A reader also named Miriam sent me a lovely email with her birth stories, and agreed to let me share them here. It’s always lovely to me to hear from parents who had second birth experiences that fulfilled their dreams and expectations. Enjoy!
I wanted to thank you for all your wonderful posts about reproductive freedom. While I’ve always been pro-choice, until I had children myself, I didn’t think of it has having anything to do with birth choices.
My first child was born in the hospital four years ago and it was horrific. It was the classic medically unnecessary c-section after a tidal wave of interventions that I was unprepared to deal with. I’d wanted as natural a birth as possible and I was basically denied and undermined in every way in working towards this goal. I was never really given informed consent about the Pictocin they put me on right away, even though I was already in labor. As you can imagine, one thing lead to another and another until I had a c-section. The really truly stupid thing about it was that the reason they officially gave “failure to progress” was based on the fact that some 7 different people had checked my dilation and everyone had a different number, 4, 8, 3, 5… it was crazy!
After that, we had four months of breastfeeding misery…which did have a happy ending, we were successful with breastfeeding and my son weaned a little bit after he turned three.
I now think that so many women have postpartum depression because they internalize and blame themselves for painful birth experiences. We are made to feel like failures, were the system is what failed. I didn’t get depressed at all, as it happens. I got wicked insane angry. It took a couple of years of talking to people, doing a lot of reading and such but I finally put all the pieces of the puzzle together and figured out what really happened to me and my baby and why.
Seven weeks ago I had my second child, a girl, at home. It was the exact opposite of my hospital birth experience. It was wonderful, peaceful and loving. (and I got to eat!) My midwife supported me and took the time to listen to me and discuss options. It was so different from being told what to do without any discussion! We had a birth pool, which felt amazing. And in the end, I have to say, it wasn’t as painful as everyone seems to think childbirth is. Maybe because we get scared and have mentally been indoctrinated to think that child birth is super painful and everyone absolutely needs to have drugs? I don’t know. The recovery was a cake-walk compared to the recovery from the c-section and we haven’t had any problems whatsoever with breastfeeding.
Anyway, sorry for the long rambling message. Your posts about being pro-choice and the homebirth/midwife movement were a part of my mental space as I got ready for this birth and it meant a lot to me. Thank you.