Love Letters To C-Section Moms From Your Spouse: You’re A Total Badass
KRISTEN THOMPSON • JUNE 23, 2017
I get the excited phone call just after lunch: Baby is here! Everyone is healthy and happy.
And of course the inevitable condensed version of the labour: She powered through. No interventions, no drugs. “She was a f***ing beast!” he says. He’s so proud of his wife, and in such awe of how she delivered their baby, that it’s all he can talk about. I want to give them both a high five. I’m crying with happiness. But a part of me is also feeling like shit.
When the call ends I go into our home office where my husband is working and I sit cross-legged on the floor, filled with a complicated mix of emotions – profound joy, with a good twinge of jealousy. I tell him that baby is here, and the story of her amazing birth, and the word “beast” catches in my throat.
We’ve had this conversation before, my husband and I. Four years since my first baby, and 20 months since my last, and I’m still dealing with profound disappointment from with my long and complicated labours, and eventual emergency c-sections.
My inability to really accept the outcome of those births has made it hard – even now – to feel total and unreserved happiness for friends who have textbook vaginal births without drugs. It was the experience I wanted so badly, and would have had – I’m sure of it – if either of my babies had been able to fit through my narrow birth canal. Such is life. And on good days I shrug and say, “all that matters is they are here.” On bad days, sadness hits me in the gut.
My husband stops what he’s doing, looks me square in the eyes, and with 100 per cent sincerity says this: “You know? You were a beast too.”
And I cry. Because this is exactly what I needed to hear from him. I’ve heard this from other people – friends, midwives, myself. But I really needed to hear it from my husband, because I wanted so badly to make him proud in the way I gave birth to our children.
I needed to hear that he was in awe of me anyway. That their births by surgery did not diminish his sense of wonder at what I went through to have them.
Every once in a while a story goes viral wherein an ecstatic new dad writes an open letter to his wife, praising her for her strength, love and determination in birthing their child. The letters are beautiful testaments to their spouses, full of love and pride. And they always make me feel a bit like crap.
So this is for all the c-section moms out there. Love letters from your spouses to you. Because in their eyes, you are every bit as amazing as the moms who gave birth the conventional way. And you need to hear that. And I need to hear that. Because it’s true.
Here’s the letter my husband wrote to me:
Dylan Tomlin. Kelowna, B.C.
The experience I had as a husband during the birth of our two children is something I will never forget. The immense strength, will, and determination my wife showed during this time absolutely blew me away.
I know the births didn’t go as we had planned, and that we had to have C-Sections both times, but seeing my wife experience minutes-long contractions only seconds apart has forever changed me. Watching her, I was in awe. In spite of spending several days already in labour, she mustered up a courage and strength I have never seen before, and became the most powerful being in the room.
The power that a mother has is forged in stone in this process, and I am proud to say I experienced this first hand. I am proud to say Kristen is my wife, my partner and the mother of my children.
Jason Henderson. Toronto, Ont.
My wife is brave. I know that. She has proven it throughout her live, and it is part of the reason I love her.
Her bravery has never been more evident than with the birth of our first little one. And I cannot always express in words how thankful I am for her and what she put herself through for our son. We needed to get a c-section. We were both excited and nervous. We were ready and prepped – as much as brand new parents could be. And we were prepared for what would happen in the OR by the doc – there will be tucking, etc. But nothing can really prepare you for this.
I have never been so scared for my wife in my life. She was on the table, being operated on while I am there, being pulled, and tucked on to get our son ready for birth. She had to stay brave throughout this, scared probably as much as I am, if not more. This is, after all, major surgery.
The scariest part for me was when our son was out and the cord cut, and I needed to leave my wife to make sure everything was okay with our son. I stood on the other side of the OR, wanting to run back and forth between the two to make sure everyone was okay. I could see them still working on my wife, her looking over at me, at the mercy of the doctors, and wondering whether everything was okay with our son.
It was the single most emotional event that I have experienced in my life. Being helpless, excited, nervous, scared s***less, and feeling so overwhelmed. My wife must have been feeling this times a hundred. Everyone turned out fine in the end, and the delivery and recovery was a great success. But this was both the scariest moment of my life and the happiest. And all thanks to my brave wife who put herself and her body through this.
Thank you to my brave, loving wife for what she has done for us.
Thank you Marianne
Sophia Drolia. Toronto, Ont.
Looking back to January 22, 2015, the day our son was born, was also the day you truly showed your greatest strength.
With all the time spent on hypnobirthing and watching you breathe and squat through every painful contraction, you just went on. Our midwives were amazing but they knew to get the doctor to consult. In came the doctor and out went one of your dreams (although who dreams of pushing 8 lbs of anything through their vag?!). The doctor said you could keep going, but this baby wasn’t going to come out the way we planned.
They wheeled you in to prep for the surgery and that’s when I realized you sacrificed everything to have our baby. I stood terrified for you, for our baby. I looked at the midwife and begged her to tell me that you would be ok and she held me and calmed me down.
The wait to see you felt like forever and I hated the thought of you being alone. The moment I saw you laying there strapped down, I thought, ‘F**k. This woman is incredible.’ The strength in your eyes and determination to have this baby kept me strong. You were shaking because of the meds and I because of the fear. You, you my wife, showed no fear. You showed strength. You remained calm while my mind thought: “S**, she’s half open right now!”
Then out came our baby and then I got to hold him. I know in your heart of hearts you would have wanted the baby on your skin first because that’s what everyone says, but you said nothing. You looked at us with pride. You looked at him and you cried with joy. I looked at you and you transformed right before me. You became a mother, but you became something more to me.
You gave birth to our son, our son! You made our dreams came true and you have a sexy scar to prove it. That scar reminds me of your sacrifices and your strength. It reminds me that you are more powerful than you give yourself credit for. It reminds me of everything you are – determined, strong, inspiring, and selfless. Thank you for giving of your entire self for our son and for our dream.
Patrick. Ottawa, Ont.
My wife used to be so disappointed with the way our son was born – by emergency c-section following a very long labour. But I don’t see a c-section as a sign of failure. It’s actually a sign of strength on the mom’s part: she was faced with a difficult decision and chose to take the safest path for baby’s birth.
It’s one of the first major decisions that you have to make for your child. I think all the steps leading up to the baby’s birth, whether it’s vaginally or surgically, are the same no matter which way baby is born. It took well over a year for her to overcome this sense of loss.
A woman who is faced with having to give birth by c-section usually has to set aside a dream, an ideal. To overcome this requires a lot of strength and sometimes a long grieving period. She probably knows it’s the best decision for her and for her baby’s health, but letting go of that ideal natural birth must be so hard – and only a woman who has been faced with that situation can truly understand what a great sacrifice it is.
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