For this post, I'm talking to the mamas that did notdeliver their child vaginally. I'd love you to take a moment and really think about the question I'm about to ask because I value your honest answer.
Do you think of your birth as surgery?
Most of you know that I am an open book when it comes to Aurora's birth. Over the past few months a few specific conversation have stuck with me.
I've talked about how I view my birthing experience in reference to a clinical perspective and where I'm currently at emotionally when reflecting back. Here's a quick summary of the conversations.
The first professional setting when looking at medical history forms. "Any major surgeries?" My mind jumped to "Nope!", but then I realized it's a yes. My belly birth was major abdominal surgery, even though it wasn't a procedure to "fix" or "remove" something like my appendix or gallbladder.
During a later visit with the pelvic floor physical therapist, I was complimented on how, in her opinion, I had processed my birth experience well and didn't seem to have shame or other negative emotions surrounding it. She was specifically talking about how I was able to touch my scar and share details of the day with ease. It was validating for someone to compliment the hard work that not many have seen, even if I internally feel like I have more progress to make. (Because, let's be real, sometimes with c-sections the emotional healing is just as much as the physical!)
Jumping to another conversation where we discussed how many women don't associate their cesarean birth as a surgery and were talking about if medical intake forms asking about pregnancy/birth history should ask about "vaginal births" and "surgical births."
We talked about how changing the form would allow for better supported care. On one hand it would be a reminder to help women acknowledge what their body experienced to ensure proper care and time to heal. Another reason being postpartum care looks different for each delivery type and recommendations may differ, so to fully inform the physician on medical history.
On multiple occasions I've talked with women who are at varying stages of comfort with their cesarean. A friend shared that, for her, she found the most healing after the birth of another child. A different friend put it into great words by saying that you can feel totally okay with the circumstance around why you had a c-section - elected or otherwise - yet still have to emotionally process the experience.
Right now it feels like society takes extra care to ensure everyone feels valued and respected. P.C. (politically correct) is a phrase I often hear. "You have to be p.c." or "That's not p.c." Well, what's "p.c." when it comes to how we talk about deliveries that aren't vaginal?
My strength and empowerment comes from calling it my belly birth. It reminds me of a few things.
 My daughter and I share that special experience, she was formed in my belly and birthed from my belly and I should feel no shame.
 Belly birth feels less sterile to say than c-section. We are, praise God, in a place where gentle c-sections are becoming the norm. However, you still can't help but notice how grand of a medical procedure this type of birth is.
 I gave birth. That may sound like a no brainier, but sadly, some women doubt if they truly had a "birth" because it varied from a vaginal delivery. I personally have even felt sometimes like my birth was lesser. This reminds me that it isn't.
The downside with calling it a belly birth is that I have to explain what it is more often than not since the talk isn't common place.
Cesarean or C-section is, in my option, the most common phrase to describe a surgical birth. It feels the most "p.c." because it's the name of the medical procedure and what has been most commonly used. Everyone understands what you mean and usually don't ask further questions.
SO, my big question. How would you feel if you were asked "How many surgical births have you had?"
Would it strike that reminder and emotion down in your gut that your birth wasn't vaginal? Would you answer without a beat and continue on without second thought? Are you somewhere in the middle?
Where are you on the spectrum when thinking of your birth as a surgery? I'd love to hear from you!
No matter your answer, I want you to know this. You are loved. You are beautiful. Your body created AND birthed a human. You are valued. Your birth has value. Your emotions are welcome here. I'm holding you in my prayers.