"I guess I took the easy way out" was what my dear friend said to me when we were discussing her caesareans. "Like hell you did" I responded, "surgery is no walk in the park".
And it is major abdominal surgery.
But I'm not going to delve into medicalised births here, because what really peaked my interest with her statement was the psychology behind it. Why did she think that it was an easier way out? In what other context would you have major surgery and then be expected to care for a tiny person with high needs? Did she feel like she would be judged from a natural birthing mother?
It got me talking in passing to other mothers about how they felt about their birthing experiences. Some had a drug free natural birth, some had pain relief and / or interventions, some had planned and unplanned caesareans. Some mothers felt great about their experience and some did not. There were factors that contributed to the way they felt about their experience; the weight of their own expectations, the expectations of family and society, recovery times and difficulties bonding or feeding. With the exception of a few mums, most of the mothers that had pain relief or interventions, or discontinued breastfeeding, unnecessarily justified their reasons to me.
With one medicalised birth under my belt I went on to have two natural births. I am passionate about natural birthing and it was the best option for me. It won't be the case for everyone and that's okay.
I teach hypnobirthing because I think all birth is beautiful, and as long as you come from a place of informed decision making than your birth is perfect for you. We even have a dedicated positive caesarean course which is a world first.
The way we feel about how we bring our babies into the world matters, and if a mother feels like society will judge her for her choices then this needs to change. We need to consider the impact of our words and advice, however well meaning it might be. There is no right way to birth, and mothers should be supported with whatever decisions they make. You do not have to justify them.
If my dear friend, my clients or indeed any other mothers felt like they would be judged by me as a natural birthing mother, please know that this would not be the case. I am passionate about ALL women having a positive birth, and the definition of positive is different for everyone. YOU need to feel good about it, and know that the way we bring our baby into the world has no bearing on how much we love them, or on how good a mother we will be.
To the mother who feels like she took the easy way out. YOU DIDN'T. We make the best decisions that we can at the time with the knowledge that we have and the circumstances that we are in, and there never any doubt that your baby was brought into the world with all your love.
I trust whatever path my baby's birth takes.