When Your Safe Place Becomes a Judgement Zone

5 years ago

After my oldest son was born I became involved with a wonderful organization that helped me through some of my darkest hours of feeling broken and taken advantage of the maternity care system in our country. I was heavily involved until I got pregnant with my daughter.

And to be honest – I was never planning a third child – EVER.

I had two negative experiences that scared me to death to have another child for a plethora of reasons. From undergoing a third surgical birth to suffering a deep postpartum depression again. I couldn’t put myself or my children through that again. It was bad enough living with the memory of my second delivery and the postpartum depression that stemmed from that — I just knew I couldn’t go through that once more.

Then I got pregnant with Addison. I was petrified. Not just because of my previous experiences but because I emotionally couldn’t deal with it. I was a hot mess for weeks even before I announced to the world that there was a bun cooking. I slowly pulled myself together and went where I thought I could get the most help. The group that had supported me through some of my darkest hours.

After 14+ weeks of research, interviewing providers and talking with my midwife who had been by my side since 2008 I decided a scheduled c-section would be best for me. Not because a doctor thought that is what I should be doing, but because it is what I wanted. Even after saying I would never sign up for a scheduled c-section.

Why did I pick a c-section?

  • I wanted to be in control — The loss of control with my previous deliveries had really started the spiral of negativity.
  • I wanted the best recovery — I wanted to not only have my older children taken care of, but I wanted the maximum time for healing I could get.
  • I knew I couldn’t give birth — No matter what anyone would tell me, in my heart of hearts I knew there was no getting a baby through this pelvis.
  • I didn’t want to be wreckless — I wasn’t jumping on the unassisted homebirth bandwagon. No matter what anyone told me, with my history of births and complications it was a death wish.
  • It was my choice! — No matter what anyone told me in the end it was my decision. Not a midwife or doctor… MINE!

I consulted with four practices. Two OB/GYN’s and two Midwife only practices. One practice with midwives would take me if I wanted to try and VBA2C, with high risk perinatologists as their backup. These were strangers to me. All new, no comfort level – starting over like I did with my last pregnancy.

Through all of these interviews I decided to sign on for a repeat c-section with the OB/GYN practice that backed my midwife up. A practice of doctors I knew with a midwife I knew would be by my side when I went in for my c-section.

At this time I almost knew I would instantly get shit from the same women who were supposed to be in my corner supporting me. And that is exactly what happened. It was immediately assumed I was ignorant and uneducated despite all the research I had done, on top of being a Lamaze Educated Childbirth Educator (one day I will finally sit for my exam to be “certified”).

It was almost as if – any women that chose a c-section – even for a medical reason was ignorant.

I was flooded with emails of “what if’s?” and have you tried x, y, or z. Which only further upset me.
Those who were there to support were throwing out all these unwanted opinions and backhanded snide comments hidden as advice.

It sucked.

My safe place I always felt I could go to for private support became a war zone and I was the enemy.

It was then I think I came to realize maybe I was the enemy. I wasn’t extreme. I wasn’t conforming to others ideas of what I should be doing or how I should be birthing my daughter. I let my true mothers intuition guide me through my journey – not extremists disgusted as advocates.

I stepped down from my personal positions within the organization and worked on distancing myself from the childbirth community as a whole for a while. Not just this organization per say, but even others from the internet community in the same area. Not all… just a few.

I was so hurt by those I had considered friends for so long. The blatant backhanded hurtful comments without knowing the whole painted picture were very telling though.

In the end I had a “emergency” c-section as I went into labor with my daughter three days before her scheduled delivery.
In the end I was able to labor for hours with absolutely no progress like both of my sons even though she was a tiny 5 pound peanut.
In the end the safest delivery – and only delivery method for her to come out… alive… was a c-section.

In the end I realized even more so that there are some women out there in my shoes who will never physically give birth — and there is nothing wrong with that.

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