Yesterday I shared via facebook the very beautiful and emotional pictures of a water birth. Regardless of the native birth environment – it was a home birth – I found that the photographer had wonderfully captured the emotions surrounding the birth in the mother’s face.
The posting quickly started a small discussion. Some readers wrote that such pictures propagate an ideal, which is usually not the case. That’s true enough that more than 98 percent of all births do not take place at home. But even there, women experience births quite exhausting and complicated than may suggest these images. And yes, an operative birth, perhaps experienced under general anesthesia, is completely different. At least in many ways.
But many things are similar too. Women who hold their baby in their arms for the first time at birth, all have that look of relief, amazement and joy on their face. It does not matter if this first moment takes place in an OR or a birth pool in the bedroom.
If your birth may have been very different than planned, you will once again look at the whole thing around it. I also know that, when from our first planned home birth suddenly the pelvic endings birth with episiotomy in the clinic was. In the beginning, I also saw in the first photos primarily the venous access to my arm, the exhaustion in my face and the too many people around us. How different were the pictures of my girlfriends who had been born at home by candlelight.
Reconcile with your own birth
But if you just look at mother and child – how they look in love for the first time in the eye or the parents curious to see if it is a girl or a boy (even with parents who knew it before). This first look between a couple, when they have just become parents of a first or further child. The facial expression is equally beautiful and touching for outsiders.
If one has experienced many unwanted interventions under the birth, one is certainly sad afterwards. But if they are justified and valid at any time, any woman can feel as strong and comfortable as the one who was allowed to experience birth without any external intervention. In the end, mothers with a difficult labor history often have to do a lot more and “endure” – if I now start raising birth to a competitive level where it does not really belong. Because there are no right and wrong births. There are only mothers who are willing to do a great deal to bring their child well into the world. Mothers, some of whom are superhuman because they have a really hard road to go. And the smiling birth mother does not do any more at this point, but not less.
I know that it can still be hard to look at these seemingly perfect pictures. Namely mostly when I have not quite reconciled as a woman with my own birth experience yet and can not proudly pat on the back, for what I have done there in the hours of birth or even after. Sometimes it just takes time for it, sometimes some support along the way. We women are often quite good at looking at our deficits and seeing only what we can not or do not have. It would be good for us to change our perspective. If you just do not have your own strength because of self-doubt, sometimes it also helps to ask others about it. Be it your own partner, who probably looks with admiration on every experienced birth anyway. Or the midwife, who has accompanied many powerful birth lessons.
Every mother and child has their own unique birth story. That’s why baby photos or movies are just a tiny part of all the different birth paths mothers and children around the world go to. No wrong way, no right way – but always a very individual way that only this mother and child go.
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