3 Different Ways of Birthing: Rowena Cooke’s Story

TW: Miscarriage

Rowena Cooke @rowiecooke – Coburg based Postpartum Doula @andthen_postpartum  and Mother of two shares her birthing experiences with children- Sonny born Jan 2018, Rua born Oct 2020 and her angel baby born at 12.5 weeks in Nov 2019.

What does Postpartum look like?

“I’ve had three completely different birth and postpartum experiences. A really traumatic emergency c- section with my first due to foetal distress, with ZERO support afterwards.

“My second birthing experience was of our angel baby (with down-syndrome) at 12.5 weeks, which was horrific — 7 hours in an emergency room, gushing blood and enduring a very painful ‘labour’/miscarriage. Followed by a D&C under general.

“My life changing and healing third birth experience was with my youngest daughter Rua, who was born at home, VBAC, with the support of two private midwives and a doula.

The care and support I received, and the self interrogation – exploring the edges of my fears and doubts around birth and my sense of self – in preparation for this birth was fundamental for me to move into the birth and postpartum space.

“These experiences lit a burning fire in my belly about the treatment of women and birthing people and their bodies that I could not ignore.”

What does a miscarriage feel like?

“I wish I had known about the sheer physicality of having a miscarriage. It sounds silly but the emotional impact of miscarriage and loss seems to be more widely spoken about.

“I had go through labour and birth, while being swamped with grief around the loss of our baby. Everybody seems to know about the emotional burden of a miscarriage, but the physicality – the bleeding, the contractions, the sterility of a hospital emergency room, being left for hours while awaiting to be seen by overrun medical staff – was totally unexpected for me.

“Reclaiming birth as a rite of passage – the act of giving birth, of creating life, should be made a waay bigger deal out of. It’s massive, and yet we are for the most part expected to get back to our usual lives as quickly as possible, and are in fact celebrate and commended by society when we do.”

Words: @andthen_postpartum @rowiecooke
Photographer: @ilsa_whk
For more on miscarriage, see A Naturopath And Doula’s Guide to Recovery

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