Was My Cesarean Necessary?

For some women, the question of whether or not their cesarean was necessary never crosses their minds.  In fact, I’ve even heard some women say they wished they had signed up to have a c-section from the very beginning.

I was not one of those women.

Was My Cesarean Necessary?  A mother 9 with 3 cesarean births under her belt explores this question and the emotions that go along with it. | RaisingArrows.net

If you’ve ever read my Birthing Journey, you know my first child was born via c-section.  You also know I firmly believe he should not have been.  You also know it took me 8 years and 3 VBACs to heal from a 6″ scar.

Was My Cesarean Necessary?  A mom of 9 with 3 c-sections under her belt explores this question and emotions that come from having a c-section. | RaisingArrows.net

When I would tell people that having a c-section was bothering me, most would say, “At least he’s healthy.”  I wanted to scream.  He may have been healthy, but I was not.  I couldn’t get past the fact that I felt broken.  I felt like a failure.  I felt cheated.

The question of cesarean necessity is a complicated one, and it runs MUCH deeper than medical diagnoses.

Very few women go into birth wanting a cesarean, especially in my circle of granola mom friends.  The more natural the birth, the better.  Some are even viciously militant about the way they give birth, which only adds to the struggles a mom who ends up with a c-section feels.  So, my first plea would be to avoid judging anyone based on how they gave birth.  Not every c-section mom is “too posh to push.”  And if you are the c-section mom, understand that you didn’t “cop out” just because you had a cesarean.

If you are a mom struggling with the question of how necessary your c-section was, let me encourage you to redirect that question away from where you were to where you are now.

The question of whether or not my c-section was necessary had consumed me.  I was angry not only about the surgery itself, but also about what this meant for future births.  I was worried what people might think when they found out my very first birth was a c-section.  I worried my home-birthing friends would scoff at me.  I was worried I had lost credibility as a mom.  And the longer I dwelt on the past, the less hope I had for the future, and the more fear I felt concerning that future.

But, I didn’t need to “just get over it.”  What I truly needed was to put the past in it’s proper place…as part of my story.

Was My Cesarean Necessary?  A mom of 9 with 3 c-sections under her belt discusses this topic and the emotions surrounding it. | RaisingArrows.net

When you begin to see your c-section as part of your story, you begin to see how you can use that story to help others and shape a future that accepts its past.  In fact, true healing came in the form of a La Leche League leader telling me to choose to have the best birth *I* could have when I was pregnant with my 3rd child.  She knew what it was like to be disappointed in a birthing experience, but she also knew what it was like to move forward, making choices only she could make.  She chose to use her story, to help me.  And I choose to use my story, including the part she played, to help others.  I learned that my expectations and my reality did not have to be at war with each other.

Several years ago, I wrote a post about birthing expectations on a friend’s blog.  In it I wrote these words:

“I was not a product of my birthing experiences, nor a martyr to my birthing expectations.  I could make a birth plan, I could desire an unmedicated vaginal birth, but that did not mean a different sort of birth was a failure and made me ‘less than.'” 

Following my first c-section, I chose to change OBs and find one who was VBAC-friendly.  I went on to have 4 successful VBACs.  (You can read about those births HERE.)  In 2009, I had a 2nd c-section. I made the choice to try for a VBA2C and worked hard to find a doctor who would support me in that.  (You can read about my first VBA2C HERE and my second one HERE.)  Now that I have had a third c-section, I know I will no longer VBAC.  That too is part of my story.

I made the choice to be fully accepting of the cesareans in each case and fully accepting of the future beyond those cesareans.  I purposely did things to enjoy my pregnancies and ease the expectations I used to feel were so much a part of the experience.  I told myself each moment was another part of my story, and I would make the best choices I could.

If you have had a c-section that you feel may not have been necessary – or even one you know was necessary – and you are struggling with difficult feelings, you may have to face disapproval or guilt or drastic changes to your birthing future, but remember these things are a part of YOUR story, not someone else’s story.  How you birth doesn’t prove what kind of woman you are, it doesn’t give you super mom status, and it won’t get you to Heaven.

How you birth is YOUR moment, but, I can almost guarantee you, God will place someone in your life who needs to hear what you have to share.  It’s part of that Titus 2 mandate for older women (or women further along in this journey)…teach them to LOVE THEIR CHILDREN.  Part of loving your children is loving the moment they were born…that moment when

YOUR story became THEIRS.

Was My Cesarean Necessary?  A mom with 9 with 3 c-sections under her belt discusses this topic and the emotions surrounding it. | RaisingArrows.net

The Relaxing Room – How to find your space in a busy household

A few weeks ago, I was able to connect with an old friend who is a fellow homeschool mom as well as a pastor’s wife.  She was telling me how she has a parlor room in her home that she keeps free from toys and clutter that allows her a place to sit with a cup of tea and relax.

The concept of having a place you can go to relax may sound like a luxury you cannot afford.  Perhaps you feel your home is too small or your time too limited to allow for space to relax.  But, please, lend me your ear for just a moment…

The Relaxing Room - how to find your space in a busy household | RaisingArrows.net

In other cultures and in days gone by in our own, people took time throughout their day to breathe.  Some countries take long lunches.  Some countries take tea.  Some countries even take naps!  However, in America, busyness seems to be a badge of honor.  Now, don’t get me wrong…we are to be busy at home (Titus 2:5), but taking a moment to drink a little tea or coffee, read a chapter in a book, sit and hold a small child, open a window and breathe fresh air are not marks of laziness.  They are marks of thankfulness.

The Bible tells us to be still.  When we are still, we are able to know God more because we take the time to see His handiwork in the trees and clouds, the shadows and light, fresh air, and our children’s faces.  We are more in tune with the blessings we have been given, and therefore, live a life of thankfulness.

But, what if you can’t dedicate an entire room to relaxing?  No problem!  You can find this kind of space other ways.

The Relaxing Room - how to find your space in a busy household | RaisingArrows.net

The chair above is a hideous orange chair my mother-in-law picked up at a thrift store for me years ago.  It is the THE MOST COMFORTABLE CHAIR IN THE WORLD!  But, it’s orange!  So orange I don’t allow it out in public!  It sits in my bedroom with an end table beside it.  It is a place I can go to nurse when baby needs quiet (or mama needs quiet).  It is a place I can sit while I talk to my husband as he gets ready for work.  It is a place I can go to have a heart-to-heart discussion with one of the children.  It is my relaxing room.

I have a set of red-cushioned patio furniture I purchased a few years ago.  Sometimes my relaxing room is there.  I can sit in the sunlight and watch the children play.  I can read a book or work on my computer in the fresh air.  Sometimes I just go there and sit and do nothing but breathe.

Sometimes my relaxing room is a 15 passenger van with the windows rolled down and music on the radio.  It is the place I find margin in my day.  It is the place I praise the Lord for giving me all the little people in my rear view mirror.

Your relaxing room might be a tiny corner of the living room where you keep a rocking chair and your Bible.  It might be a garden with stepping stones made by your children or a front porch full of plants and flowers.  Wherever it is, it is a place you can go to be thankful.  It is a place you can go to find just a tiny moment of retreat…enough to renew and refocus.

Not sure how to find a relaxing room of your own?  Here are some ideas to get you started…

1.  Choose a place you can keep fairly clear of clutter.  I know in a busy household this can be next to impossible, but if you purpose to have one little space that doesn’t get overrun throughout the day, it really isn’t that hard to keep it clear.  Yes, you will have to be diligent about removing items from the area that don’t belong, but trust me, it’s doable.

2.  Put something there that makes you smile – your favorite quilt, a plaque with a Bible verse, a pretty notepad and pen, even just a nice coaster to set your coffee on!  It doesn’t have to be elaborate.

3.  Teach your children to respect the space.  They should know they are welcome there, but they should also respect the fact that the space is for relaxing and not for horsing around or cluttering up.  Granted, children are children and a stray army man or doll isn’t the end of the world.  I’d also encourage you to allow the children to use the relaxing room for their own breathers if need be…or even help them set up a space of their own!

4.  Find a few moments every day to go there and just breathe.  Even if your relaxing room is just a couple of steps outside your back door on a rectangle of concrete, go there every so often and breathe deep.  Thank the Lord for this day.  Thank the Lord for this moment.  Take a sip of tea and head back to your regularly scheduled life a little more relaxed!

The Shape I’m In

I’m 4 weeks postpartum.  I gained more weight this pregnancy than I ever have.  I am down over 30 pounds, but when you’ve gained 60, that feels like a drop in the bucket.  I’m actually below my pre-pregnancy weight from my last baby, but I had high hopes this time I would get a lot of the weight off quickly.

But, if I was being honest with myself and all of you, I would have to say that I always feel this way about this time postpartum.

When Your Postpartum Shape is Discouraging | RaisingArrows.net

I start thinking I need a whole new wardrobe because I have nothing to wear; or better yet, I need to drop 30 pounds overnight so I can wear all my old clothes.  Then I think maybe some new makeup or a brand new hairdo would make me feel better.  I start reading diet books, cut my hair way too short, buy a bunch of clothes I really don’t like (because I don’t want to spend money on clothes that won’t fit me after I’ve slimmed down), and cry myself a river every time I have to leave the house because I’m just not satisfied with anything.

But guess what…

No diet book, new wardrobe, or new hairdo will fix what I’m feeling.

It’s a little bit of head, a little bit of heart, and a whole lot of hormones telling me that the shape I’m in is something to cry over.

Now, I can tell myself a million times over that it took 9 months to get this way, so why in the world would I think a few weeks would be sufficient to get back to the way I looked before, but I’m one of those people who needs more than some overused adage to feel better.  I’m a practical, give-me-something-I-can-hang-onto kind of person.

Here is what I’ve finally learned that is worth hanging on to…

Learn to see weight loss (especially postpartum weight loss) as a journey | RaisingArrows.net

For years, I saw a healthy weight as an end point.  I would journey until I got there and then forget the journey and do something else.  And during those years when I couldn’t seem to reach the end point, I begrudged every step on the path because I never seemed to be getting anywhere.  That was because I wanted the journey to end.  I didn’t want to be on this diet-focused path forever.

I also saw pregnancy as a time to completely turn tail and run head long into my obsession with food.  When you consider I’ve been pregnant 13 times and birthed 9 full-term babies, some of those with barely a year between, you can imagine how discouraged I became after every baby, wondering if I would ever reach my goal, my end point.

It’s taking me some time to wrap my brain around HEALTHY being a way of life, but now that my husband and my son have maintained their weight losses for over a year, I have a better grasp of what healthy looks like in the long term sense of the word.

Reaching a healthy weight is sort of like birthing a baby.  There is a long journey to get to the place where you hold that precious little one in your arms, but the journey doesn’t end there.  You keep taking steps on down the path of motherhood.

I won’t be at my pre-pregnancy weight by my 6 week checkup, but that’s because I started a lot lower than most of my other pregnancies.  I know I have a lot to learn, and I’m going to need a lot of determination and motivation to stay focused and make this journey part of my life and not just something I do for a little while.

The shape I’m in isn’t something to be discouraged by because it’s just part of my journey.  It’s the place I am now.  I am choosing to be a fit mama even when the shape I’m in feels far from it because I am choosing to live healthy!

When Baby Isn’t the Gender You Had Hoped For

What do you do when baby doesn't turn out to be the gender you had hoped for?  A candid discussion with Amy @ RaisingArrows.netPerhaps you’ve had your hopes and dreams set on having a little girl, but God hasn’t given you one.  Or maybe He’s given you girls, followed by a string of boys.  Or maybe it’s the other way around and you’ve only had girls and really would like the joy of raising a little rough and tumble boy to carry on the family name.

And you feel guilty.

You know you should feel blessed by the gender God has given you, but you can’t help but feel disappointed when it doesn’t turn out the way you had hoped.  Sure you love those babies with all your heart, but deep in your heart you wonder if you’ll ever get your wish.

I know this because I’ve lived it.

My story probably isn’t the same as yours, but I know what it feels like to wish baby was the opposite gender.  I know what the longing feels like.  I know what the guilty disappointment feels like.

When Emily passed away in 2008, I desperately wanted another girl.  Not that I wanted to replace her, but because I wanted to regain a little of what I had lost.  Instead, I had a blond haired boy on New Year’s Day of 2009 whom we named Micah.

When Baby isn't the Gender You Had Hoped For | RaisingArrows.net

I remember my OB saying she felt it was probably best I did have a boy following Emily’s death, and I quickly came to the place where I agreed with her.  He was a delight, and I was not sorry he was a boy for long.

When Micah turned 1, I found out I was pregnant again.  This became a pivotal point for me.  In my mind, I had “done my time.”  I had birthed a boy child following my daughter’s death, and I “deserved” a girl.  I became very wrapped up in wanting a girl.  In fact, going into the sonogram, I was nearly sick to my stomach with anxiety.  Because we never let the sonographer tell us what we are having, but we always look for ourselves, it leaves a shadow of a doubt we carry with us into the delivery room.  However, looking at the sonogram that day, I was pretty sure I saw a boy.

And I cried.

All the way home.

And many days after that.

I compared sonogram photos of my other babies, hoping to be wrong.  Hoping the little one I was carrying was not another boy.

But, he was…

When Baby isn't the Gender You Had Hoped For | RaisingArrows.net

Little Garin had colic and I had postpartum depression – both of these were firsts for our family.  However, as Garin grew, and both the colic and PPD subsided, I began to see what an amazing gift the Lord had given me in this child.  Garin was and is an absolute joy to raise.  I realized I had squandered a lot of time wishing for him to be something other than what he was.  I had not been enjoying my little boys because I was too busy wishing for another little girl.

When Baby isn't the Gender You Had Hoped For | RaisingArrows.nerWhen I became pregnant with our next child, I vowed NOT to waste time wishing for a girl.  I threw myself into preparing for a new baby no matter the gender.  We came up with a boy name we loved.  I decorated in blues and yellows.  And I began to ENJOY the boys God had given me.

Including the little boy named Creed born January 2013.

When Baby isn't the Gender You Had Hoped For | RaisingArrows.netHe was my third boy in a row, and I was thrilled!

I now have 5 boys.  They are rowdy and rambunctious, but wholeheartedly devoted to their mama.  In fact, I’ve come to a place where I’ve wondered if this baby is a girl, do I even remember how to be a baby girl mama again?  It’s been 7 years since I had a little girl, and with Emily gone, my next girl in age is 10.  My girls are at a very different stage in life than my little boys.  My house is no longer filled with girly toys, but rather Legos and cars.  Wrestling is a daily occurrence, and the words, “Don’t hurt your brother,” are said multiple times a day.  This zoo of boys is my norm.  In fact, the 4 youngest boys have taken on the collective term “little boys.”  As in, “My little boys are all wearing red,” or, “Little boys, come here!”

Do I still wish for a girl?  I don’t know if WISH is the right word.  I would love to have the chance to raise another girl.  Yet, I know in my heart it would be scary because of my circumstances – having had my last little girl pass away at the age of 7 months.

Do I feel I NEED another little girl.  No, not anymore.  I have learned to celebrate each precious life – boy or girl.

But, it wasn’t easy.  It was a God thing.

When Baby isn't the Gender You Had Hoped For | RaisingArrows.net

I would like to offer you some suggestions on how to learn to celebrate each baby no matter the gender because I’m a practical person who likes to have tangible ways to help me work through difficult circumstances.  These are not meant to be “band-aid” solutions or ways to just “get by.”  These are ways to start training your brain to see your babies as blessings and gifts from God in exactly the gender package God intended.

*Enjoy the children you have.  One thing I wasn’t truly doing was enjoying my little guys.  I was looking toward the next pregnancy as the one that would bring me another chance at a girl.  This is not how God intends for you to parent.  Enjoy the babies you have!  Find good things about having a string of boys (or girls)!  Revel in the fact that these little ones were given to you and learn to cherish that!

*If you find out gender ahead of time, take that knowledge and make it special.  Buy or make something special just for that baby.  Celebrate – and I don’t necessarily mean a “Reveal Party” because that could backfire on you if well-meaning friends and family are disappointed and say so.  Take time to enjoy your pregnancy and prepare for the new baby in a special way.  Come up with a name you love.  Take time to ponder who the new baby will look like.  Thank the Lord for this new life and the privilege to carry this child.

*Don’t let others feel sorry for you.  Even if you are feeling sorry for you, don’t allow others to do the same as that will only perpetuate your feelings of disappointment.  You can be honest with those you love, but if you are going to learn to be content, you have to learn to be outwardly blessed by the gender of children the Lord has given you.  You don’t have to quote Scripture to exude thankfulness.  You need only to offer a smile and an appreciation for the children you have.

*Make having a lot of one gender special.  This is where it gets fun!  Dress them alike.  Plan parties and outings and homeschool projects that cater to their gender.  Be a boy or girl mom full force!

*Be joyful and count your blessings – but give yourself grace.  Once upon a time, I had more girls than boys.  In the blink of an eye, that changed.  Of all people, I should have been thankful.  I should have counted my blessings.  But, in my humanness, I wanted what I did not have.  Learning to see my boys as something other than stepping stones on my way to the girl I felt I deserved took time, humility, and an entire change of heart.  I needed grace to get past the guilt and disappointment.


Do you have a story to share about your own disappointment?  Perhaps you have an encouraging word for mamas traveling this same road.  Please, feel free to share your thoughts and comments below so that others may be encouraged and blessed!

L€™Bri Aloe Vera Skincare Giveaway

Last year, I introduced you to my aloe vera based skincare routine from L’BRI.  My skin has been in much better shape since using it, so today, I wanted to introduce you to another product from L’BRI you might be interested in – the Facial Masque.

Facial Masque

When Caroline, my L’BRI distributor, told me this was one of her favorite products, I definitely wanted to see for myself.

By the way, here’s a video she did on the Facial Masque —>

The bottle has a black lid you pull up on and then you squeeze a bit into your hand (you only need a little, so this bottle will last you a really long time!) and rub it all over your face.  I like to put it on after a shower because you definitely want to have your bangs pulled back out of the way.

Facial Masque on

Now, here’s the really fun part – this masque dries so tight you won’t be able to move your face!  (My kids think it is hilarious!)  However, it’s not a dry itchy feeling like you get with many clay-based masks.  The first ingredient is aloe extract, so you get a very different experience.  You actually feel your skin being nourished.  This is a product you can use about once a week to really tighten and firm your skin.  It has been a fabulous addition to my L’BRI skin care routine – thanks Caroline for introducing me to it!

Would you like to try a bottle for yourself?

This week, Caroline is giving away
a bottle of the Facial Masque and a bottle of Facial Cleanser

Facial MasqueL'BRI Facial Cleanser

All you have to do to enter to win is follow the instructions in the giveaway widget below!

But first, a few quick things I need to mention€¦
L€™BRI products are made in the U.S.A. and they do not ship outside the United States.  All orders over $60 have FREE shipping.  You can also become a consultant for L€™BRI yourself!  Go HERE to learn more.

L'BRI Aloe Vera Skincare Giveaway! | RaisingArrows.net

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How I Became the Perfect Everything

How I became the perfect everything (because no method in the world is going to get it right) | RaisingArrows.netNot too long ago, I began to have the distinct feeling that I was wasting time. Every conference I went to, every conversation I had, every song I listened to, every Bible passage I read seemed to point me to the fact that I was seriously wasting time.

I didn’t mean to do it. In fact, I wasn’t even aware of it. But, when the same words continued to be spoken into my life, I knew I needed to take a hard look at what those words were saying.

The specific words weren’t, “You are wasting time, Amy.”  They were things like:

“You don’t need to be Jesus to your kids. You need them to need Jesus.” ~Angie Smith

“I realized it had to be Jesus + Nothing.” ~Kendra Fletcher

“but just as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, so we speak, not to please man, but to please God who tests our hearts.”
1 Thessalonians 2:4

“You gave me life worth dying for, but between the altar and the door, I bought the lies that promised more; All my deeds and my good name are just dirty rags that tear and strain to cover all my guilty stains that You already washed away.”
All You’ve Ever Wanted by Casting Crowns

To you, those words may not sound anything like, “You are wasting time.” But to me, that is exactly what they were saying. They were telling me that I have been focused for far too long on the details, always missing the big picture. They were telling me that in the process of managing a household, homeschooling a ton of kids, being a wife, and writing a blog I wasn’t allowing myself to be raw in front of anyone, so no one could see (including myself) that I needed Christ. These words were telling me that I was working and working and working for something that had already been taken care of.

It was almost as if I was on a hamster wheel – wasting time going in circles. Over and over again, I was rolling through the same stuff, working myself into a frenzy, but never getting anywhere.

And never acknowledging that Jesus had already taken care of it all.

We read blogs, talk to friends, ask questions on Facebook trying to figure out how to be the perfect parent, perfect wife, perfect homeschooler.  We hash and rehash conversations, searching for answers that only seem to be temporary.  We live a discouraged, beaten-down life.  Yet, we weren’t called to that sort of life!  We were called to victory, we were called to abundance, we were called to joy overflowing.

Where did we go wrong?

We tried to be everything.

Let me tell you something…

I talk a good talk. My bio photo even says “an abundant life”, but I wasn’t acknowledging that abundance in life has nothing to do with how quickly I get my housework done or how calm the kids are or how well I homeschool. In fact, I bought the lie that those things really mattered to God. That my sacrifices somehow made me holy before Him.

The truth is, He can’t even see my filthy rags.

The truth is, He wants my heart, not my works.

I was wasting time trying to be everything…trying to get it all right.

Friends, if you are doing the same thing I was, I want to encourage you to lay that burden down right now.  It’s not yours.  Jesus didn’t ask you to be somebody, He asked you to be HIS.

How I Became the Perfect Everything (stop wasting time!) | RaisingArrows.netHe wants your every day, every moment.  He covers the mess ups, the gaps, the craziness.  And He gives you JOY!

What your children need is a mom totally sold out to Christ.  They need a mom who isn’t wasting time being perfect, but who perseveres through it all because she knows where her strength comes from and she knows she can’t do it without Jesus.

You know how I became the perfect everything?
I gave up.

I can’t mess this up if my heart is focused on Jesus.  I can’t mess this up if I ask the Lord with a contrite heart for daily provisions in my parenting, homeschool, and homemaking.  I can’t mess this up if I am loving Him and pouring that full heart into my children’s lives, my husband’s life, and beyond.

I’m not going to get this all right.  There is no formula or method that will make any of us the perfect parent, homeschooler, mom, wife, friend.  We are wasting time if we think there is and we go chasing after everything that tells us so.

You can be the perfect everything not because of ANYTHING YOU DO, but because JESUS ALREADY IS.  Every step you make is covered.  Just walk it with your heart mind and soul focused on Him.