My Birth Journey
From the time I was 16, I wanted a natural, home birth. When it was time for me to prepare for my first birth I was 20 and I did more research by reading spiritual midwifery, and trying to study Hypnobirthing. I loved talking with my sister in law who had given birth at home, and talking everything out with my midwife. As it came closer I didn’t really feel ready. I had no idea what to expect and I didn’t take any birthing classes. So I think my husband was unsure too. I had always wanted to be a mom. It was my dream job. I felt so blessed to be giving life to my son.
Then, I went into labor and after 12 hours, 3 of pushing and an episiotomy I finally held my son. I was so happy. I felt relief that the pain had stopped and he was here, I was a mom! I didn’t get the moment everyone talks about… the one I always assumed I would have. The one of instant connection and joy toward my baby. My dream had come true, but I had no idea what I was doing. I felt robbed of the perfect moment. A failure for not feeling what I thought I was supposed to feel, no one told me I would or could feel differently. It was hard those first few days because breastfeeding wasn’t working either. And then after a few weeks I felt like all I ever wanted was out of reach. I wasn’t worthy of being a good mom. Or something I did or didn’t do right made me incapable of being the mom I thought I’d be. I put on a brave face and fought my guilt.
Around the time my son was sleeping in his own bed and eating solids I felt more connection and felt less unsure of myself. Around his first birthday, we wanted another baby. He was such a happy, sweet boy we wanted to give him a brother. My second son’s pregnancy was the easiest, no sickness or anything. His birth ended up being wild, only my hubby and I were there, he came so fast! I had been reading and doing visualizations, but all the prep I had done flew out the window! We were more concerned about baby being all right, that it was a brief sweet moment when I first held him. Less guilt but more anxiety that I didn’t connect with my sons like everyone talks about.
Then next the baby was breech! However, I received a tender mercy and felt not to worry about it. I didn’t worry about the birth. I prepared a lot for it with relaxation techniques and used oils to help get in the zone. The labor was calm and slow. The birth was very different since he came out bum first. I trusted my gut that it would work out and because I trusted the Lord, and my midwife, I felt something more this time. It wasn’t only that we waited to find out and it was another boy! It was a stirring. I was changing, but I didn’t know what was missing.
With my fourth son I felt way more confident. It was another fast delivery and when I hit the moment I didn’t think I could go on, I yelled out, “I can’t do it!” My midwife reassured me “Yes, you can. You’ve done it before.” I grabbed onto that, pushed and caught my own baby. It was amazing! I got most of the feeling I wanted to feel and let go of my expectations.
Then, we waited to get pregnant for a couple years. It hurt to wait but we felt it was right. My hubby had started a business and we took a pay cut. We were already struggling with 4 kids. Then, it was time to step out of the boat, during a storm and walk to Jesus. That’s how it felt to us. I was pregnant within the next month. Some depression came alongside my anxiety and I began to worry more but I tried to keep the faith. As I was trying to survive, some hurts from my past surfaced and once they did they were hard to ignore. I decided to try to heal the trauma. It was around this time I was invited to a Joyful and Spiritual Birth class. I knew I had to go. It felt like my whole inside screamed for me to go. I needed joy and spirituality. I didn’t think I needed help with birthing, I had done 4 natural, at home.
The first week in the class was shocking for me. I wasn’t expecting that. The lessons I had at church on motherhood never touched on such deep spiritual truths like our real divine nature, our gifts and talents, and calling on earth as women. I really needed this class! I had never considered being spiritually prepared. Even with all my desires for all natural and home birth, I had only really prepared physically and mentally. I missed the whole point of birth! It isn’t only earthly, it’s heavenly too. I took the class seriously, and usually read the outline before the meetings. I prepared by doing the meditations, and I wasn’t a fan of meditating before this class.
We got ready for baby to arrive only a few weeks after the class ended. I went past my estimated due date and got a little impatient to meet my baby. I meditated and prayed for him. I had this thought that maybe he was having a hard time saying goodbye to all the loved ones he was with. I felt selfish that I wanted to hurry him from those he was leaving behind. But I trusted that he would arrive when it was the right time for all of us. When I did go into labor it was unexpected. We were mostly ready but not 100% and I had been having false labor and it turned into real contractions. I have had quick labors so we assumed it would progress quickly. My hubby jumped to his job of filling the birth pool, and I just tried to focus on what needed to be done and taking care of the kids. Nothing was consistent about my contractions, but we called the midwife and my mom anyway. Once things were going, it was like I wasn’t able to focus, and I didn’t enjoy the water which is normally my favorite part about labor. There were times I would go a half hour before another contraction. I tried using oils to speed labor along. I even prayed it would speed up. Finally I sent the midwife and my mom home to get some sleep. I slept some too, but got up every 30 minutes or so with a contraction. I worried labor would stop all together. So when a real intense contraction was followed by another I decided to breathe. Focus on my breath and what I was feeling in the moment. I acted on what I felt the Spirit was telling me.
I woke my husband, called my midwife and told her to come back. I called my mom, and woke up the kids. All the boys wanted to see their brother born, and I wanted my family around me. In the pool waiting for another contraction, watched by my 4 sons, mother, midwife and husband, I prayed for my son again. The next contraction was lingering. I felt the need to push and when I thought I was done, the contraction was still going. It was lasting too long, I felt myself saying I couldn’t do it. It was too much. But then I heard a voice say, That’s not true, I can do it. I’m doing it. I felt an immense pressure and asked if he was already coming, my midwife said yes. I was in shock. I pushed and his head was out, I knew the rest was easy so I pushed again. He came so fast, and my hands went to him met by my midwife’s hands she quickly removed the cord that was draped around his neck so my kids wouldn’t see, and we pulled him up out of the water together.
He was so tiny, I was so happy! He was the son that was taking his time to say goodbye to our family, my grandmother included, on the other side. He was the one I had carried and prayed for. I knew it was him and could feel his love for me as I held him and he sang. I never thought a baby’s cry was singing until that moment. It was as if he could hear music and couldn’t contain his joy. And that was all I could feel, the joy and the peace. He was finally here.
It always took time for me to connect to my children after birth, until the birth of my 5th son. The birth I had prepared for spiritually. I believe birth is a physical, emotional, mental and spiritual journey for mothers, no wonder we need time to heal from such a journey.