Reading the birth experiences of other mothers gives us a real appreciation for the strength we have in childbirth. Hopefully these stories will inspire you. ~TMC --- The following is a letter that I wrote to my son on his 5th birthday. I hold his birth dear to my heart--it was a VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean) and a healing birth in many ways. Not only that, it started me on my journey towards becoming a doula, a job that I adore and love. Through my work, I get to help educate mothers and their partners about all the choices that surround the birth of their baby, and help them become advocates for themselves. Not only that, I get to meet babies--loads of sweet, salty smelling babies--born to parents who adore them. How perfect! ---
On the eve of your birth, I want you to know that you are the reason I am so passionate about my work. Not only birth work in general, but more specifically, working with moms and dads and helping them understand their choices when it comes to vaginal births after cesareans. You were my first vbac, and when I lifted you onto my chest, your breathing filled my lungs, and all my hopes and dreams for you mixed together in one sweet, soft song. Your baby smell—that salty, warm smell—filled the room and it might have been minutes (or maybe seconds, I can’t be sure) that I locked eyes with you and knew that I had been given a most precious gift.
Your birth brought about a range of emotions in me—complete joy followed by sadness for what I had missed before. My previous birth, a c-section, had given me a beloved baby girl, but also a deep scar that was not only physical but also emotional. As you were born, as I held your soft body, as you nuzzled into my neck, I could feel the scar coming apart. This scar that I had held so tightly began to unravel around me—my previous choices, peoples comments, the physical pain, the missed moments—they began to fade away. Before I knew it, I had forgiven myself and believed in myself again. This confidence might have started with your birth, but it did not end there—it flooded over into other aspects of my life. I mothered with more assurance, I lived with more determination, and I let go of the past and looked to the future. I began to find a passion—a passion for birth and for mommies and babies. Not because I believe that the way a woman births is the most important thing, but because I believe that the way women and babies are respected and treated at this most intimate moment is the most important thing.
I did not know it right away, this life work that I would be called too. I have watched many mommies lift their babies to their chests since you were born. I have watched daddies look on with awe as their sons and daughters are born--by strong, confident, precious women. I have watched, and secretly remembered you each time—my Sawyer. You are full of life and mischief, and wonder and love—all rolled up with a lot of danger and no hesitation. You embody everything they say about little boys and red-heads too: you are hot headed or as easy going as can be, and you change minute by minute or hour by hour. You have a love for life and people, and there is no challenge you cannot conquer, no mountain you cannot climb (literally.) I can’t begin to imagine what you will be one day—a fisherman, an astronaut, a musician, a documentary maker. I know you will give your Daddy and me plenty of trouble, but I don’t doubt that you will love the Lord with your whole heart. You have always had a soft spirit and I pray every day that you continue to see the world with a twinkle in your clear, blue eyes.
Sometimes I sneak away in the middle of the night, and sometimes I am gone for days at a time. I might miss a game or two, but I want you to remember that birth work is important work. It changes women, it unites marriages, and it grows strong families. I want you to remember that I found myself again because of you. I want you to remember that I will never forget the feeling of you, and the way you fit perfectly in my waiting arms.
Happy 5th Birthday to you…my Sawyer.
All my love,