totally relate. After having to have a c section with my first, I was determined to have a VBAC with my second. I had a tough pregnancy but was all set to go and encouraged by my doctor to go for the VBAC. Well after laboring for 22 hours, fully dilating and pushing for 30 mins, my baby boy was stuck and I wound up having to get the c section. And it was way worse cause my body was so exhausted from laboring all day. I was so disappointed and felt like I had failed my son just because I didn’t push him out. But that’s ridiculous and my son is now a healthy thriving 6 month old with a giant head 😂 (which is probably why he was stuck) Every birth is different and it’s all beautiful. Thanks for sharing these thoughts

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