My mother told me a story about her mother, my granny.
I should have had an uncle. I say ‘should’ because he was a healthy baby, but he was born at the wrong time. In the 1930’s Caesarean births were not done.
My grandfather had to make the terrible decision – to save the mother or the baby.
It is hard to imagine the horror of this situation now, it seems like something from the middle ages rather just two generations ago.
The guilt my granny suffered afterwards was terrible, because my grandfather (who was a GP) had warned her that another pregnancy would be disastrous, but she really wanted another baby. She had a condition where the cervix did not dilate properly and she had had a difficult time with her previous labours.
Unfortunately my aunty inherited the same problem, but my cousin was born by Caesarean quite safely, this was in the 1970’s.
Thankfully my own five children were all born safely. But there is a fear which lingers through the generations, a knowledge that we are not completely safe, terrible things have happened and being told that ‘everything will be fine’ when the pains start is not helpful – it is a denial of nature. The fear must be acknowleged and then overcome by the joy of birth. Childbirth is a momentous experience, we carry the memories, fears and joys of our ancestors.