Pregnancy & Birth

There’s no such thing as a “failed VBAC” ~ A letter to the CBAC mom

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This post is part of a blog series, 31 Days of Preparing for VBAC: my story of purposeful pregnancy, beautiful trial of labor after cesarean, and the healing repeat cesarean birth of my second child. To view all of the posts in this series, check out the landing page. To receive all posts in the series by email, subscribe here.

Dear CBAC Mom:

I just want you to know that I get you.

For nine months you carried your baby within you. And for nine months – maybe even longer – you dreamed about pushing that baby out of your body with your own strength.

You planned. You prepared. You hired a doula. You probably spent hours reading books and websites, making sure you were making the right choice for you and your baby.

You exercised. Maybe you changed your diet.

Maybe you had to fight. Maybe you had to drive a long way for your appointments and birth. Maybe you had to explain your choices to the naysayers.

You prayed.

At one point or another, you were probably afraid.

You wondered if you could do it. You wanted to believe you could. 

You wanted to believe that this birth would be different.

But for some reason, it didn’t happen.

Your breech or transverse baby didn’t turn. The cord prolapsed. You got chorioamnionitis. Your baby went into distress. Your placenta didn’t move. Your body didn’t dilate – again. Your baby was too big, or maybe stopped growing. Your blood pressure went up. Your uterus ruptured. You pushed and pushed and that baby still. just. wouldn’t. come. out.

A call was made, and you said, “Yes…cut me open.”

I hope that your beautiful baby is safe in your arms.

I hope that you realize how brave you are. You made a choice to try something that very few will try to do.

But when it came to the safety of your baby, you made the best choice:

You said, “I choose you!”

And that makes you a success.

you made that 2

I hope you know by now – I hope all of your children have taught you this:

Moms have to make hard calls. Sometimes, you have to make choices that others will judge and scorn as less than best because they are the best choices for you and your baby. Making those choices is just part of being a parent.

It’s okay to be disappointed. It’s okay to say, “This is not what I wanted.” It’s okay to grieve and cry.

But there’s no such thing as a “failed VBAC.” Because you cannot fail at birth. You cannot fail at bringing a child into the world.

Look into that baby’s beautiful face. You made that! You did that!

you made that

You are brave. Strong. Competent.

You are scarred, but you are not broken.

There's no such thing as a "failed VBAC" ~ A letter to the CBAC mom It's okay to be disappointed. It's okay to say, "This is not what I wanted." It's okay to grieve and cry. But there's no such thing as a "failed VBAC." Because you cannot fail at birth. You cannot fail at bringing a child into the world. #tolac #birth #childbirth #vbac #rcs #naturalbirth
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  • Marika

    Thank your for this article (and for all your articles). I love your blog! I’m an italian blogger and an activiste mother in preserving human right in childbirth! I would also ask your authorisation to translate this article in italian (obviously quoting the original author and source and sending you the link). Could it be possible?
    Thank you so much.


    Marika Novaresio

  • Debby

    Hi Aprille! I’m a HypnoBirthing practitioner in Canada. I’m gathering positive birth stories for a book I’m writing. I’m especially looking for cesarean births. Moms facing a surgical birth need to know it can still be a wonderful experience. If you’d like to share yours, I’d love to connect with you. Thank you!
    Debby Spitzig

    • Aprille

      Hi Debby. I got this and your email. I’m still working through some emotions and thoughts surrounding Little Brother’s birth and would prefer for the story to remain here on my blog. Thank you for thinking of me, though, and feel free to share his birth story and the posts from this series on social media or with other moms you know.

  • Sarah

    I needed to hear this. So much. I’ve spent all day today replaying my “failed” VBAC in my head. It has already been two months since my second baby was born by Cesarean and I have so much emotional aftermath to deal with. I thought I was getting better but by now no one around me wants to hear or talk about it anymore so all my thoughts and feelings surrounding the birth are just stuck torturing me, and I haven’t found anyone who ‘gets’ what I’ve been through. It’s nice to read this and know that someone out there understands, and has been through the same thing.

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