The first VBAC I ever attended completely blew my mind. I watched a woman move from excited and hopeful to the darkest, scariest place of fear, to surrender, to extraordinary power and then to the softest, most tender human presence as she greeted her baby into the world. It was the most humbling experience of my life, and I am continually humbled by the experience of holding women through birth.
Here’s a few things I’ve picked up from my amazing clients along the way:
1. I am not that important. I am just someone who cares, holding the space as women find their own way.
2. There are no books and no experts that can teach a woman how to birth her baby.
3. VBAC, like all birth, is a spiritual journey. I cannot determine that path. It would be so arrogant to think I could.
I used to think knowledge was power, but many births later, I think getting stuck in our heads takes away our power. Our bodies were designed to birth babies. We are programmed with everything we need to know. For those of us who are strong, controlling women (yeah, I admit it), it’s so hard to let go and just be still. It’s in this moment of still, that we find the knowledge we were born with.
Knowing can be a really scary place. Realizing that no one else can give you the answers, solve the problem, make it easier, tell you how it will end. On the way to finding our inherent knowledge and strength, we usually meet our demons. Self-doubt, fear, uncertainty, sometimes even self-loathing. Those are hard demons to face. I remember an exercise I once did with another midwife where she had us blow them away with our exhales. It’s was surprisingly liberating.
What I’m learning now, is that the VBAC journey is often about much more than the end of a vaginal birth. It’s about finding your power. It’s about being open to the journey. It’s about taking responsibility and taking charge and learning to let go all at the same time. And that goes for the midwife or doula too.