The other day my son asked me about his birth. He said "I know I was in your belly, but then how did I come out?" In other circumstances this would be the perfect opportunity to discuss childbirth, how babies are born, how they come out, etc. However... my son was born by cesarean.
So, what do you tell your child when they were removed by c-section? Do you tell how most babies are born, then tell them that they had a little extra trouble? How do you make it special and loving even if it might have been a traumatic event for you? I personally had a very long labour, 48 hours, which just didn't seem to progress. However, I am lucky to be able to say my labour and subsequent section weren't particularly traumatizing- I was well treated and respected by the medical professionals and I never felt pushed to have a cesarean. I was able to tell my son very honestly that his birth day was a happy day for me. I was able to tell him about the deep deep snow falling outside, the way he sounded when he first cried, what it felt like to first look in his eyes. I showed him the scar of the incision through which he was removed. I told him how happy I was to have him. How incredibly happy he made me. What's that corny line? "You complete me."
So, how do you explain a traumatic birth to your child? Do you focus on the positive, talk about how their daddy held them first, how you came to name them? Is it something like a disasterous wedding followed by a blissful marriage? How do you create the Story of When You Were Born?
I was so pleased to come across a beautiful set of two photographs on the blog Birth Without Fear. These are two caesarean section birth photos. I found it very impressive that they took the time to honour those of us who have had a caesarean birth by posting these photos. Despite the pain, the trauma and the difficulty resulting from a c- section, it's nice to know that people recognize that the event is bitter/sweet and complex, much like motherhood it'self.
Please share your experiences in the comments section. I would love to hear about how you told your children their birth story, even if (especially if,) it wasn't perfect.
A blog on art, roller derby and life.
I'm an artist and mother of two in Courtenay, BC. I've completed a project called the "Madonna and Child Project," and I'm now working on a series of roller derby inspired drawings. In my spare time I play roller derby with the Brick House Betties.