I look around nervously, palms sweating, and try to take deep breaths.
“Delena? How about you? Do you feel like sharing?”
I swallow hard. Slowly, I stand up, knees feeling weak.
“It’s a safe place, Delena. We’re here for you. It’s a safe place.”
I clear my throat.
“Uh, hi. My, uh, name is Delena,” I start.
“And…” I look around, heart racing. “And…I have had a c-section.”
“Be honest, Delena. It’s a safe place.”
“Okay…” I clear my throat again. “I’ve, uh….I’ve had three c-sections.”
Oh, the shame. The mortification. The absolute embarrassment.
Oh, okay–while I’ve never went to a C-sections Anonymous meeting, I must say that I sometimes experience the same physiological symptoms and feelings of dread when the “Sooooo…how were every single one of your births?” conversation comes up.
There’s nothing like sitting around with a group of women, though, when the one cuddling the newborn says, “Oh, it was just the easiest birth. Gary helped me pace around the room, and we sat on the exercise ball for awhile, and then bam–he just came out!” or “The midwife arrived at 3:00 in the morning and set up the tub in our bedroom. I walked around the house, got in the tub with Jim, and bam–she just came out! And you’ll never believe it–but when the sun came up, there was a rainbow…and sunshine!”
This prompts every other woman in the room to start telling THEIR Sunshine and Rainbows Birthing Stories while I start sweating.
And then it gets to me.
“What about you, Delena? Did yours go okay?”
“Ummm…I had a c-section,” I say, cringing at what’s coming next.
Gasps. Hands to their hearts.
“Oh, Delena! I’m so sorry!” with sympathetic looks, shaking their heads.
“Well, you SHOULD be sorry–YOU were the reason I had to have the c-section,” I joke, suddenly thinking I’m Don Rickles to ease the tension.
Uncomfortable silence. Crickets in the background. A car alarm goes off in the distance.
And here comes my favorite response:
I plan on trying this out after the next Sunshine and Rainbows Birthing Story.
“…and then she just came out! The birds were singing on the windowsill when it happened!”
Me: “Oh, That’s AWFUL!”
I just want to see their faces.
Yes, I’ve had a c-section (oh, all right–THREE c-sections!), and no, it wasn’t how I “planned” it, but I’ve found a doctor who I actually trust who let me know that my bone structure internally is not conducive to having a baby. Therefore, c-section is the safest route for the baby and myself.
I’ve seen the documentaries and read the literature on the number of c-sections in this country. Do I think that docs get a little impatient sometimes and just want that baby outta there? Yes.
Do I think that sometimes c-sections really ARE the safest way for baby and mom? Yes.
Do I worry that due to my repeat c-sections that my uterus will one day be so thin that the doc will tell me I should not have any more babies? Yes–and I worry that will happen when I’m 30, and the husband and I will have to “NFP-it” until menopause. And seriously, who thinks THAT sounds like fun? Not me.
And do I know that there are more risks associated with c-sections than natural births? Yes. But I also know of women who have had ten c-sections without having problems and women who have had six natural births with a prolapsing uterus as an end result.
Bottom line: Childbirth is not fun. It’s not all sunshine and rainbows with birds singing on our windowsill. It’s not SUPPOSED to be fun, though–remember that whole God telling Eve something along the lines of hard childbirth thing back in the day of the Garden of Eden? Yeah–it’s not supposed to be easy or fun. Whether you have a natural birth, a birth with meds, a c-section, or whether you adopt–the process is not pain-free. It’s mentally, physically, and emotionally taxing–and if you want someone to blame, don’t blame your husband. Blame Eve.
Why we, as women, judge other women by their birthing stories or tell them “how awful” is beyond me. We should be there to lift each other up and congratulate each other on a beautiful experience–NEW LIFE!
St. Gerard of Majella, ora pro nobis.
Delena blogs about life as a Catholic stay-at-home mom at http://itsonmyto-dolist.blogspot.com.
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