The Struggles of an Unexpected Birth Experience

This guest post was written by a mom that I know personally and often refer to as ‘hippie mama’. After having unexpected difficulties with her home birth, she’s decided to share her story and support all the moms who may be struggling with their birthing experience.

birth story

photo credit: Adrian Dreßler via photopin cc

“I’m having a home birth” conjures up many responses.

“You’re such a hippie!”

“You’re crazy!”

“What will you do for the pain?”

…and my favourite; “do you know how many things can go wrong?”

These are just a few.  And let me tell you, I’ve heard them all.  And maybe as you’re reading this, you might have your own comment to add to the list. But ultimately I think, a little support goes a long way.

I’ve tried to write this essay multiple times.  I write and write but never seem to come to a point. I want to write about my home birth experience but at the same time, don’t want people to think that my experience was anything close to normal.

It wasn’t.  

I was so excited to have my baby at home.  I had the best cheerleader on my side (my husband), I practiced my mantras in the bath tub for months and knew that pain had nothing on me (honestly, I was a superstar….like really, I should be awarded a gold medal….I’m serious). I laboured at home in my birthing pool for days before I was finally taken to the hospital.  It’s too long of a story but the bottom line is, I had a new midwife, she didn’t have the experience, my baby was breech, tons of signs were missed, yada yada yada…enter into my arms beautiful baby boy. He’s healthy, we’re happy.

Let me say first off that although my husband and I planned to have a homebirth, we knew that whatever was going to happen, was going to happen.  We weren’t keen on staying at home if we couldn’t and knew that going to the hospital was a possibility.  Although I’ve been called a hippie many times in my life, I wasn’t forcing myself to be “one with nature” in this regard.  I just wanted to go with the flow.  Also, let me clarify that I do believe that home births, just like hospital births, can be beautiful, momentous occasions where babies are welcomed into the world healthy and happily.  One way of having a baby is no better than another, and moms are SUPERHEROES no matter how, where, with what aids, and whatever ways that they deliver their babies.  You hear that moms? Whatever you’re doing is amazing and whatever choices you have made for you and your family are good.  I support you.

As all new mothers know, in the beginning, you’re tired.  You’re so tired you don’t think you can go on.  Okay, so imagine being that tired then add two days prior to that, bouncing up and down in a pool trying to get a baby out.  There’s no reason that I should have gone through this but it was a decision we made.  What I do know looking back is that my birthing experience got in the way of my mothering experience.  I was so exhausted and this traumatic event made me question my every action as a new mother.  I thought that I had single-handedly ruined my baby’s first moments of life (he wasn’t breathing for the first minute) as well as made a terrible decision in having a home birth that didn’t make me worthy of being his mother.

I stumbled.  A lot.  I cried.  A lot. Then I cried more.  A lot. I wasn’t sure about anything and found it difficult to put on a smile for visitors. I had trouble with everything I encountered.  My once confident and always positive self became just the opposite.  I could do nothing right.  I was paralyzed with fear and saw “I told you so” in many people’s eyes.

So what’s my point?  To tell you the truth, I’m not really sure I have a one.  But I do know that in life, there are no right or wrong answers.  What feels right for you might not feel right for someone else but everyone deserves to do what they want.  We can only chose if we are going to be judgmental and feel superior or try to understand people, listen to them and just… be… nice.

I have people in my life who listen and understand.  I have great friends.  Some told me way in advance that they thought a home birth was not a choice they would make and some were excited for me.  Whatever the case, I knew that they respected me and would support me no matter what.  When people let us be who we are, we flourish.  When we feel judged, we are afraid to be ourselves and we go along with the crowd leaving our authentic selves behind. We must support each other, help nourish each other, and be honest with each other (okay, now I sound like a real hippie, I know).

So cheers to supportive people in our lives.  Cheers to freedom and making decisions for ourselves.  Cheers to stumbling every once and awhile. Cheers to beautiful babies and all the learning and joy they bring us and cheers to the moms who no matter what the obstacles, can say that they are doing the best they can.  Go take the time to tell a mom that she’s doing a good job.  Sometimes you can’t tell which moms might need it the most.

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