A woman just gives birth. It ended with a cesarian; “failure to progress”.
She makes a Facebook status about how this wasn’t what she had expected her experience to look like. She is sad, but still in love with her new baby. Then, the comments flood in. One by one, a different variation of the phrase, “All that matters is a healthy mom and baby” fill the post.
While the health and safety of mom and baby are always the first on the list, it is not, by any means, the only thing that matters when it comes to birth.
The way a woman gives birth and perceives her experience has the power to alter her entire outlook on motherhood, life and herself in general.
We should be asking mothers more about how they feel emotionally after their birth experience, not just assuming they are okay because they and their baby are healthy.
Were they respected? Were they encouraged? Was their voice heard? Did they feel loved? Nurtured? Were there interventions they did not want, plan for and/or permit?
All these things are powerful and valid aspects about childbirth outcomes that matter.
Why? Because birth matters.
Studies now show the correlation between birth outcomes and postpartum depression. So the more satisfied a woman is with the overall experience of her birth, the less likely she is to experience PPD.
Validation is key. If you hear a woman talking about her birth experience and she is unsatisfied, or even traumatized, please remember that while health and safety of mom and baby are the most important thing about birth, it is not the only thing that matters.
Validate her. Validate her feelings and her experience.
Because birth matters.