It's ok to not feel ok

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It's been quite a while.

You might recall that right before my sudden sabbatical that I was one sick mama. That's putting it mildly. I haven't sewn since December, and the only reason I did then was because my morning sickness had not yet made an appearance. I was kind of pleased at the time, thinking I might get lucky and escape it altogether. That was most definitely not the case. Calling it morning sickness is the understatement of a lifetime - I couldn't make it more than two days without a surprise during my morning ablutions, usually teeth brushing, though it occasionally ruined my morning shower as well. Even now that it is almost gone (I still have my moments, but I function significantly better), I still cringe going into any bathroom because I have made such bad connections with the space.

Now that I am feeling so much better, I have finally started to move into the "nesting" phase. Buying baby things is definitely on my mind and I have started to enjoy watching and reading birth stories, like I did with Micah. I recall watching A Baby Story almost every morning before work when I was pregnant with him, filled with the excitement of new life and a new journey, and absolutely no fear. My pregnancy with him was textbook - mild morning sickness, no pain, no Braxton Hicks. I was happy, glowing and filled with joy. I made the incorrect assumption that my labor and delivery would be no different, and so I didn't even make a birth plan. I told my midwife that I just wanted to go with the flow rather than try to stick to a plan that would likely get blown to pieces anyway, and she told me that was an excellent way to look at it. It gave me peace and would allow room for decisions that would make labor easier. If you are a follower, then you know exactly how that went. I may as well have had a plan!

This time around, I still do not have a birth plan, but I do have a choice that will dictate my entire labor and delivery experience - I am having a scheduled c-section.

If you spend any time at all on birth forums or websites dedicated to maternity and labor, you will have likely heard some of the statistics about cesarean deliveries. Just this morning, I read an article encouraging mothers to take a rest period after they have a baby, rather than feel compelled to bounce right back like you hear so many celebrities do. Many cultures have a mandatory convalescence spanning anywhere from 20 to 60 days, yet for some reason here in America, we are convinced that we should be back to our "normal" lives within days of giving birth. If you have ever had a baby, you know how unrealistic that is, and unfortunately you have to experience it to fully understand what your own personal limitations are. Every body is different, and you can take me as a prime example - every midwife tells you that when you go into your labor, your body will know what to do. For me, that was not the case. My body understood contractions, but nothing else. I never dilated, and my body rejected all pain relief options. I am certainly not the norm, but it needs to be understood that labor will never be what you imagine it to be, and women need to understand that sometimes things are out of their control.

That said, the amount of websites out there with statistics on cesarean deliveries NEVER point out that some of those deliveries are not by choice. They like to make it sensationalist because that sells, and many reading will assume that there are at least 33% of women out there choosing a c-section just for the sake of convenience. While I do know that some women do this - though I can't imagine why anyone would think major abdominal surgery is easier than pushing out a baby, considering healing times alone - a big chunk of that number is also people like me. Women that cannot have a baby naturally despite their best efforts. Women that have pre-eclampsia, women that push for hours but have hips too narrow, women that never dilate, women that have severe anemia. I know the numbers are climbing every year, and unfortunately, that is also because many hospitals try to coerce women into repeat c-sections to avoid the possibility of unproductive labor or complications from a previous surgery. While I get the concern, taking away a woman's rights to make money is beyond ridiculous.

If I had any pull in the blogging community, I would use it right now. I would use it to tell women that is ok if your labor and delivery did not go as planned, that it's alright if you spend your maternity leave resting and bonding with your child rather than cleaning or working out, that it should be rule (and not the exception) that your husband/SO/family help you when you need it without begging. Giving birth and raising a child should be a gift rather than a chore, and if you need to pretend your kitchen sink isn't overflowing to embrace that, then so be it.