Smiling in Tears
By Luz Ma Dollero , Houston, TX
Unfortunately, the first time I gave birth I couldn't find professionals or preparation courses that supported natural delivery. Even though they were experienced, skilled, ethical and favored vaginal birth, they couldn´t understand that I wanted to “refuse” the epidural. They discouraged and frighten me: “It's unnecessary to suffer if you can avoid it!”
I'm almost positive that the midwife broke my water, accelerating the process that had already begun without any complication! I just needed more time! I lost my self-confidence, so I kind of donated myself to the “specialists who knew more.” I got the epidural, not only crying, scratching and pinching the midwife, but was scolded by her because I was moving! I remember shaking a lot, I couldn`t control my body or even speak. She jumped over me several times to “help the baby.” Postpartum was really difficult: nonstop crying baby, episiotomy plus an infection and hemorrhoids.
For some months, I was convinced that the midwife had done a great job, because it had been fast. Later, I had to accept that I had a very traumatic childbirth. I had felt ignored, alone and unrespected, treated like an animal. All this affected my motherhood experience a lot and the first bond with my child.
The decision of getting pregnant again was tough, but thank God it happened, because I was healed… Soul and mind. We moved from Spain to Mexico and this time I did everything I could to have a team that supported my decisions. My husband and I took Lamaze education and both, my gynecologist and the pediatrician believed in natural birth. It was very encouraging to listen: really, you can do it and it`s the best option, the healthiest and safest for you and your baby!
I´m convinced that natural birth accompanied by a team believing in it:
- Is more than “withstanding pain.” It's a natural process that demands you to know and to believe in yourself, to listen to your body and soul in order to “let it happen.”
- Isn't an unnecessary suffering, but a meaningful pain with a tangible - huggable blessing coming. Every contraction gets you closer to holding your baby.
- Consents you to move freely and to decide.
- Allows you to help, proactively and in a personalized way, your baby to be born.
- Favors avoiding an episiotomy and reduces propensity to suffer hemorrhoids.
- Treats you as a person, looks after you and your needs. Pursues to motivate and to make you feel supported.
- Increases your self-esteem and makes your proud of yourself.
- Postpartum is unbelievable, you feel great just after the baby`s born!
Labor and childbirth is like running for an Olympic medal, it demands to be a high performance athlete. There must be: conviction, team work, training, concentration, patience, confidence and sacrifices. During the process, you´ll experience paradoxical situations that will repeat when raising your kids:
- Uncertainty in the certainty, you can`t be sure how much time it´ll take, but you know it`ll come to an end.
- Sometimes you´ll doubt, but you´ll be surprised with the achievements.
- You´ll find yourself continuously smiling in tears.
I respect each women's decision, but from my experience, I greatly encourage everyone to go for natural and leave the epidural and the c-section for when it`s really needed. Everybody should at least go once to Lamaze childbirth education, even if at the end you can't have a natural birth or choose not to have it. The knowledge and experience received is worthy for life itself; for welcoming, bonding and educating your baby; for accepting and living motherhood and for uniting and strengthening the couple.
Finally, I'll tell to new, expecting parents to believe in yourselves; know what you want and fight for it; and above all, love each other a lot and get used to teamwork because that`s what your child will need! You'll discover that for your kids you can do more than you could have ever imagined and you'll constantly experience happiness in a unique way! It`s true that your life won`t be the same never again and you'll be always smiling in tears, some of pain and others of joy, but always smiling!