Cut, Stapled and Mended: When One Woman Reclaimed Her Body and Gave Birth on Her Own Terms After Cesarean, a memoir by Roanna Rosewood, nailed some of my inner-most thoughts that, to this day, I still struggle to explain in words. It is as if the author was in my head sharing my thoughts & feelings about my own births.
This is not the typical “birth is wonderful” book often written by birth activists. Instead, it passionately explains the heartfelt emotions one goes through when giving birth by cesarean. Mainstream culture typically thinks a cesarean mother should be thrilled with joy with her new baby. But it’s not this simple for most mothers. It’s not that we don’t love our babies; we do. This contradiction can be hard to explain in words but Cut, Stapled and Mended nails it by demonstrating how a mother can be grateful for her baby AND traumatized, angry and/or sad about what happened to her.
Roanna’s first cesarean was unnecessary. The second saved her life. When she found herself pregnant a third time, Roanna contemplates scheduling another cesarean, “Could it be a ‘success,’ if I accept it now, instead of fighting for and losing a natural birth?”
Though she decides to attempt a trial of labor, this time she is not brave or confident. So she turns to a laugh-out-loud array of alternative practitioners in an attempt to find someone to “fix” her body and help her prepare for birth. In the end, Roanna does give birth on her own terms. But it’s nothing like what she expected. She writes: “I was not a strong warrior; I didn’t gently breathe my baby into the world. It wasn’t pretty. I screamed. I lunged. I whined. I glared and swore. There was nothing ladylike or dignified or composed or graceful about me.” In spite of this, Roanna’s experience leaves both her and the reader “craving to give birth again and again,” through glimpsing the raw beauty and glory of physiological birth.
Like Roanna, I also gave birth at home after 2 cesareans on my own terms. As a women & birth activist, I can really connect with the transformation that the birth journey takes us through. Women around the world will connect with the way this book puts their most inner thoughts and feelings surrounding birth, into words. I recommend this book to all women looking to give birth and exploring their birth options. It truly describes how the birth of your children can transform your life. This book shows that a cesarean section surgery is not just another way to have a baby, and that how the mother feels about her experience does matter, as the mothers of ICAN (International Cesarean Awareness Network) know all to well.