I read your post today, along with many others. I am deeply moved by your post, your grief, and your question, How do I love myself again?
After my unexpected cesarean (by the way, I too was into natural living and even a homebirth midwife at the time), I could not love myself for a long time.
And, at the time, being in the natural birth community, every time I heard or saw a natural birth, it was like salt in a wound; it was bittersweet, because I wanted it for other women, but I grieved that I could not have it.
I too thought my body had failed me, I was ashamed of my scar. I kept examining my beliefs around cesarean birth, around my birth--until one day, years later, I could finally tell my very disappointed and angy inner-Child, the part of me that felt victimized and ashamed, that it was not my "fault" It is not your fault, either Jennifer. Bodies are fallible, they do things we cannot control. My body did the best it could; it usually functions pretty well, it grew my baby, but for reasons beyond my knowing, in spite of my determination and effot, it could not release that baby. It wasn't my fault. I really did everything in my power to birth normally.
And I am as worthy and loveable as any mother, and so are you. We do not need to "send our inner-Child to her room" until she can birth right! We do not have to have another baby and birth normally to redeem or prove ourselves.
My heart feels your heart. It is challenging to reach out, when feeling so much depth, in an email.
I suppose we can say, even have to say, in having a cesarean we "failed" to have a natural birth. But for me, I eventually succeeded at something else in the long run, and that was in not continuing to judge and abandon myself for being human, for not achieving an ideal. I succeeded in loving myself as a mom, a cesarean mom, and my body just as it is. And that task was harder, much harder for me, than my difficult labor!
I send you my most compassionate greetings,
from a cesarean-sister,