As I mention in ‘Empowered Birth is Not In The Eyes of the Beholder’, one of the most disempowering assumptions to be made during a planned VBAC is that ‘a healthy baby out of my vagina’ is all that matters – this is a great and logical foundation for a bigger goal, but the process of planning a VBAC should not only be about babies and vaginas.
Here’s where I’m going with this… What if that baby comes out of your vagina, but you have to have an assisted delivery? What if that baby comes out of your vagina, but you are coached to push? What if that baby comes out of your vagina, but you feel totally out of control because your body takes over? (Google ‘foetal ejection reflex’ if you haven’t already.) And, what if you unexpectedly decide that you want to have a repeat Caesarean?
The passage of your next child through the birth canal is not automatically a passport to empowerment. Sometimes women ‘get their VBAC’ and yet still report feeling disempowered for various reasons. Conversely, others end up with unplanned repeat Caesareans and yet feel perfectly empowered during their birth. These are some of The Grey Zones of Empowerment.
Instead of focusing solely on the mode of delivery of your planned VBAC baby, have a think about how you want this birth to feel from your perspective. Yes, by all means plan to birth your baby vaginally – there are, after all, many benefits associated with vaginal delivery! But, don’t stop there – also plan to be empowered.
If you plan to be empowered, the fear of ‘What if I don’t get my VBAC?’ can disspate. Reducing fear ahead of a planned VBAC is actually an integral step towards VBACing! And, if you can say – I know what it feels like to be empowered, then, congratulations! This is about as close as you will possibly get to guaranteeing yourself a positive birth experience next time, which is right where we want you!
The Empowerment Ride Doesn’t Stop Here!!
The awesome thing about the VBAC journey is that it does not have to end with the birth of your baby. The things which we learn through the process of actively planning an empowered birth are, like many of the lessons of motherhood, transferable and applicable to many aspects of ‘Life After VBAC’. Empowerment during birth is the same as empowerment in life – once you’ve discovered your portable power, you can use it to make good decisions about anything.