This beautiful angel marks grandchild number 18 for my mother. Such a sweet little thing who was long overdue in more ways than one. When she was finally ready for her big entrance we all awaited with open arms. No one's arms stretched greater with love than that of her two doting parents.
Once I heard of her arrival I rushed to the maternity ward to meet this sweet pea. There I faced the all too familiar yet distant memory of giving birth. As I entered the delivery room I was flooded with more than just love for this child but with comments from both of her parents about how hard labor really was. Her mother immediately expressed how she wishes she would have been stronger.
She had nothing to feel bad about or short of accomplishing. Yet, I've seen this before. I had three children naturally. Hardest thing I've ever done. I get it moms, I really do. However, many times I've felt mothers who experience c-section births say less than ideal things about themselves after childbirth. Somehow there's guilt associated with having a non-natural birth especially around those of us known to have gone the rare epidural-free route and delivered naturally.
To me, there's no shame in the labor and delivery game. The end result is ALL that ever really MATTERS. We all get to the grand finale differently and some moms' processes are much harder than others, of course. What's certain for every birth and mother who deliveries naturally or not is that they're all bonafide champions. Our bodies endure an unthinkable pain. Our mind is in a state of disarray. This process is inexplicably HARD to understand or fathom unless you've been there personally. Don't let movies, magazines or cocky birth accountants convince you otherwise.
Whatever the journey of childbirth every woman who experiences it has earned her stripes. There's no chart to map one delivery type more significantly accomplished than another. There is no tally and surely no score sheet. We all went through our unique journey and we should be proud of how the story unfolds.
After my niece's mother talked about wishing she had more strength, I simply leaned into her painfully weary and excruciatingly tired space to reassure her of the victory she'd accomplished. Her daughter's entry into this world was just as it was meant to be and no one's preconceived notions should alter that truth. Every birth resulting in a healthy mother and child, no matter the birthing process, is a victorious feat worth honoring.
Have you experienced post c-section guilt or know a mom who has?