How to Find Healing and Move Forward
As a VBAC mom and a doula who has attended many VBACs (vaginal births after cesarean) and CBACs (cesarean births after cesarean), I have a unique perspective about what parents needs when they are seeking a vaginal birth after giving birth by cesarean.
For many parents seeking a VBAC, it’s important to address the difficult emotions that may have been brought on by having a cesarean birth. If left unresolved these heavy feelings could become a hindrance as a the birthing parent tries to work through a new birth experience.
Once a family seeking a VBAC arrives in a Birthing from Within class series, they learn that from Day 1 birth is seen not just as a huge physical experience, but a powerful emotional experience as well. In classes we acknowledge that boundaries and relationships are tested, and that parents usually go through a wide range of emotions from joy to overwhelm to love to fear.
When all emotions are normalized and validated, it gives VBAC parents (and all parents) permission to have BIG feelings about their past birth, and also their future birth experience. Birthing parents are seen as people who are going through a major challenge, a life-changing event, and are doing (and feeling) whatever they need to in order to get through it. This fresh perspective takes a huge weight off the shoulders of both first timers and experienced parents who are birthing again.
A large portion of every Birthing from Within class is focused on building a pain-coping mindset through mindfulness practices. Parents learn that these mindfulness practices are not only valuable to people who are having contractions. Parents who are overwhelmed with unexpected events, partners who are struggling with seeing their loved one go through pain, or parents dealing with late, tiring nights with a newborn benefit from mindfulness as well. Building a strong foundation of mindfulness helps parents work through any situation that may arise during birth or postpartum one step at a time, with self-compassion. Because of this, VBAC parents who take Birthing from Within are equipped to cope with any birth outcome with flexibility and resilience, whether that birth is a vaginal birth or repeat cesarean.
Families who attend Birthing from Within classes will learn about techniques and skills to help increase a the likelihood of a vaginal birth. The chance of having a cesarean birth can be reduced by learning about optimal fetal positioning, pain coping, what to expect during different stages of labor, how a doula can provide important support to birthing families, and how to have a cesarean in awareness.
That’s right, a Cesarean in Awareness. Parents who are seeking a VBAC don’t just learn about how to achieve an idealized version of birth. They also learn how to cope if things don’t go as hoped. Parents are gently and skillfully led through a cesarean demonstration that helps that understand how to stay connected during a cesarean birth. Maintaining connection with their baby, partner, birth, support people, and themselves helps VBAC parents build emotional resilience to come out of a repeat cesarean more whole, if that’s what is needed to birth their baby.
We talk about physiological birth and about cesarean birth through a lens of compassion, strength, and doing the next best thing when needed. Birthing from Within truly is a holistic approach to childbirth preparation that helps parents find healing and move forward to do the important work of thoroughly preparing for a VBAC.