When someone says, “My birth wasn’t perfect, but I wouldn’t have changed it for anything!” I can’t help but think–
— because I would.
Usually their tale is one of imperfection (hey, isn’t that like us all!?), but the heavy note is that they survived and the baby was healthy. Is this why people wouldn’t change their births for anything? It’s as if they automatically assume that to change the birth, the outcome for baby would also change. But what if you could have changed your birth to make it better, and baby still would have been fine? Or finer? Would you change it then?
I’ve heard this sentiment quite a few times, from friends and enemies and strangers alike. From induced moms, c-section moms, moms who wished they could have gone natural but ended up with a plethora of interventions, etc.
There are so few situations which are so perfectly ideal that the mother would not change a thing. Even if you thought whatever happened was for the best. And let’s just for the sake of discussion put aside the “everything happens for a reason” reason (which truthfully I believe in, even if it sucks sometimes as a consolation). Honestly– who among us wouldn’t do something to change our births to make them better? If you tell me you were disappointed you had this or that happen, but you wouldn’t change it… well, refer to George (above).
Even my recent more “perfect birth” still had some setbacks which, looking back, I see plenty of ways in which I could allow myself a better birth. I may not have any real regrets, but I don’t feel bad about admitting how we can do better (next time?).
Note that I said a better birth. Not a better baby. Your birth is not your baby. Your birth is not your baby. Your birth is not your baby. Changing the birth does not mean you would change your baby. Wanting a more perfect birth experience for you does not mean it is all about you to the exclusion of the baby. What is good for you is more often than not what is good for the baby, so wanting birth to be the best and healthiest for you is not selfish.
I mean, let’s face it– most things in life (even very good things) have room for improvement. And it’s not ungrateful of you at all to want to look back on your experience and admit what you wished had been different. I think the desire to not live a life with regret and to look only joyfully on the birth of our children causes us to look the other way on issues that seriously deserve more attention.
So, I had three births, and if I could go back and change them each, I most definitely would. What would you change about your birth(s)?