Becoming a parent for the first time is one of the most intense experiences out there. Soon-to-be parents happily chose which gifts they want for their registry, which parenting classes take and which names they want for their little ones, but if a couple chooses to give birth at a hospital, their right to make informed decisions stops as they enter the building.
Planning for normal birth is important because in recent times, more women have had their best plans interrupted through the increased tendency in health care systems toward cesarean birth, labor induction, scheduled births, and other medical interventions that can put you and your baby at greater risk for complications and harm.
"Your son is beautiful, and everything looks fine, except that I do not see an anal opening." Imagine hearing those words from your doctor just minutes after bringing your baby into the world. I did not hear anything that came after that sentence. Beyond those words, I froze, and it was only the beginning.
Their relentless love is why I am still here. They needed me in their world, so I returned to stability, self-compassion, and most days, even self-love. My children and I talk about the scars on my arms, and those years of my itinerant, unstable motherhood, and their fears for me -- that the bipolar dragon might return and carry me back to its cave.