This podcast is an excellent way to spend 25 minutes, especially if you can relate to having to adapt your “birth plan” due to a complicated birth. It is a conversation between Ina May Gaskin and a woman who feels like a failure due to a difficult birth which ended in a cesarean. As a midwife, it absolutely breaks my heart when a client feels like they “didn’t do it right” if they began their birth at home or at a birth center, and need to transfer to the hospital due to a labor that isn’t progressing.
In labor, I believe, we get dealt a hand of cards. Sometimes, we get a full house and our baby emerges relatively easily in a few short hours. Sometimes, we get dealt a hand that is impossible to work with, and despite our best efforts and intentions, medical intervention is needed. These are the factors that are not in our control, and just as we would not blame or judge ourselves for being born with a mole here or a birth mark there, being short or tall, or needing glasses in order to see, I imagine the day when we can see our birth experiences with such equanimity and acceptance. The women who got through their 6 hour labors and pushed their babies out in a birth tub as they had dreamed, in front of a crackling fire, they did a great job. They pushed through barriers they didn’t know they had, and kept going when they thought they couldn’t. So did the women who had 2-day long labors which got stuck at a certain point, transferred to a hospital setting, having to have surgery. Let’s be as gentle with ourselves as we are with new our babies, and accept our lack of control, as difficult as that may be.