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Mourning the Loss of Your Birth Experience

Do not be afraid to take the time to mourn the loss of the experience you anticipated. But in doing so, remember to celebrate the opportunity you still have in front of you to form memories of all of the moments you'll have beyond.
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Perhaps I'm abnormal. Actually, I know I am. If you were to ask me what my ideal birth scenario would be, I would probably say Cesarean section. There are a multitude of reasons behind this rationale, but that's neither here nor there. At the end of the day, I know that I'm not in the majority; I'm not naive as to what the masses prefer. Still, I can't say that I haven't been genuinely surprised by how many women so actively grieve the loss of the vaginal birth experience. When I frequent the high risk message boards that my placenta previa has caused me to seek out and take in, I often find myself reading the distressed posts of women who struggle to come to grips with their inevitable realities.

On the one hand, I can empathize. Having been on bed rest for the past 48 days (but who's counting?), this pregnancy does not remotely resemble the picture I had in my mind. I find myself longing to purchase the cute maternity tops I'm tagged in on social media, only to realize that my couch wouldn't be an appropriate place to wear them. I yearn to take photographs with my 10 month old daughter perched happily atop my bump, but standing for such a prolonged period of time would be frowned upon, and in any event, I'm not allowed to lift her anyway. And the frequent hospital stays necessitated by multiple instances of hemorrhaging have not been what you'd call pleasant; each one increasing the likelihood of an emergency delivery and, subsequently, a premature child. As a result, I guess you could say that I've been forced to mourn the loss of my pregnancy experience; the one I started planning for the second my daughter was born.

That being said, the time I allotted for grief came and went as quickly as the blood exited my body upon that first bleed. Sure, I experience momentary twinges of bittersweet nostalgia over the moments I was able to have while pregnant with my daughter. Sure, my daily reality forces me to acknowledge that this is all but ideal. But in the end, I know that things could be much, much worse. On those same high risk message boards where I read about the sadness women feel over being forced to have a C-section, I've also read countless stories of tragedy from women who were forced to deliver a child all too soon; a child that didn't quite make it. And in that moment, I'm reminded that, while not ideal, I have very little to complain about.

Truth be told, when I find myself cycling back through photos of the last 10 months of my daughter's life, I find myself revisiting her first smile; the first time she ate solids (the term ate used loosely); our first family trip. To be quite honest, it wasn't until I was making some updates to my computer recently that I realized just how long it had been since I'd revisited the photos from the actual day of her birth. Turns out, when I take a trip down memory lane, there are a multitude of milestones that carry greater importance to me. Turns out, instead of the moment that gave her life, it is the actual substance of her life that I love most. And those milestones, that substance -- they will happen, regardless of how your child makes his or her grand entrance into the world.

So ladies, do not be afraid to take the time to mourn the loss of the experience you anticipated. But in doing so, remember to celebrate the opportunity you still have in front of you to form memories of all of the moments you'll have beyond. For the birth is but one small sequence in this long storybook life. It is but one fleeting moment in a long line of experiences and memories. And regardless of what form your birth story takes, in the end, there will be a baby at the other end of that rainbow, ready to experience with you all of the adventures that life has to offer.

Though don't expect those to go according to plan either.


To read more from Jennifer, follow her on Twitter, like her on Facebook, or visit her website at Warning: Not for the faint of heart.