Write this on your heart, on your mirror, or tuck it away for when you need it most:
How you deliver your baby does not have any connection to your value as a mother.
The same goes for how you manage your pain in the process and whether you offer breast or bottle at the 2am feeding.
Take it from the gal who pranced into L&D with her wide birthing hips ready to take on her first delivery, only to end up in an emergency c-section because the 7lb baby couldn't fit through. I didn't read the csection parts of What to Expect or any of the articles relating to recovering from cesareans in Fit Pregnancy. When you hear your baby may not make it out alive because his blood pressure has dropped so low & isn't returning to normal, in an instant you drink that disgusting cup of disgusting-ness & let them race you to the OR to slice him out. Choosing repeat cesareans because of the risks involved in VBAC and the knowledge that with every reason for vaginal birth to work the first time, it ended in an emergency c-section doesn't say a thing about my courage or femininity.
I completely skipped the bottle feeding part of TCLB and memorized the breast feeding routine. I had to humbly accept, I couldn't do that either. I'll skip why. One, because it's an exercise in mom-confidence not to validate the "formula-fed baby" note on my baby's crib card & partly because my transparency stops at describing personal anatomy on the www.
Turns out playgrounds are integrated so my formula-fed kids play right along with the breast-fed tike. Phew!
It's the moms that segregate. Sometimes alienating each other or isolating ourselves.
Still, I'm surprised by the mourning that takes place walking in for a scheduled section with my eyelashes curled vs. standing in Target when my water breaks & calling my husband to say through bated breath, "It's time!" I stood in the shower last night for a good while crying and crying because I couldn't nurse my baby and have to feed her something that comes in a can.
My head knows the truth.
My head nods when my husband points out that our kids are perfectly healthy.
They are rarely sick, with no food allergies or developmental delays.
I can even crack up through my sobs when he throws in the cosmetic bonus to being unable to nurse. Such a guy! Bless his heart, he's trying all he can to soothe me for the third time as I mourn the loss of birth and feeding as I grew up imagining it.
What really matters in the end
is not how they get here,
but that they're here.
And we're loving every moment of these past few days with our new Clara Lily.
PS: While I did not love not knowing her sex while I was pregnant because so much of the excitement of pregnancy for me is setting up the nursery and filling the closet, I highly recommend waiting to find out until you're on the operating table, because so much about a c-section is predictable and planned. Since it's so uncommon now, everyone in the OR-drs, nurses,& techs got in on the fun and started making predictions followed by big cheers when at last we saw, it was a she. Super fun!