Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Losing Faith in the Female Body

Losing faith in the female body.  It sounds silly to write.  How can one lose faith in one's body?  Well, lets start with the fact that its ingrained in our brains from birth.  Especially us Americans!  Think of the way a movie goes when someone is pregnant.

1.  Labor starts spontaneously  (lots of times her water breaks)
2.  Instant intense, unbearable pain
3.  Damsel in distress either calls ambulance or seeks help
4.  Pregnant woman is whisked away to the hospital to be saved by Doctors.  How else could you have a healthy baby?

How are we to trust that are capable of natural childbirth when childbirth is so taboo?  Why is it the one thing no one talks about?  When you see someone with a newborn you ask, boy/girl?  how much did she weigh?  how long?  whats her name?  how old is she?  While these are also important questions, one we should be asking is "How was your birth experience?"
I have to admit that before I went through this whole process I had never seen a vaginal birth.  But who hasn't seen a live c-section?  Its on TV 24/7.  You can show me the inside of someones uterus but not a baby being born naturally?  Heaven forbid we see a baby breastfeeding either.  I had never seen someone breastfeed until I took the breastfeeding class at the hospital.  After the class I felt slightly more confident that I could do it, but not much!
When I go back and think about it now, I'm sure I'd lost faith in my body before I was even induced.

1. Being induced in the first place was my body failing.  I didn't go into labor.
2. I needed an epidural.  I couldn't handle the contractions on my own.
3. I pushed to no avail.
4. I needed a c-section.
5. The 1st few breastfeeding attempts didn't work.
After all of these "failures" in less than 24 hours, how could I trust my body?  It had let me down in every way.  Just as I had seen in SEVERAL tv shows about real women.  Why did I feel like a failure when they seemed like they were on cloud nine?  Why DO I crave such a natural birth process now?  More importantly, why do I feel like such an outcast for wanting a natural birth?

I'll go back through the 1-5 on a positive note now that I'm in a happier place than delivery day.
1. My body didn't fail with needing to be induced.  My Doctor failed by not letting labor happen naturally.
2. I needed an epidural because being induced is ridiculously painful.  Also, I didn't take any pain management classes, so I didn't know what I was getting myself into.
3. I pushed lying flat on my back.  The worst possible position.  I pushed before I felt the urge.  Because I was told to.
4. I needed a c-section because my Doctor was impatient. Impatient in many ways.
5. This was the 1st time I had breastfed a baby, and the 1st time my baby had tried to breastfeed.  We were learning together.  No one says its easy.

Now I can sit here and blame my Doctor all I want.  But I am also to blame here.  I needed to be more informed about childbirth, to ask more questions about things that were being done to me, and to ultimately choose a Doctor that had a natural approach to childbirth.  Going to an Obstetrician that mostly does vaginal re-constructive surgery for a natural birth is like fitting a square peg into a round hole.

So, how does one regain faith in their body?  I've started by absorbing all the knowledge I can.  I've read countless books, magazines, blogs and birth stories.  I've started exercising.  I have and am successfully breastfeeding my now 9 month old baby.  I have a mantra.  (I am healthy, healed, and am able to give birth vaginally)  I have lost all 55 lbs I gained during pregnancy, and 10 lbs extra!  I have been drinking red raspberry leaf tea because its one of the few things out there that can help strengthen and tone the uterus. (mostly proven by midwives)  And lastly, I've found a Doctor that not only allows VBACS, but SUPPORTS them.  (and delivers over 30% VBACS a year)  I am now confident in my bodies ability to grow, support, and nurture a baby.  Finally I'm at the point where I'm excited to have another baby, to give my body a fair chance at childbirth.  A fair, supportive, loving, nurturing chance.


  1. I can't "Like" this post enough.

  2. Very nice post Jesse! You are truly amazing. I agree 100% with induced labor being extremely painful. That is one thing I do remember with my son's birth. I love your courage and drive. AMAZING!!

  3. I haven't heard you mention that they changed your due date based on the size of Ginny, and I think that has a lot to do with your body "not being ready." Had you been given the chance to go another week, things could of been different. Next time things will be different and I can't wait to be there to support you and hold your hand! Love you sister!

  4. I love your blog, it's extremely brave of you to be so willing to bare your soul. I had a terrible c-section experience with my first (2007), and was terrified to get pregnant again. I just had my VBAC this past October, and I think my birth story might help you and encourage you that yes, you can VBAC, and even though you pushed and still had a c-section doesn't mean you aren't a good candidate! You can find my birth story on my blog. I look forward to following your journey and reading about your VBAC... because you *will* have one someday!

  5. I saw your blog posted on the ICAN of Phoenix page on FB.

    I cannot begin to tell you how similar our feelings are about having had a csection. Two years later, I still got emotional when I talked about it. It wasn't until a few weeks before my second child's birth that I HAD to let it go ( which took a lot) if I wanted the VBAC I was planning.

    Anyway, I just wanted to let you know that there arre others that feel the same and I'm glad I wasn't alone in my thoughts.

    You can read my VBAC birth story, if you like, on my blog (August 2011).

    Thank you for sharing this.


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