Lately I've found myself doing a lot of reflection on my journey & today I was thinking about one of the unsung factors in my success. This is your fair warning: I'm about to talk about childbirth which may either a) gross you out or b) offend you. Every word hereafter is meant merely as a reflection on my own experiences & in no way is intended to impart judgement on anyone else's experience. After all, anyone who has read anything about pregnancy & child birth can tell you: "every pregnancy is different." So, with that little proviso out of the way...
I literally started talking VBAC with my OB the very next day. It became an obsession. When our local hospital stopped allowing them, I vowed I would drive an hour to a provider that would (thankfully we moved before it was an issue). I made my plans for a VBAC known at my very first prenatal visit for my second pregnancy (three years ago). At each visit, the doctor reminded me of the risks & each time I said I understood the risks & wanted the opportunity to try to deliver naturally. I was a dog that wouldn't let go of a bone, tenacious & resolute.
What does this have to do with making a change in my life? I was never an athlete. Aside from dance lessons as a child, I wasn't in a single physical activity or sport. I had never asked my body to do a anything beyond the daily activities of life. Labor & child birth are tough & I made it through; past the fear, past the self doubt, past the pain (with the help of an anesthesiologist on a white horse). On the other side I found a daughter (who has motivated me in ways that I will never be able to fully express--more on that here) but I also found something far simpler: I found physical accomplishment.
Intellectually I know that the manner in which I brought my babies into the world has NO bearing on me as a person, woman, or mother, but being able to set my mind to completing a physical task was something entirely new to me & it changed me. It could have been bench pressing a heavy weight or running a long distance, but for me it was having a baby the same way skillions of women have babies every day. I pushed my body in a way I didn't think I could & I came out on the other side stronger. That taste of physical accomplishment was the first of many I've experienced along this journey & I'm so thankful to have had it.
While laboring, I remember having a distinct mental image of a father & his pre-school age daughter walking down the hall in the maternity ward to visit her new baby brother for the first time. She was skipping happily with an "It's a Boy!" balloon in her tiny hand. It was a beautiful moment in my mind that was surely ruined when she skipped past my door & heard what could only be described as a sailor woman being disemboweled "Braveheart"-style. I felt guilty for ruining their (imaginary) moment, just as I feel guilty I have likely ruined your lovely Tuesday afternoon with talk of VBACs & dilation. This is why I'll encourage my daughter to take up soccer...so a discussion of her first feat of strength needn't come at the expense of someone's appetite.