Why does birth matter?
You hear it all the time. "As long as your baby is healthy, that's all that matters."
But it is not ALL that matters.
Because every birth is also a How We Met story.
It matters how we meet our babies. It also matters that mothers and babies are healthy, but getting from pregnant to postpartum alive is not every woman's ONLY goal.
We all love a good How We Met story. The story of how two people met is the basis for countless books, plays, movies, television shows, print and online articles, songs, and more. We romanticize How We Met everyone from our romantic partner to our best friend to our worst enemy.
Is it any wonder many women consider how we meet our babies to be an important event? Even those who insist that a healthy baby is "all" that matters will agree that the birth of a child is one of the most important days in a person's life. How can we insist that birth is one of the most important and memorable events in life, yet judge the way parents experience birth as unworthy of consideration?
Let's imagine we are instead meeting our child in a different way. Imagine a couple adopting a newborn baby in a faraway orphanage. The plan is to meet their baby at the orphanage director's office, which they have seen via Skype interviews with the orphanage director regularly throughout the last year. Imagine now that there has been a gas leak an hour before their appointment to meet their baby. They have traveled far for this meeting, and it cannot be rescheduled, so it is moved instead to a safer location. Now, the couple is meeting their baby for the first time in the McDonald's down the block. Yes, the parents and the baby are all healthy. Yes, plans had to change for good reasons. However, this is nothing like what they expected, what the parents have been imagining and dreaming about for months.
Maybe this change in plans doesn't phase the couple at all. But what if it does? These parents should be allowed to be upset that their plans had to be changed. Parents can be simultaneously grateful that their baby is well, and disappointed, even traumatized, by the way they had to meet one another. That first meeting is special, and when reality fails to meet our expectations, it can hurt. How many couples have you heard of that invented a How We Met story because it's embarrassing to them that they actually met online, or at a bar?
Yes, a healthy baby matters. And a healthy mother matters. And birth matters. Because birth is How We Meet our babies.