If there is anything I never expected it was a “Vag Badge” being some sort of prize that birthing parents wanted. I never realized the true extent until I joined a Facebook group where people literally would make unsafe decisions when they were having a baby. As someone who had a birth the vaginal way and c-section way, they are not all as cracked up to be.
What is a “Vag Badge” you may be wondering, in short it is one of the most toxic subjects in modern pregnancy. Assuming that by not giving birth vaginally you are apparently less of a mother. Some birthing partners who have had c-section will be under the “woo” spell and even try to have a vaginal birth even after they have been told the risks are far more substantial than they ever were just to have this birth. At the end of the day, we are in 2023 where modern medicine has advanced so much that C-sections have become a lifesaving surgery that saves both birth parent and babies lives every single day.
Some of the misconceptions that “woo” people will say is that “Babies come when they are ready”. They don’t. Which is why some people need to be induced. Having this mindset can create such an unsafe environment for not only babies but their parent giving birth also. This is especially familiar with VBAC (Vaginal Birth after Cesarean) groups on Facebook where they will encourage all types of births, including home (Which is a whole different issue) and how they should push for having a baby vaginally. The fact is some people have died trying to have a vaginal birth, or even their babies dying in the process too. For years and years this was a reality. Not until we learned different surgery’s, etc that can ensure the safety of birth parents. The whole “Your body knows what to do” is such a crock of shit that the fact is some people do not have a body to give birth for whatever reason. Their bodies also may never go into labour on their own. This doesn’t mean they are a failure or that they are any less of a parent, it just means that thankfully we live in a world that the safety of both babies and parents can be ensured because we have the skilled medical professionals to help that happen.
I even felt like this with my 1st son. It was to the point that I felt like if I were to have a c-section that I was a failure in some sense. Not that I knew many reasons why a c-section was given but I felt like the misconception about it was that if I needed to have one that I was a failure to not have a vaginal birth. Like as a mother I was not able to fully do labour. This is so far from the truth. In fact, with my 2nd birth I choose a c-section. I go more into detail here, but at the end of the day it was more important for the safety of my son than it was for myself to attempt a vaginal birth. Instead of trying to follow groups I instead talked to my doctor. Towards the end of my first pregnancy I was asked if I had any concerns. I said what is the reasons for a c-section, does that mean I am a failure? She looked at me and simply said NO! No one is failure for having a c-section. Some people literally do not have a body to birth a baby and there is nothing that can be done before pregnancy, in labour or anything else that can make it happen. Just that it is needed at times and that’s just the way some births have to happen. Her saying this left me in a huge sense of relief. It made me feel that whenever I went into labour (or not) that sometimes thing are just out of my control and the safety of us was the utmost importance, not the way the baby actually came out.
Is there a common theme that people feel a sense of loss, or they mourn the experience of having a vaginal birth? Yes. It is a very valid feeling. Especially when often times you see that their entire families had vaginal births and they wanted to also have the experience of “pushing” out a baby. Feeling a sense of loss if you never have this experience is totally normal. What isn’t normal is putting yourself at risk of your baby at risk to achieve this. If you are feeling a sense a loss, maybe speaking with a medical professional on how a c-section was a safest mode of delivery or even a licensed therapist who maybe specialized in pregnancy and birth traumas is the way to go here. Because at the end of the day those feelings are valid, it is okay to have them.
I can say with confidence as well, if someone did not know me, and they were to look at both of my children right now. There is no way you could pick out which was vaginal and which was a c-section. There is no flag or neon lights flashing with an arrow to one that was not a vaginal and the other who was. Just the same as breastfeeding and formula feeding at the end of the day you are not able to show which kids have been fed which way at a playground.
And a much busted myth, vaginal births are NOT always an easier recovery. In fact many people comment who have had both that their c-section whether scheduled or not was a whole lot better recovery than vaginal. There are even people who has such a traumatic vaginal that they never want to do that again and opt for their c-section because the environment is so much more controlled. Whether you birth one way or another, there are risks with both. But there is no guarantee one will be easier to recover from or one will be harder it just seems to happen with whatever the universe has for people.
And as much as you may think, There is no award or a badge for pushing a baby out of a vagina. Period.