You Should Be Grateful is an article by Gretchen Humphries. If you gave birth by cesarean section you’ll want to read Grethen’s story and then read about her Beautiful Home VBAC Waterbirth . “You should be grateful, after all, you’ve got a healthy baby”. As a birth doula I have never uttered these words, “You should be grateful”, to a woman after her surgical birth. I often feel like I should say something but words don’t come easy. Along with my clients, I pray for, prepare for, and believe that BIRTH WORKS. So when long labor, hospital protocol, and lack of patience (mostly) lead ‘professionals to scare women into the OR I’m as confused as my clients. I’m ashamed to say that. I should after all these years have some wisdom, some inside scoop on the whys and wherefores. Have some words of comfort. But I don’t. I grieve too. The only words I have are true. “I love you. You did the best you could, Remember how long you stayed at home walking, swaying, singing, moaning, laughing? Remember that each step of the way you were informed and made the best choices you could in the moment? Remember how powerful you were.” And I want to say, “Remember the words that scared people used to undermine your power. Remember that nurse or OB that had never given birth or never seen such power? How he/she was scared of your power and eventually took your power? But I don’t say that, it’s not time yet. I only pray that you take time to fall in love with your baby, fall back in love with yourself as a mommy and in time ask the hard questions. I pray that you find a good support group, hopefully an ICAN group. And I hope you will call me if you have questions, need referrals, I’m still your doula. I loved being a part of your family as you prepared the nursery, had a baby shower and felt that first twinge, surge of early labor. I loved holding your hand and reassuring your partner, mother or toddler.
“…Now, when you tell me that I should be grateful, I realize that you are showing me how frightened you are. That you are afraid to look at my pain. That you are afraid to admit that maybe I have good reason to be angry, that maybe woman are truly assaulted in the name of birth….”-Gretchen
Going into a hospital today to have a baby is risky business. Please consider home birth for your future children. Do you tire of my endless mantra on the benefits of homebirth? Why do I mention it here? Because I care. Watch the movie that Ricki Lake has produced, The Business of Being Born. The World Health Organization states the best outcomes for mothers and babies appear to occur with cesarean rates of 5% to 10%. Rates above 15% seem to do more harm than good (Althabe and Belizan 2006), see Childbirth Connection. So entering your local hospital knowing the CS rate is 30-40% is taking a risk. Losing is always a bummer. Losing your wish to birth naturally and vaginally is a bummer. Take all the time you need to be bummed.
Call me crazy but some of my best doula memories include you: I’ve attended amazing beautiful, births that ended in Cesarean Section. I remember a woman that did years of TTC and adopted her embryo. Fully, in more ways than one, she was ready to experience pregnancy, labor, birth and motherhood! So when her baby was breech she gently and patiently did all she could to encourage baby to turn. Then she did more aggressive turning procedures and still baby stayed head up. We believed that baby would turn sometime during labor. She started labor spontaneously, She labored at home as long as she wanted. Then she went to hospital and labored some more. Her OB was unusually accommodating ‘allowing’ her labor instead of demanding an induction or pushing her into OR before mom was ready. Ultimately baby did not turn and being a primip, Mom agreed to the cesarean section. I remember the new mommy, daddy and baby as the were wheeled out of OR together – they were thrilled and beaming! They had did the best they could and they knew it. They knew how there are no guarantees in life and they were grateful for every little miracle. Today holds a miracle for you.