This morning Everett was in the bathroom while I was getting ready. While I was getting dressed, he noticed my C-section scar and, once again, asked me about it. I never want to hide the truth from him, but I always try to explain the emergency c-section I had with Daxton in a way that a 3-year-old can grasp.
E: "Mommy, did it hurt when Daxton got stuck inside of you and the doctor had to cut him out?"
Such a good question from such a little boy. Deep breath.
Me: "Well, the doctor gave me medicine that made me go to sleep, so I didn't feel it when she cut Daxton out."
E: "What did she use? Scissors?"
Again - such good question! I hated answering this one but I just feel like the truth is always best. I chose my words sparingly.
Me: "She didn't use scissors. She used a special knife that doctors use for mommies."
He was so pensive - I could tell he was really thinking about this.
And then he said the thing that made me crumble to the ground.
E: "Mommy, you were really strong to have Daxton like that."
Knees. Hit. Floor.
I held him for a long time. And cried.
Okay, it wasn't that long, but it felt long. I was immediately brought back to a moment when I was in labor with his brother, on my knees, bent over in exhaustion, the moment I realized that something wasn't working right. My 23-hour labor wasn't going anywhere. My baby was stuck.
This memory is so strong. I can still see the white tiles on the floor of my hospital room, I can still feel the too-cold air conditioning blowing and see the dim overhead light and hear the Johnnyswim album playing. I can still smell the Lavender oil that was diffusing - we finished the bottle during this labor. It was such a long time. I remember thinking, that was a new bottle.
The problem with a c-section isn't that it saves lives - because it does, indeed save lives. The problem comes and keeps coming long after the surgery is over, and that's the stigma.
It's unfortunate, but it's still true; those of us who have had c-sections wrestle with shades of shame. Sometimes getting a c-section can feel like a cop-out - like "the weaker" option. It feels like all those natural-minded homeopaths are pitying you when they hear your birth story. And I'm one of those people! I long to do things in the most natural way possible - unfortunately this time, it just wasn't possible.
I've battled with these lies over and over again. Sometimes I'm victorious and I don't give them the time of day. But sometimes, especially when I look down and see my scar, I feel a sense of regret - I certainly wish I could have given birth to Everett's little brother the way I was able to give birth to him.
So once again, finding myself on my knees on a cold hard floor, I hugged my son and rocked him over and over. I didn't mean to be so emotional, but something about hearing those words come out of my toddler sons' mouth was equally wrecking and healing.
I was strong. I was strong.
I need to remember moment like this one, because just like many of you, my healing from the c-section has been ongoing in an emotional and physical sense. This was another moment in my process that felt significantly healing to my heart. If you are still processing your birth experience, no matter how you gave birth to your child - I want to remind you with the same sentiment, full of a child's innocence and absolute conviction - you were really strong to give birth like that.
P.S. - My birth story with Daxton.
P.P.S. - Photo from a few years ago, playing on the floor of my living room with Everett.