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 birth after cesarean) as well, I have a unique perspective about what moms needs when they are seeking a vaginal birth after giving birth by cesarean.
For many VBAC moms it’s important to address the difficult emotions that may have been brought on by having an unexpected cesarean. If left unresolved these heavy feelings could become a hindrance as a mom tries to work her way through a new birth experience. That’s why every mother who has already given birth has access to a free Birthing Story Healing session before our San Antonio Birthing from Within class series begins. This special opportunity allows moms to grieve the birth experience they didn’t have, while also finding self-compassion and new meaning in the unwished-for events that occurred during their last birth.
Once a VBAC mom and her partner arrive 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 mothers 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 moms (and all moms) permission to have BIG feelings about their past birth, and also their future birth experience. Rather than feeling like she’s a failure or oversensitive, laboring moms are seen as people who are going through a major struggle, 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 time moms and experienced moms 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 moms who are having contractions. Moms who are overwhelmed with unexpected events, partners who are struggling with seeing their partner 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. Because of this, VBAC moms 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.
Couples who attend Birthing from Within classes will learn about techniques and skills to help increase a mother’s chances of giving birth vaginally. 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 moms build emotional strength 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 moms, dads, and partners find healing and move forward to do the important work of thoroughly preparing for a VBAC.