04 March 2011

I Want to Give Birth

No, I'm not pregnant, but I'd like to be soon, and so I've been thinking about it a lot lately, and I've come to at least one conclusion: I'm excited to give birth.  That's right: excited!

Eli and Silas's births did not go as I planned.  For a long time that made me really sad.  When I get into conversations where war stories I mean, birth stories, are shared, I all too often typically get one of two responses: the "well, you have two healthy babies, that's really what matters, right?" and the "well, if you had only done this or that you could have had the perfect birth."  I even once got a "Well, I guess God was just teaching you a lesson for trying to plan what was out of your control."  Huh? Not helpful.  For some reason it is fine to share your horrific, graphic and terrible birth stories, but being disappointed by them is taboo. Well, guess what?  I believe it is okay to be upset by your birth experience!  That's right, it's fine to feel disappointment, pain, guilt and sadness over what happened during a birth.  It's even okay to place blame on others, if that's where you feel it belongs.  Of course a healthy baby is what really matters, but there is nothing wrong with expecting your body to do what it was meant to do, even if we understand that sometimes things are out of our control. There is nothing wrong with being affected by what happened or how you were treated in birth.  

Somewhere in the past few months I have managed to move past the feelings that I have been harboring about my birth experiences.  I have been able to forgive myself for not doing what I meant to do, and accept the beauty of the births I had.  I have realized that no matter how a baby comes, the entrance into this world is truly beautiful.  With Eli I was able to take advantage of the miracle of modern medicine - without it we wouldn't be here today!  With Silas I was able to accomplish what many women do not - giving birth vaginally after having a cesarean birth. Although it didn't go as I dreamed it would, I did it, and that is a real accomplishment!  And with those accomplishments and experiences under my belt I am feeling prepared to do it all over again.  And I have a game plan!

I am going to deliver my next baby in my home, in water, with my husband and both boys by my side. 

I will be very clear with my midwives about what I want and what I need.  I want a natural homebirth in water. I need them to trust that I can do it, even if I say I can't. I need them to tell me I am strong when I feel weak.  I need them to grab me and tell me that labour may be hard, and may be painful, but that I can do it!

I will take a natural childbirth class... or two... or maybe even three.  Despite my ridiculous amount of research on the matter, I think the more prepared I am, the better. Besides, let's be honest, any excuse to sit around and talk about birth is an excuse enough for me!

I will hire a doula, as well as my midwives.  I will tell her the same thing I tell the midwives, just in case they have a moment of weakness.  I know I am strong, and that I can do it, but I think I will need to be reminded of it, and so the more people prepared to do that, the better!

I will have a birth plan that states not how I want my birth to go, but how I expect to be treated.  Sure, I'd love to dictate that I only labour for 6 hours and push for 20 minutes, but really, what is more important is that I am allowed to labour at home, in peace, with my family around me; that I am not encouraged to push until I feel the urge, and that I am instead encouraged to move and find a position that works best for me and my baby, that I will support my own baby as he or she emerges into this world.  Oh, I am excited to write my birth plan, yes I am!

It has been suggested by family members, doctors and friends alike that perhaps I should just give up and accept that I cannot give birth the way I want; that I am crazy not to be scared of doing it all over again; that I would do well to lower my expectations of birth, so I won't be disappointed again.  I will not expect less just because there is a chance of disappointment.  I am excited, I am looking forward to it!  I am strong: I am amazing, actually, and I know I can do it!


  1. Ohhhhh I really liked this post. I was thinking about this last night...about parenting regret and moving past choices or circumstances that I regret, including and not limited to not being brave enough to complete the births I had envisioned. I think the third time is the charm for me as well, as I am excited to give birth, just exactly how you described...maybe I will get a copy of your birth plan and just right "ditto" on the bottom!

  2. I love this post, Jenny. I haven't yet moved past my disappointment (and, yes, anger) about my first birth, but I have decided that I will do it my way this time. And I'm not saying it will go my way (I know that birth is rarely as expected), but that I will insist on making my own decisions about just about everything this time.

    I, too, get sick of people acting like my issues with my first birth are a source of embarrassment to them - like my feelings are something ugly that I just shouldn't talk about.

    And I love your comments about a birth plan. It's a 'how I expect to be treated', not a 'how I want my birth to happen' - there's not much the doctors and nurses can do about the end result, but they have so much control over treatment.

    I didn't make a plan for my first birth, mostly for fear of coming across as 'that' pushy or annoying patient. But this time, I'm loving the process. I feel like if I don't communicate what I want this time, it will be my own fault that I don't get what I want. And there are too many people coming in and out of a hospital birth for me to talk to each one myself - so a birth plan is perfect.

    Sorry to make a novel out of a comment, but I really identified with your post!

  3. Well said! I have always hated the "at least you have a healthy baby". As if the mother doesn't count at all, as is the emotional/spiritual isn't as valid as the physical.

  4. I'm excited to give birth, too! Thanks for sharing your feelings. I like to read about this topic in all perspectives. I enjoy your encouraging words of strength and being able to accept that we can't control the outcome.
    I know I enjoyed Amelia's birth more than I thought I would.


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