Just Us Girls

Just Us Girls

...one SMC's adventures in single motherhood.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

On bravery

My cousin just sent me a link to a blog post about the bravery it requires to have a c-section, and my response to her has left me drained...it brought up so many thoughts that have been buried pretty deeply. Perhaps some of the most honest writing I've done in quite a while. Just for the heckuvit, I'm posting it here.

Here is a snippet of her affirmation to me, just so you know what my first paragraph is responding to:

"I know that I tend to make grand statements about birth, and I always seem to second-guess myself after the topic has come up in conversation with you, like it did this past weekend. You already have been on such an incredible journey, from conception of idea to conception of baby, to pregnancy growth and nurturing, to birth, to daily feats of super-mommyhood while juggling work and home. And I am in awe. Truly and honestly. And you should hear that affirmation more often."

My response:

Hi, Jill!
Wow! Thank you for the affirmation...you're right, I never really hear that from anyone. Well, except for occasionally from my mom, and I definitely appreciate it when she does tell me she thinks I'm doing a good job. Counts for a lot.

Thank you as well for the link...though in all honesty, I have mixed feelings about the tone of her post. Of course, we all tend to "hear" words in print through the filters of our own experiences, so I'm sure I'm no exception. Although I suppose my cesarean surgery itself did require some measure of bravery, I have a clear recollection that I did not feel overly panicked or worried when my OB told me that he felt it was best to move towards a c-section...I've seen so many of them on all those silly birth shows I watched. I know, not the same when it's you on the table, but I think it was because I had spent a lot of time considering the possibility and wondering how I'd feel if it came to that. Plus, my doctor was so calm when we talked about it. I definitely knew that my pushing wasn't doing anything, and I was worried that baby girl might end up in distress. Instead, the panic came when he told me that I was going to be put under general anesthesia, and when things started happening at warp speed (particularly the splashing of the betadyne). Wow, I feel like I'm reliving it even as I write this. That's what took extreme bravery, knowing that I was going to sacrifice the precious moments I had so been looking forward to, the moment when she entered the world for the first time and that incredible first cry. I didn't know it at the time, but I would also end up sacrificing much of that first day with her, since I have such foggy memories of it all, especially the first time they put her in my arms. I really wish I could remember that. I would never in a million years consent to another emergency c-section under general anesthesia (unless I absolutely had to, of course), and I wouldn't wish it on my worst enemy. A planned c-section with an epidural I would definitely go for, especially if it meant I would actually be conscious for the birth. I really don't think I'd want to have anything but a planned c-section, since anything else, including VBAC and vaginal delivery in general, still carries the risk of things going awry and me having to go under general anesthesia again. I just refuse to risk it. Back to bravery, though, I think what required even more bravery from me ( and still does, on a daily basis) is my decision to become a choice mom in the first place. Some days I can't even believe I've done this to such a precious little girl...choosing to bring her into this world without a father and not knowing how she's going to feel about it in the future. For lack of a better term, I don't want her to feel like a freak, having a donor for a biological father. There are so many unknowns. I'd do anything to avoid hurting her in any way, but sometimes I worry that it's too late for that, I've made my choice and now we both have to live with it. Of course I don't want to frame her story in any kind of negative way, but I'd be lying if I said these thoughts don't cross my mind now and then. Every day I have to be brave enough to forge ahead with the faith and hope that she'll be okay with the unique way she came into the world--so much rides on my ability to explain it to her when she's old enough to start to understand it. I hope I can do justice to her story. To me this far outweighs the bravery it took to get through her delivery...that only lasted a day, and this is going to last her lifetime. Wish me luck, haha. But thank you for the thought-provoking link, and I hope to see you guys again soon!!!

In all honesty, I'm in kind of a dark place tonight, so I'm not surprised that this response feels dark as well. K is still the best accomplishment of my life to date, and I can't imagine living a day without her. I live for the time each day that I get to spend with her, and weekends are absolute bliss. I do wonder how my cousin will respond to what I've written...I'll keep you posted.


  1. You will do a wonderful job explaining your daughter's origins. She will be inspired by your courage on a daily basis. K is one lucky girl to share her life with you.

    PS. Hope the morning brought some light and comfort--nights can be quite intimidating and make us think we don't have the answers when, in fact, we really do.

  2. "Some days I can't even believe I've done this to such a precious little girl...choosing to bring her into this world without a father and not knowing how she's going to feel about it in the future."
    "sometimes I worry that it's too late for that, I've made my choice and now we both have to live with it."
    My thoughts exactly!

  3. Thank you for sharing this response...as I get closer to delivery, I'm trying to prepare myself for all possibilities. Your perspective is something I really needed to read. Thank you.

  4. I think we all have the same thoughts about our kids. I know I do. Every time she calls me daddy I think about the choice I've made. I don't know what the future brings, and that scares the hell out of me. I have no answers and the only certainty where she is concerned is that I love her with all my heart. As for the c-section, I honestly wasn't scared at all for me, I was worried about her. In all of what I went through, I was never really worried about myself. I guess that's the bravery of mothers in general.