iStock.com/PHDGIf I were a DJ, I would be shouting "This one is for the c-section mommies!" And then all the moms who have had cesareans would cheer "Wooooooo!" We need that. Women who have had c-sections for reasons beyond their control need to feel the love that moms who got to have the natural birth they wanted are allowed to feel. Moms who have had c-sections need and deserve respect and love for the way they birthed. We need to honor all ways of birth, even the ones that didn't go as we planned. Because it is still the way some children are brought into our lives. Hear me out. This isn't about being pro-cesarean. This is about being pro-mom.
You see, some people seem to think there are two kinds of moms -- those who have c-sections and those who do not. This 'battle' divides us, and makes one side feel like a mother who didn't do the right thing.
I had a c-section. I didn't schedule it so I could preserve my vagina, nor did I pick the date because it was convenient. It was necessary and needed. And I really shouldn't have to explain more than that because well, do we go into detail on how there was sexy lingerie, lots of foreplay, and a glass of wine involved in the conception of your baby? No. Birth is (to some) a private and deeply emotional event in a woman's life. Being judged for having a c-section without knowing the details is ... well ... wrong. Many moms like me had to have a c-section in order to be a mother. It's as simple as that. Life or death. A choice that has to be made quickly given the circumstance. Many times the moms who had an emergency c-section or are still having a difficult time processing their birth or were made to believe they needed one despite their parental instincts are the ones who are often silent, and who are silently hurt. This love letter, this awareness I hope to instill in people, this is for you.
We are still mothers. We just had our babies through what I like to call a little kangaroo kind of pouch.
There may always be questions. Should I have trusted the doctors? Did I do all I could have? And that's okay. C-section moms bear the scar where our babies were born, and we shouldn't continue to be hurt by the insensitive words that many say without realizing that not all c-sections are frivolous choices. We love our babies just as much. Some of us are just as "crunchy" as homebirthers, we are attachment parents, we love our children and have amazing bonds with them.
Our vulnerability comes from feeling unsupported, and words hurt. I fear that some of my own articles on the topic could have even hurt women just like me, but I have always tried to choose my words carefully. I am a natural birth advocate, but am a c-section mommy. I can be both. I am proudly both. It's true that when you have pain or deep hurt because of something, sometimes anything on the topic is tough to read. You feel defensive; you feel the words are directed at you as if you did something wrong. Any woman (or man) who has been through something difficult can relate to that. And the subject of birth or how we birth is the same, perhaps even more challenging to process and work through. This is why we need even more compassion and understanding, These battles that are created -- the c-section moms versus everyone else -- should stop. Generalizing this isn't helpful for women to process they way they birthed if it didn't go according to plan.
Not everything in life goes according to plan.
One of my friends told me that her c-section was the best and worst experience of her life. And that's exactly it for me. It was the best because it enabled me to have my twins healthy after being diagnosed with HELLP syndrome, and the worst because it was frightening and not the way I wanted to birth. It took a long time, but I have come to terms with the way I birthed.
Sometimes the opposite of what we think is best ... is what is really best. Just like how this mom wanted to exclusively breastfeed but found that supplementing with formula helped save her from going into a depression and helped her baby thrive. We cannot judge unless we know the full and complete story, every angle, all the background, and I realize that's not really something we could ever completely know. I don't want the c-section rates to rise because I do want women to have the births they want to have. But I also don't want the women whose births were difficult and resulted in surgery to be made to feel like they did something wrong.
Maybe we can all be a little more kind in the words we choose, remembering those who are challenged with the very topic being discussed. Remembering that many women have guilt or sadness because they absolutely had to have a c-section. I know how hard the recovery is even a year or two after. But we deserve to find peace in the way we had our children. Our path to motherhood may not be the same, but it's our path, something we need to find the beauty in, because all moms deserve that. You deserve that.
Did your birth result in an unwanted but necessary c-section? Are you still processing and coming to terms with your birth?