I dragged myself to the gynecologist yesterday. We all know that is one of the most unpleasant check ups that we have as women.
The NP told me how narrow I am. “That’s probably why you had 3 c sections,” she tells me. “Yes, I know,” I sadly replied. “All that matters is that you had three healthy babies. It doesn’t matter how you had them.” She responded.
16 years ago, I wouldn’t have heard her. It would have gone in one ear and out the other. I was in labor for well over 25 hours with Max. I didn’t know my severe back pain was already labor the whole day before. I pushed for three hours and couldn’t get him out. What my poor child and I went through before the emergency c section. Note that labor and a c section is very hard. Much harder than the next two births that were just c sections without the labor.
At the time, I felt inferior and down on myself. I wanted to push him out so badly. Many women including me don’t think they are enough if they can’t push their babies out. I was looking at a c section like my failure. I felt like a failure. I was holding a healthy baby boy and beating myself up over and over again.
My husband was just thankful that Max and I were okay, and he couldn’t wrap his mind around what I was going through. I was so hard on myself that it contributed to the postpartum baby blues that I went through. My birth plan didn’t go at all like I envisioned, and it was putting me in a three month downward slump.
I hibernated with Max for three months and cried a lot. It was winter. I was a new mom. My hormones were all over the place. My birth plan ended in an unwanted c section. It was three long months until I started to come out of my sad fog.
I listen to Matt and Abby Howard’s podcast The Unplanned Podcast. Abby is pregnant with her second baby. Abby is a small woman, and her husband is very tall. Her first baby was big, and it wasn’t easy to get him out. Due to this, her doctor suggested thinking about a c section. Well, Abby is doing what I did and is being very hard on herself. She is thinking that she isn’t good enough because she needs a c section. It sounds so absurd to so many of us but at the time of my first birth I was right where she is now. She even had tears about possibly having a c section. Abby encouraged this blog as I realized that women needed to hear this. Women were feeling inferior and not enough if they needed a c section. I wasn’t alone in those thoughts.
I’ve come a long way. I’ve come so far that I want to talk to Abby. I’m talking to her right now. We are enough no matter how we have our babies. What matters is that the baby and mom are healthy. What matters is that I have three healthy children that I had via c section. I am not less than because I needed c sections. I am not less than because I am narrow inside. I am so thankful that I was still able to have children. I have come so far with my thinking. If I could go back and talk to myself sixteen years ago, I would comfort myself and tell myself that I am enough. I would tell myself that I did a good job. I went through a difficult labor, emergency surgery, and needed to give myself grace and understanding. I was taking care of my newborn totally exhausted and worn out from the whole ordeal. I would have been so much more loving and understanding of myself. If I could go back, I would have enjoyed the beginning so much more instead of wasting time and energy beating myself up. There was nothing I could have done. If I am narrow, then I am narrow. That is a structural situation that I can’t change.
So, this blog is for Abby and all of you who can relate to me. You are enough no matter how you have your babies. You are enough with whoever you are today. What you have done today is enough. Everything about you is enough.
If you are trying to get pregnant: don’t have expectations about how long it takes to get pregnant. Be flexible and give yourself grace and understanding. It took my friend a year to get pregnant. It took me almost six months. In fact, my chiropractor told me I had a tipped uterus. He fixed my uterus, and I got pregnant right away! Another fun fact to share with you!
If you are pregnant: be flexible about the birth plan. You may have an idea of how you want it to go but you just never know. No one mentioned to me that I may need a c section. I thought I had these big hips and that my babies would fly out. How we look outside doesn’t have anything to do with how we look inside. My advice is to be flexible and know that the desired outcome is a healthy mom and healthy baby!
If I could go back, I would be so much kinder to myself. My mission has become helping women to learn their worth. To learn that simply existing and being born gives them worth. I feel like we are on this journey of life to become the best versions of ourselves. This doesn’t mean that we beat ourselves up along this journey. It means that we learn from our mistakes. It means that we try and do better every day. It means that we see that we are enough just how we are at this moment.
If you can’t get pregnant you are enough.
If you need a c section you are enough.
If you made a mistake, you are enough.
If you forgot something, you are enough.
If you are a stay at home mom you are enough.
If you work a ton of hours, you are enough.
If you are divorced, you are enough.
I promise you that you are enough. I did a good job having my babies and I do a good job raising them every day. I’m not perfect but I am good enough. I love myself and I give myself grace and understanding. Now go love yourself and tell yourself that you are enough. Look in the mirror and repeat that every day until you believe it!
Laughing, Learning, Loving,
Rebecca Greene, LCSW-R
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