April is always a big month here at The VBAC Link because it is Cesarean Awareness Month. It can be a really hard month for some, and we understand that 100%. Social media can be hard to see because all month long, you will likely see a lot of posts that may be triggering. Cesarean Awareness Month is not meant to send triggers, but we know that it can happen, as many people are bringing awareness to C-sections, Avoiding unnecessary C-sections, and even VBAC.
As I have been seeing posts come in this month in our communities, both The VBAC and CBAC Link communities, I decided we needed to talk a little more about birth and how we feel after. It can be easy to feel this way, but I want you to know that the way you give birth does not define you as an individual. I can understand on SO many levels how someone would feel deflated, broken, incapable of Vaginal birth, and more. I honestly can say that because I FELT THAT WAY for a very long time.
After my first C-Section, I felt robbed and that I failed. I felt that my body failed me, and I failed my baby. It only became worse after having my second C-section that I wanted to be a VBAC. I had to really learn how to cope with not getting my VBAC. Outwardly I put on a brave face for a long time, and told people I was okay and I was just “happy to have a healthy baby” (if I only knew how passionate I would become about that statement). But let me be honest with you right now. I WAS NOT OKAY! I was heartbroken. I wanted a VBAC so badly and did not want my baby to be born via C-section. At the time I gave birth to my second daughter, I felt like C-section meant total FAILURE. I talked about wanting to VBAC to everyone, and when it didn’t happen, that just meant I failed. It didn’t help when I actually received my OP reports; they said “failure” on them. Although I was grateful to be more part of my birth with my second, that was still not the way I wanted it to end.
My sad feelings and doubt in my body’s ability to birth vaginally did not go away overnight. I so easily let it consume me and even define me. I called myself a “forever C-section mom.” That label I put on myself was given in a negative light. But through time, processing, talking it out, and learning more, I really was able to understand that I didn’t “fail,” and I didn’t need to give myself any extra label other than I am a mom of two beautiful daughters. I became stronger mentally and physically and found myself proud of what I had done. Birth is so amazing and such a selfless act. If you are feeling down, defeated, etc., I am here to tell you #womanofstrength, the way you give birth DOES NOT DEFINE YOU!
It does not matter if your baby comes out of your vagina or your abdomen. YOU GAVE BIRTH, and YOU ARE AMAZING. Now that my girls are older (Lainey, 11, right) (Lyla, 9, left), I had a chance to chat with them about both of their births. They know what I do, and I wanted to let them know how it all started.
Looking back, I can’t believe that I thought I failed them. I understand why I was left feeling that way but I wish I could go back in time and tell myself I DID NOT FAIL anyone. After I shared their birth stories with them, they said wow, mom, THANK YOU. I was blown away. THANK YOU??? That’s what they said first? It was not what I expected, but I would be lying if I said it didn’t bring a little tear to my eyes. I said well, THANK YOU for joining our family. They immediately gave me a huge hug and started asking me questions like, did it hurt, is that tiny scar where my whole body came out of, etc.
Here is a picture of my girls and I. They love me so much. They do not care how I birthed them or what my body did or didn’t do; they love me because I am their mom. I love them and am grateful for my C-sections. People often say ya, okay, but really. I am grateful for the births I had because it has brought me here today. Here with all of you!
So if you are here looking for love, Please know we love you and offer yourself grace. No matter how you give birth, planned C-section, Unplanned C-section, VBAC, Medicated birth, unmedicated Induction, HBAC… That will never change.