Last night ICAN of Knoxville held a “Birth Story Night”. Several women showed up to share their birth experiences, and despite the differences, one common thread showed through:
Women are strong and amazing.
We had birth stories of home birth ending up in transfer to the hospital and being a cesarean birth after cesarean, twins birthed vaginally, placental abruption requiring transfer from a birthing center to a hospital but resulting in a labor without an epidural, short labors, long labors, disappointments, triumphs, and so on.
I valued hearing every single story and detail. I valued seeing a room of women bonded together in their shared love for their babies and partners and themselves. I valued watching the expression on their faces as they described how they made a decision about where to birth, or an intervention, or a complete change in their original birth plan. It was quite apparent how much thought and heartfelt participation was involved in their decision making process.
Repeatedly, the phrase, “If I had known….” was used. My thoughts on that are we can’t know every single scenario that might take place, nor can we know what would have happened had another option been chosen. We make the best decisions with the information we have at the time... and try to make peace with the decision and potentially learn something for next time, or to share with a friend or family member.
To all of you, thank you for sharing such intimate details of your life and my hope is that you felt supported, encouraged, and empowered. Pat yourselves on the back, look at yourself in the mirror and congratulate and celebrate your amazing strength and obvious love for your children.