Mother Love Stories: Lindsay

C-Section Mama" was a title that meant one of two things for me. Either a woman who was taken advantage of based on a doctor's schedule, or a woman who didn't care about the experience of childbirth. I definitely didn't fit either of those molds. So, for 9 months, I held a space and a vision for a perfect natural birth. I made a visit to the legendary "Farm" where Ina May Gaskin resides. I hired a midwife ((though we had to have a hospital birth based on financial//insurance reasons)). I read every natural birthing book imaginable and watched every documentary I could find on natural birth. I knew where I belonged. 

At an estimated 42 weeks, I tried to sleep, but the intermittent discomfort + anticipation kept me awake.  I moved around in the bathtub at home for a couple of hours, when finally I woke up my partner, G, and said "let's go!" The natural birth was INDEED going to happen. I have had a lot of feelings about my natural labor (12 hrs)-turned epidural (10 hrs)-turned emergency cesarean (30 minutes). Initially I felt like I failed at the one thing my body was made to do...that all women are made to do. That all women in my family and G's HAVE done. Then I felt like an entitled first-world brat, because I know how many women in the world wish for modern medicine. We survived, when other people don't. 

Then I wondered if I was just telling myself this? Because Ina May and The Farm midwives taught me that the system makes women believe it's an emergency even when it isn't, so the c-section mamas feel relieved rather than mad. I even asked The Farm midwives, after my cesarean ((desperately seeking validation that my situation qualified as an emergency)), what would they have done? ((Pamela told me they would have rushed me to the hospital)). 

All that being said, I think now, the ((spiritual)) reason I dilated to a 9, endured 22 hours of labor, and had a cesarean, is to teach me compassion, non-judgment, and love. For myself, and other mamas. I was talking to my soul sister about this last weekend...I think if I'm painfully honest, a part of me wanted natural labor so I could tell people that I had natural labor. For respect. For my power as a woman to be seen and commended by other people. Extrinsic validation.

Now, 21 months later, I finally see that I needed less judgment on moms who have c-sections. On moms who say "yes please" to drugs during labor. Because your labor // birth story doesn't prove you're powerful, though it can make for a great and inspiring story. Overcoming obstacles showcases power. Being grateful and happy are more important to me than being sad about the story I wanted to have, but didn't. Internal validation.

L. Van Meter, February 2015 photo Greer Inez