Did you know April is c-section awareness month? I didn't until recently but now we both know! And now if you don't mind I'd like to take a little bit of time to talk about my own experience with c-section.
Out of my three children's births (all of which were very different from each other) my last child's birth was a c-section. We lived in a small community at the time and my daughter decided she wanted to be a footling breech baby with loose nuchal cord. We tried everything to flip her (including a painful failed ECV) but she wouldn't budge (she's still very stubborn by the way!). And unfortunately we couldn't find a doctor that would attempt a trial of labor with a breech baby in our small town so we had a scheduled C-section. I was devastated but I've very fortunately been able to work through my grief of losing the type of birth I wanted and had expected. I now use my experience to offer support to other moms who might be expecting or recently have had a c-section since I know first hand what it is like. I really believe in the power of community. It was my community that helped me get through my c-section. I had lots of friends help me both emotionally and physically. I even had a friend call me from out of state out of the blue because she wanted to share her experience to help comfort me and I want to pay that forward.
I was actually able to speak about my experience to a group of women at my church about a year after the birth of my daughter via c-section and I have this excerpt to share:
"I have reflected a lot on this experience (of giving birth in a way I didn't want) over the past year. I had a lot of hard emotions to deal with. It's easy to say 'it wasn't that bad, just get over it, at least it's over now, there are a lot harder things you could experience in life, at least your baby is here and healthy, it could be worse, it's not a big deal, women have c-sections all of the time now, etc. etc.'
But that's not really fair to me as an individual. I feel what I feel and saying things like that hurts more than it helps. Especially if it's me saying it to myself in a conflicting inner dialogue of emotions and runaway thoughts. I had to work through my own physical and emotional pain. It was still major surgery! And while I still don't 100% understand why my third child had to be delivered via c-section (as in why did God let that happen to me?), and it still causes me pain on occasion, I have found healing. A lot of the healing has come from my faith and trust in God. Knowing that He is always watching out for me brings me great comfort even if the circumstances are not what I think are ideal.
I hope by sharing all of this I can help someone to be inspired to find healing from their own pain, either from what I learned or even just from knowing that it is possible to heal."
If you would like to talk to me about your experience with c-section (or any birth really, I love hearing birth stories!) I am here for you. Please share!
April is a month full of awareness topics. One issue that I find especially important to me as I work with babies and small children is preventing abuse. This month is National Child Abuse Prevention month.
About a year ago I shared a post about "Purple Crying". In that post I talked about what to do when your baby is crying and won't stop. It was about managing your own emotions because sometimes babies just cry and it can be very hard to deal with.
This month I would like to talk about bonding with your baby which is one of the tips from childwelfare.gov's National Child Abuse Prevention month for Strong and Thriving Families:
"Here are some ways to promote bonding:
• Respond when your baby cries. Try to understand what he or she is saying to you. You can’t “spoil” babies with too much attention—they need and benefit from a parent’s loving care even when they seem inconsolable.
• Hold and touch your baby as much as possible. You can keep him or her close with baby slings, pouches, or backpacks (for older babies).
• Use feeding, bathing, and diapering times to look into your baby’s eyes, smile, and talk to your baby.
• Read, sing, and play peek-a-boo. Babies love to hear human voices and will try to imitate your voice and the sounds you make.
• As your baby gets a little older, try simple games and toys. Once your baby can sit up, plan on spending lots of time on the floor with toys, puzzles, and books.
• If you feel you are having trouble bonding with your infant, don’t wait to get help. Talk to your doctor or your baby’s pediatrician as soon as you can."
Three reasons you need a maternity session:
1. It’s a chance for you to get comfortable in front of your photographer! Being photographed professionally can be intimidating, but a maternity session is the perfect opportunity to figure it out without the pressure of the full newborn session. ESPECIALLY if one of you “hates” being photographed, the maternity session is a MUST! Once you've done it once by the time the newborn session comes along having family photos will be a piece of cake.
2. To celebrate this special - and fleeting - time in your family. As a mom of 3 I know it feels like it goes on forever but pregnancy will be over before you realize it! Getting portraits created while you are pregnant will help you to remember this special time. You will see yourself through my lens which will help you remember the better parts. I know it also doesn’t feel like it but you are GLOWING with excitement! There’s something so special about creating new life. It is one of the most beautiful things. You’ll be so thankful to have beautiful portraits of yourselves.
3. Lastly, it gives us a chance to bond and get to know each other! This is related to the first reason about helping you feel comfortable. My goal is for us to feel like old friends so that you really feel at ease when I am handling your precious baby during your newborn session. I really want you to feel safe with me and a maternity session helps tremendously towards that!
One more point as a veteran mom and not just a photographer: future regret can be a hard thing to imagine right now. But from one who knows (I only had the last out of my 3 pregnancies professional photographed), don't let this precious time escape undocumented. You really will cherish these photos someday, whether that be in a few months or a decade or more down the road. Do your future self a favor. You'll be glad you did.
This blog will feature new parent advice, what to expect when working with my business, as well as an ongoing series about safety when interacting with newborns
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