So yesterday I had this moment, mamas.
I went to the local birth center to pick up something another mama left for me there (some eczema cream samples for my kiddo). While I didn't give birth there (we planned a homebirth), I did look into it and went to some moms groups there after I had my baby.
I walked in, and these women at the counter were so warm and kind. The whole vibe of the place is relaxing and just, awesome. There's this fountain in the waiting room, aromatherapy going, everyone wearing organic hemp. It's just, *sigh. I love it. I do. And there was a pregnant mama in there who just glowed and was laughing with the midwives.
And when I walked out of there after getting my samples, I felt so so angry. It took me a while to figure out why. First I thought I was angry because of the old jealousy thing. The birth center is a place where births happen that aren't like my birth. And I wish I could've had the kind of natural, sem-zen experience I had hoped so much for.
Then I felt angry because I think we are likely going to have just the one child, for financial and other reasons. And I just think, I will never get another "shot" or something like that. I will never get to enter this world again where people hold you and help you and there is this warmth of a community coming together to help a baby arrive.
But then I thought, "No. I don't actually want to be pregnant again. That's not what I miss."
And it dawns on me. I'm angry because that community feels closed to me now in a way that it wasn't before. After I had my baby the way I did, I felt like I didn't "get into the club," so to speak. My story wouldn't be told by my midwives to any future clients. It wasn't something they made me feel ashamed of, but it wasn't exactly a celebration either, you know? Not like what I've seen with the other mamas.
Women who've had kids there or at home dress their babies in onesies that say "x Birth Center baby" or "Born at Home." I bought one and my son never got to wear it because it wasn't true and I sobbed everytime I looked at it.
There is a homebirthers picnic in my hometown every year but I can't bring myself to go because I feel like I don't belong in this sisterhood. Photos of my birth will never go up on any website. My birth story is an "unfortunate exception" to the successful natural birth narrative.
I felt, after my son arrived, like I was out in the cold, and didn't know where to go. I didn't identify with mamas who had planned hospital births. I also no longer identified with the homebirthers. I felt like I was without a community.
So today I'm asking myself, and all of you, is there anything our communities and little social circles can do better so that mamas like me (or others who might feel as I do) don't feel like outcasts who have "exception" birth stories that don't fit any existing narratives?
Here's what I have thought up so far:
Can we expand the "successful birth story" narrative?
-I wish c-section stories were on homebirth midwife websites alongside homebirth stories. Midwives serve both, and smart midwives know when transfer is neccesary. A successful birth that involves a transfer is still a beautiful birth that is worth talking about. It is still part of the spectrum of homebirth.
-I wish birth centers did the same thing.
Can we do more to make sure that c-section mamas have a wide option of choices for their next births, if they become pregnant again?
-I wish insurance companies weren't so closed to VBACs. Now that I've had a C, my options are limited, and I often feel that this isn't based on real evidence, but on just a feeling that VBACs are risky. How risky are they really? Do the stats bear that out? I feel like women who've had C's and wanted a natural birth sometimes feel ostracized because they know that certain options within the natural birth spectrum are closed to them because of what happened before. That isn't the natural birth folks trying to hurt anyone, it is the reality of their insurance premiums. And I think it has an emotional impact on c-section mamas.
These are just my thoughts, and I'm just speaking for myself here.
I'd love to hear what other people think of all this.