26 September 2006

Made For Birthing

Not long ago, the discussion came up, as it does, about women who've just had babies. One woman mentioned a four-hour labor, where the baby practically fell out of her. "That woman was just made for birthing!" was the exclamation. I stared intently into my drink, not meeting anyone's eyes. At all. I had a primary cesarean, and then a VBAC. The jealousy/envy over vaginal births never goes away. Rip-her-throat-out-wtih-my-teeth jealousy of those women whose babies fall out of them. Yes. Almost crippling. Unless you've been there, you cannot understand the fundamental feelings of failure that a cesarean can create. And once you do your homework and find out that yours was perhaps avoidable, the emotional rip tide can carry you out to postpartum depression hell, to slowly drown in it. Then I had my VBAC. And was totally blown away by the fact that I still had a ridiculous stupid long hard labor (36-ish hours). I had thought that if I got the positioning thing right, the baby would fall out. I figured that if I approached it without fear, if I visualized my little heart out, that I'd get the kind of easy birth these women had. Nope. I, apparently, am ... not built for birth? Not meant to birth? Not a birthing woman? Yet... there was my baby. I had birthed him. When people read Kestrel's birth story, or hear the story of my labor with him, I am greeted with all kinds of shock. 38-howmany hours? Without any kind of pain medication at all? You're serious? Yup. Totally serious. There are rules in the Geneva Convention about not doing things to soldiers, that laboring women endure. No sleep, no food, then hours of extremely strenuous physical work to the point of bodily harm. You'd get arrested for treating a dog that way. But women just do it, like they've always done. I am sometimes amazed, reading my own and other womens' birth stories. We? We did that? Why yes, we did. And then ride the endorphin high for days on end. The very endorphins that are one of the chemical bases of bonding. So that on the very deepest of levels, by our ability to marathon instead of sprint, we prove that we are made for birthing.

7 Comments:

At 9/27/2006 02:08:00 PM, Blogger Amanda said...

Hi there. It bothers me, too, when I hear the comment: "She was made for giving birth." Even though often they're referring to me. It bothers me because ALL women's bodies were made for giving birth. (Not that I think all women should have children!) My first labor was very long and ended up with forceps delivery. But there wasn't anything wrong with my body. As usual, the people involved just got impatient.

Enjoyed your post. :)

 
At 9/27/2006 03:23:00 PM, Blogger LadySeduction said...

Made me cry, Laureen....I too have that horrible envy, even after 4 tries....
My sis in law accidently had her son on the bathroom floor b/c she just felt a little like having diarrhea....I was home recovering from my second cesarean after trying everythign to have my baby at home....couldnt' talk to her for a very long time.

 
At 9/28/2006 10:58:00 AM, Anonymous Mom2 said...

when they say you are made for birthing, it means you have wide hips for easy passage.(I mean wide on the inside) at least that what it used to mean. as skinny as I am my hips were made for birthing. 8 hours Jason-drugged- Marc 6 hours natural. and for my Ria 12 hours natural, but she was just being stubborn, which she still is :) and none of them were real hard labor.

 
At 9/28/2006 11:21:00 AM, Blogger J said...

From the bottom...no, the *top* of my overflowing heart, THANK YOU for explaining the vicious birth envy/failure/PPD cycle better than I have been able to thus far. To be here now, on the other side of all that pain, reveling in our glory together, makes me feel closer to to you than my own sister-- that bitch! A 12-hour unmedicated birth! (if you don't count the Cytotec induction for low AFI- LOL) Anyway, in my mind, the V truly stands for victorious now, and I have the victory garden made using the black wrought-iron frame from the bed Seamus was born on to prove it! "We did that? Why yes, we did!" All The Love, Jessa

 
At 9/29/2006 04:00:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is life. We all have things that come easily and things that present us with a struggle. You think you're a better person because your kids behave at IKEA. That other parents aren't as smart or as effective as you are when in reality there are so many other variables that effect a child at any given moment. With a world view like this, naturally you have to look down on yourself and beat yourself up over a c-section. Do you see the parallel logic? If you'd have had an easy vaginal birth you would, naturally, attribute it to your superiority as a human, woman, mother. The other mothers with harder births? They wouldn't be as highly-evolved, in-tune, womanly as you. You judge others harshly, therefore you have to torture yourself with your own judgement. Let it go. Release and be at peace.

 
At 9/29/2006 07:34:00 PM, Blogger ElementalMom said...

...and you are still anonymous. Uncloak, willya, cause you're clearly not getting the point.

 
At 9/29/2006 08:22:00 PM, Blogger Isabel said...

LOL! That was a pricelessly blithering diatribe. Ah, Anon's posting was a scream. I'll avoid the obvious remarks about "this is clearly someone who hasn't read much here", both because it's too obvious and it's not useful to engage; Elemental Mom is one of the kindest and most utterly decent people I've ever met (I know her well) so I'd like to remind her, in the unlikely event she takes this seriously, that you can be as clear as you like, but you just can't help everyone.

 

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