I was so excited to become a mother. I had experienced a smooth and easy pregnancy and I felt so ready to have my son. I wrapped up my last week at work just as my 40-week due date was approaching and I transitioned into waiting for the moment of birth.
I remember that weekend as if it were yesterday. We went to the mall, walked around, enjoyed time at the salon, because of course I had to prepare for birth, and went to have dinner. It was low key and nice. Later that evening, I took a bath and relaxed even further, allowing myself to really enjoy the time to myself. The perfect day to unwind.
Then later that night, I noticed my belly tightening. Were these contractions, I asked myself? I remember hearing from others, “Oh, you’ll know!” I felt so ready though! I mean I read What to Expect When You’re Expecting, so I knew what to expect… or so I thought. Little did I know that it would be the day that everything changed. Who I was, what I thought and what I did would shift in an incredible way.
I got to the hospital and shortly after admission, a nurse told me, “Oh you don’t need to feel pain, let’s get you set up with an epidural.” I was only a few hours in, but I didn’t even give it a thought, I mean, what could go wrong, that’s what it’s for after all. I said yes and found myself relaxing comfortably for the hours that passed.
Tap, tap, I heard in the deafening silence of the room as the doctor peered into the room. It was 4pm and my doctor came in to tell me I had not progressed. My time was up, and it was time to roll back for a c-section. I was confused as to what was going on, but once again, as I had done many times throughout my pregnancy, I followed directions and headed back to the OR for a c-section to birth my baby boy. All went smooth and well. My baby boy was healthy, I was healthy, but we weren’t actually ok…
I thought the transition into motherhood would be seamless. Everything I thought was going to go a certain way was turned upside down. I felt like a failure, like I wasn’t good enough. Recovery was hard. Healing was hard. Breastfeeding was hard. Motherhood was hard. I felt torn doing the things I wanted to do and the things I was told to do. The things my mother did and the things I wanted to do differently. I was hard on myself.
As a therapist, I had helped so many people in challenging situations, especially mothers, but I felt clueless as to why I felt like I failed. After all, I kept hearing from others that my baby was happy and healthy, and that’s all that mattered, but I often wondered, is that really all that matters?
I took some time, pulled out my “toolbox” of strategies that I often used with my clients, and I looked for resources. I took time to adjust, figured things out and looked for like-minded people that I connected with. I released expectations and felt better and better, more and more ok. My baby boy and I continue to thrive, I soaked in the like-minded support from those around me and I decided to continue learning and growing in and through motherhood. That thought, though, lingered – What happened?
I took the hospital class, I read the books, I followed directions, I listened to all the people I had to listen to and still, I wondered – What went wrong? I felt I failed, failure to progress and the effect that had on me was difficult. What if I had not had that epidural? What if I had done things differently.
I decided to dig deeper. I learned more about the mind-body connection and how powerful it is in everything we do. This was a game changer for me! Up until this moment, I thought my body was in charge of physical things and my mind was in charge of mental & emotional things. And that’s when everything changed… I learned “What the mind believes, the body achieves.” The incredible powerful connection that links our minds and our bodies. This incredible learning led me to become certified in hypnosis.
When I got pregnant with my daughter, I remember telling myself, if hypnosis works for all the areas I was facilitating massive changes in with my clients, it had to work in birthing! and so I searched and discovered a class, Hypnobirthing!!
This time, I did things differently:
• I took and practiced Hypnobirthing.
• I hired an incredibly supportive Vaginal Birth After Cesarean ob/gyn practice.
• I made sure the hospital they had privileges at was VBAC supportive.
• I hired a doula to provide labor support.
• I created my Birth Preferences.
And then… I let go… I trusted… I surrendered…
With the Hypnobirthing tools, my birth team, and my mind-body preparation, I achieved my calm, connected, and transformational Vaginal Birth After Cesarean. I felt I had transformative birth, an empowered birth. I felt informed and I trusted the entire process. I still got an epidural towards the end of my labor, but I was informed and in control of the process. I allowed my body to do what it needed to do in labor managed with my hypnobirthing tools, then continued to do those things with my mind and breathing while I rested.
My motherhood re-experience allowed me to take back control of the way I viewed birth and motherhood. Both of my children taught me beautiful things about being a mother, from conception to birth and every day I get to be their mother. It took me some time, but I learned that I do not have to mother the way my mother did or the way any other mother does. I get to choose what feels right, connect with my instincts and I get to mother my children in the way that’s right for me. This is my journey into and through motherhood.