i’ve been putting off writing this post for almost 8 weeks now. it’s been 7 and a half weeks since sylvie’s birth, 7 and a half weeks spent trying to come to terms with my unplanned c-section. this article, thought quite lengthy, is the best i’ve read on the subject.
it’s like this. say you have spent the better part of a year planning a trip to paris. you’ve thoroughly researched your flights, hotel accommodations, and every thing you plan to do and see there. you’ve written out a dream itinerary. you’ve read countless guide books and websites. you mark a big red X on the calendar each evening before bed, counting down the days, minutes, and seconds until you leave. you are excited beyond all belief.
on the morning of your flight, you decide to run some last minute errands. travel sizes of shampoo, snacks for the flight, etcetera. suddenly, another car runs a stop sign and crashes into you. your leg is badly broken. you have to say au revoir to paris. except you’ve never been to paris, so what you’re actually saying goodbye to is the dream of paris. the fantasy of paris. the paris you’ve built up in your head to be so extraordinarily life-changing. au revoir.
in the coming weeks, as your leg begins to mend, you notice that the authors of several blogs you read are traveling to paris. you read detailed accounts of their trips, “travel stories”. you see countless pictures and videos of couples beneath the eiffel tower and the arc de triomphe. you read drool-worthy accounts of every wonderful meal consumed there. you are happy for these bloggers, some of whom you consider to be your friends. still. all the while, in the back of your mind, comes a nagging feeling of it should have been me. you are convinced that nobody wanted and worked for that trip to paris as much as you did. it pains you to see others get the experience you longed for, some of whom don’t seem too enthused. you know that maybe you will get the chance to travel there again a few years in the future, but that the likelihood of that isn’t up to you. you hold onto that for comfort.
that is the best parallel i can draw. i never got my paris and i still get a twinge of pain every single day. some days it hurts more than others. i have the deep red scar to remind me every time i change clothes or shower (which isn’t as frequent an occurrence as it used to be). i know it will take time. i’ve heard it does get easier. now that i’ve lost breast feeding as well (sylvie is SO MUCH HAPPIER this way), it’s been weighing particularly hard on me. i wonder: if i had the natural birth i dreamed of would sylvie have been a better nurser? could we have gotten through her tummy troubles? would she even have those tummy troubles? i know the answers are probably no, no, and yes, respectively. i still can’t help but wonder if things would have been different.
my mind is a constant swarm of what ifs? what if i had her at a birth center (like i wanted, but there are none close by) instead of a hospital? what if my water hadn’t broken prematurely and she had made it to term? what if i had waited just a little longer to finally give in to that epidural? i don’t know if any of these things would have mattered. all i can do is to try again when the time comes to give sylvie a sibling. if i work hard enough, maybe i can have the natural birth i envisioned with her little brother or sister. perhaps we’ll be living in a place with an excellent midwife-attended birth center nearby. i hope so.
until then, i will work as hard as i can each day to move on from the experience, to live in present and focus on how blessed i am to be sylvia’s mother.