I've been a midwife for 10 years, and I have learned two facts:
Your birth matters tremendously.
And your birth doesn't matter at all.
Here's what I mean:
Birth is arguably the most intense and vulnerable thing we do as humans, and it matters tremendously how you experience yours.
Were you listened to, respected and nurtured ?
Were you a part of the decision-making process?
Were you revered as you went through each step?
The experience you have giving birth stays with you for a lifetime. As a midwife, it is my honor and responsibility to ensure that experience is an empowering one, and it's my deepest hope that your birth was for you.
I also need you to know that when it comes to your ability to mother your baby, the type of birth you had doesn't matter at all. (While we're at it, neither does the way you feed your baby , or whether or not you work outside the home , or whether or not you have many babies or just one , and all the countless factors that we mothers judge ourselves about every single day.)
I am not saying that those things aren't important—they're incredibly important, especially if they matter to you. But what needs to change is the implication that your ability to mother your baby depends on how your baby came into this world.
It doesn't. Not at all.
If you had your dream birth, I am thrilled for you.
Here's what I want you to know if your birth experience wasn't what you imagined or planned.
If wanted to have an unmedicated birth, but ended up getting an epidural .
If you wanted a vaginal birth but ended up having a Cesarean birth .
If you wanted to breastfeed but ended up formula-feeding .
I am sorry that what you originally wanted didn't happen—and it's truly okay to grieve for that experience. Take as long as you need and give yourself permission to really feel those feelings.
But as you look back at the experience you wanted and didn't have, please know this: Your baby just wants you.
Your baby doesn't know that you had hoped not to get an epidural but did. They just know how safe they are in your arms.
Your baby doesn't know that they entered the world via an incision in your belly and not via your vagina. They just know that you feel like home.
Your baby doesn't know that there was a long and emotional road filled with lawyers and paperwork to make them yours via adoption. They just know that you can make the rain stop and the sun rise.
Your baby doesn't know that you sobbed the first time you gave them a bottle of formula because you wanted to breastfeed desperately. They just know that you are the one thing they trust most in this world.
Your baby just wants you.
The implication that the type of birth you had somehow relates to how much you love your baby, or how good of a mother you are is egregiously wrong. And I'm so sorry that our culture has made you feel that way.
I am on a group text with other parents in my daughter's class. We text about confusion over what assignment is due when, or what Zoom meeting room the next virtual class is supposed to happen in, or how our kids are coping with the massive transition of virtual learning during a pandemic. You know what hasn't come up once? How these children came into our lives. Because while our stories matter tremendously, they don't matter at all.
Each parent in this group text, and every parent in the world, would die for their child.
We stay up at night worrying about them.
Our hearts swell with pride with each new milestone reached.
We love them fiercely and it has absolutely nothing to do with their entrance into our worlds.
So, mama. I know you are aching. I know your birth may not have been what you wanted. Those feelings are incredibly valid and welcome.
And you are the mama your baby needed. Trust that you are enough—you always have been.
For when you need a reminder that you are exactly what your sweet baby needs.
Your transition to motherhood deserves a guide that will empower you, and never make you second guess your worth. That's why we wrote The Motherly Guide to Becoming Mama . From conception through the fourth trimester, this book will carry you through with respect and love.
Sometimes a visual reminder can help get us through the tough times—especially when it comes in the form of a simple and gorgeous piece of jewelry.
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