VBAC "How can anyone ever tell you, you are anything less than whole?"

Are you first a VBAC or are you first a mother like millions of other mothers? My plea is to treat VBACs as women and mothers first and as VBACs somewhere down the list. The only way to normalize VBACs is to treat VBAC women normally!

Does this mean we minimize the risks and benefits of VBAC? Of course not. The specter of an exploding uterus, ridiculously overstated though it is, is real. The benefits of giving birth naturally over repeat abdominal surgery are obvious to many. But let's not harp on this stuff. The VBAC woman is not merely a physical scar waiting to explode, nor merely an emotional scar, raw and bleeding in her heart. She is a whole and complex woman, just like you.

The physical scar: In the natural birth community it is a truism that VBAC has long been shown to have many benefits that balance out the risks or uterine rupture (less than one percent after one low transverse incision).  I will not discuss the much-discussed physical scar further.

The emotional scar: Birth is amazing and can be one of the most life-affirming and truly empowering events of a woman's life. Birth can be traumatizing. And C-Sections, particularly when a woman feels that she had no control over her body, her baby, her decisions, can be very traumatizing. Women may want to never have another baby. Or they may approach the next birth with immense anxiety. So the VBAC woman deserves, and must have, absolute respect for her body, for her baby, for her decisions. This is how a woman with the emotional scar of VBAC has to to be treated.

But ALL WOMEN HAVE TO BE TREATED THIS WAY.

Sadly, it is the situation of women to be vulnerable and many are traumatized. Whether they have a diagnosis of PTSD from a history of abuse as a child, rape by a partner or abuse by a medical system that took control of their bodies in any way during childbirth or at another time, there is one way forward: The way of respect and listening. Many of us are emotionally scarred. The only way forward is to treat all with the gentleness and attentive listening that heals and helps women to trust in their bodies and in those around them, to believe that the world which can be heartless, can also provide loving support.

So, all women, VBAC and first-time-mother, confident and anxious, you all deserve to be treated as normal, as whole, as beautiful.