The Dream of Birth From a Special Scar Mom
By Bethy Young
I can’t help it, I’m obsessed with birth. Everything about it just calls to me. Some people don’t understand my obsession, but to me birth is the most primal, beautiful, perfect thing a woman can go through. Yes, there is pain and work, but with that comes strength and beauty and determination, and what it brings – oh, the joy it brings! Nothing is as precious to me as my two children, and the thought that my body could bring those two little things that bring me so much joy into the world is pure magic and wonder in my eyes.
Here is the thing though, I’ve never given birth.
With my Special Scar son I had the opposite of a birth. I was tore down and split open and tormented with words and actions. I was forced to lay in bed afterward without food and hooked up to tubes while nurses tried to take our son from us, claiming it’s for your own good, you need rest, forget about breastfeeding, we have something to give him, and literally yelling at me for trying to care for my own son in my bed.
But what they did not get was the only thing that was going to heal me was that tiny little boy that I felt I barely knew. I held onto him, not knowing him, but knowing one day I would. As they treated me like a sick patient, or maybe even property of their own, they forgot one thing. I was, more than anything, a new mother desperate to get to know her baby.
Days – finally I was unhooked and given nourishment. As the sun rose up over the city and shined into our room on my bed, I had that moment, I call it my birth moment, but just to ease the pain that I did not get the birth I yearned for, I did not give my son the entrance into this world he deserved. I still went through physical pain to get it. But I also went through more mental pain than I imagined I would. But regardless, through much work I reached the point where I could look into that stranger baby’s eyes and say “Hey you, you are not a stranger. In fact I love you. I barely know you but I love you more then you will ever know. I am something new as a woman…. I am your mama and I love you.”
I also had to say something I had not planned – I’m sorry. I sobbed. “I’m sorry baby. I’m sorry I did not give you the birth you deserve. I’m sorry I did not meet you and instantly know you. I’m sorry that you were not born to a strong birthing goddess who scooped you from the water and into her arms the instant you entered the world. You must have been scared that I was not with you and I’m sorry.”
I took that little baby and held him to my breast to feed him. My scar hurt and my heart hurt, but the light shone through the window and I knew I loved him. A long road would be walked to healing but I had him and I loved him.
With scars come strength. I learned I could fight and I yearned for the birth. Long road was an understatement to get to my next turn. I never imagined how much mental work it took to walk that road. I labored. It was not the magical at home labor I wanted but it was labor. I remember little snippets of things so clearly. My husband’s hands clasping mine. Going inside my head and talking to my little girl. My doula pushing my hair from my eyes. My husbands hands squeezing my hips and his voice in my ear telling me I could do it. Labor is work, but it’s beautiful and I loved it.
I learned so much about myself in those hours. People ask if I would go back and skip the labor and I say no, and I mean it. I had a tiny taste of what it felt to be a birthing woman. But I did not get to push my little girl into the world. It was a better memory than my first and we bonded the second I held her, but I did not give her the birth I felt she deserved. I still was not a strong birthing goddess.
Four months later a beautiful video of an acquaintance’s home birth plays on my screen and I silently cry. I’m happy – I’m jealous – I’m in awe – I’m sad – my breath is taken away – and tears splash down my cheeks. I love birth, I want birth. Safe in my home surrounded by the ones I love. No one gets it, but it would change everything inside myself. I would be a birthing goddess – I would be strong – I would still have my scar but I would have something else as well. I realize I don’t want to rid myself of my scar, I want to overcome it. I can’t go back in time and change things, I will always have the scars and they have made me who I am today. The way you bring your baby into the world changes you whether you admit it or not.
I may never have this, honestly I really doubt we’ll ever have that dream home birth. But I lie to myself because the truth is that I’m not ready to give it up … and maybe I should not give it up because maybe I can.
My baby girl’s hands curl around my breast and I hold her closer. My son laughs from the floor by my feet where he plays. Once again I silently apologize to them for not feeling whole. I love them, I truly do. They make me the woman I am…. It’s not about them at all, they are perfect, pure, and I’m in love. No one gets that my want for this magical birth in no way affects my love for them and my gratefulness that they are here, safe, and healthy. But it’s ok to need something for yourself, and I need birth. Even if it’s just reading others’ stories, I need to remember that we as women are strong and primal, and we can bring our babies into the world. That women in my position have done it. You may not get it – but I do….