As a doula and birth/intimate motherhood photographer, a few times a year it happens that I work with a client whom I connect with immediately and deeply. Our paths are meant to cross, it becomes obvious right away, and our journey of growth and healing together begins.
9 years ago today I became a mother for the first (and only) time. 9 years ago I labored naturally, beautifully, dilating with textbook consistency, staying focused and reaching within me to find my peace and my strength. My water broke towards the end of labor, on it’s own. I was deemed “complete”, and started to push (I could not help but push, my body was doing it for me). So I pushed, and I pushed, then I pushed some more….for hours on end. I knew there was an issue, but I didn’t know what the holdup was. Everything until this point had been smooth sailing! I had been attended by a CNM my whole labor, and after pushing wasn’t working she said she was calling in an OB to “help me push and see what was going on”. To make a long story short, after many grueling hours of unmedicated laboring and pushing, a C-Section was called, and my son was born. He looked like he’d had a bad run in with my pelvis bone for many hours.
I was devastated, I won’t lie. Why had I prepared so long, gotten educated, read the books, hired a doula, to end up in a C-Section? The C-Section then led to all sorts of problems and issues. My other huge devastating loss was having my breastfeeding journey end at 6 weeks. Despite my ALL MY EXTENDED best efforts, it was not working, and I was a hot hormonal, crying mess all the time whose nerves were shot. I had no family or support system to help me out (except for my loving, devoted, well intentioned husband who did the best he could). The lactation consultant I paid lots of money for to help and support me advised me to let it go and move on, at week 5.
It took MANY, MANY years of working through the grief (I’m not ashamed to say) of not getting the vaginal birth I had dreamed of my whole life, then missing out on breastfeeding which I had looked forward to with all my soul. Because despite what you often hear, it’s not just as simple as “healthy Mom, healthy baby” being the gauge of a good birth.
It wasn’t until I became a doula that I realized my story was necessary for me. It made me the compassionate and dedicated birthworker I am today. It helps me connect deeply to the natural birthing mamas AS WELL as the C-Section mamas. It drove me to create the community for mothers I work with before, during, and after their births.
My story was needed, but I didn’t understand that AT ALL until years later. Which is why I love to connect with mamas who are new to their own stories, and are still in the midst of trying to decipher the twists and turns. I want to help them explore the simple but powerful concept: MY BODY DID NOT FAIL ME.
I recently worked with a wonderful new first time mother/soul sister. We bonded over our shared struggles, and I fell in love with her and her beautiful family. After connecting so beautifully with her during her In-Home Newborn Session (or Coming Home session), I had a nagging voice that would not quit inside my head. I was called, no driven to explore the concept of “My Body Did Not Fail Me”, so I approached her about it and we shot a very healing Fourth Trimester Session focusing on C-Sections (she also had an unplanned C-Section and was struggling with breastfeeding).
That session was incredibly healing for me (as well as beginning of healing for her new journey, I hope!) Sharing this message is incredibly important to our birthing collective. You are NOT ALONE, and YOU DID NOT FAIL.
MY BODY DID NOT FAIL ME.