"Childbirth is a bitch" they say, "but you'll forget about all the pain once you see your baby".
Or in yoga class they'll talk about the breathing they did to get through labor. Knowing I'm a mother, they'll turn to me and say, "Its just like going through contractions! Breathe in, breathe out..."
"I pushed you into this world, I can take you out!" They'll say to their misbehaving child.
Yes, I'm a mother. But I have no idea what these ladies are talking about.
Yes, I'm a mother. But I had no labor pains, I have not had any contractions. Ever.
Yes, I'm a mother, to two children. But I've never gone through 'childbirth'.
Sure, you could say I'm lucky. To never have gone through what is known as the most painful thing for a woman.
Sure, you could say my vagina is lucky its never been stretched or dilated.
Sure, you could say I should be greatful to not have gone through that.
But I'm not.
I wish I had vaginal births with just one of my kids. I wish I had gone through what my mother did, what her mother did, and her mother before her. I wish I could smile and nod and understand the jokes of vaginal birth moms. I wish I could be a part of their club. I wish I had that sense of womanhood. That sense of accomplishment. "Look what my body did!" And smile proudly at the end of the birth.
I can never tell me children the sense of relief once I held them in my arms for the first time. The way I always pictured it; my hair a mess and sweaty, my eyes red from tears of pain and joy, my husband gripping my hand in support. Then to get to hold the baby right after, all the endorphins and joy that come from that magical moment. Time would stand still, and we would be a family.
No. I didnt get to hold my babies right after they exited the womb. I was strapped to a table with my arms pinned down. I couldn't sit up to hold them because all of the organs in my abdomen were on a surgical tray. After my kids were pulled from their womb, I was being put back together and stitched up. The first time I saw my son I was in the hospital room already. When my daughter was born, the doctor held her up so I could see her. So at least I got to SEE my baby almost right away.
There's a part of my children's baby books that state
"Contractions started ______________
And they lasted ______________
Mommy did ___________ to help the pain"
It's a part I can never ever fill out. It will forever remain blank. It depressed me after a while, so I just covered it with pictures of my babies. But I know its still there.
Maybe I have romanticized childbirth a little. Maybe I would feel differently if I had a vaginal birth with my kids. Sadly, I'll never know. And I wanted to. So badly.
So when women are trading their battle stories of their 38 hour labor and the horrible contractions, and they assume I understand what their referring to because I am a mother... I stay silent, hanging my head, wishing I had something to share.
"Oh and the pain was HORRIBLE! I was thinking of ANYTHING to get my mind off it. You know what I mean...."
"Uhh..." *stares uncomfortably*
Sure I can't share the epic tales of their births with my children because they didn't happen that way. But you know what I can do?
I can tell my son I recognized his cry down the hall at the hospital and knew it was him.
I can tell my daughter that my head and heart were so nervous and excited they day she was set to arrive.
I can tell my children that their lives didnt start with me in immeasurable amounts of pain.
I can tell my children they are here, and that is a miracle. Because if it weren't for modern medicine, it's possible neither of us would have survived.
So I may not be a part of a club of mothers that had an awesome eventful birth, but I am a part of a club of mothers. And while some may assume mothers all have gone through the same thing, I'll know I'm different. Which, depending on the day and my mood, may be a good thing or a bad thing.
So if you are a laborless mother like me, know that you are not alone. Certain aspects of society and in our social lives may make us feel like failures because it didn't happen the way it happens "naturally". But you are here. So are your children. And that, mama, is amazing.