There has been much twittering on twitter as of late around the stigma attached to c sections and the psychological impact a c section can have on some new mums. Why this is even an issue, I am not sure but is it a result of lack of briefing by antenatal class teachers, or is it that innate competitiveness we all have that can surface hypercharge in the world of motherhood.
For me, having had three c sections was not a choice of how it would look, or how I would feel in terms of a successful giver of birth, it was a matter of saving my first born’s life, and mine and being grateful we didn’t both become a sad statistic. The second was an non life threatening emergency, though it was classified as an emergency purely because I had gone into labour before my elective date and once again wasn’t dilating-much to the dismay of one of the midwives implying it was my fault somehow. Yes, it is me, I am not visualising 10cm enough, I didn’t will myself enough so I could have a section. He was not of a woman born weighing a whomping 9lbs 14oz at 37 weeks-bless him for coming early. After all the tutting that I was experience pain when I shouldn’t be as I ‘wasn’t in labour due to lack of dilation’ I was told he would most likely not have come out natural. Huh I though smugly but was limited to expressive dancing as was numb from neck down and vomiting at the same time. Both from anesthetic. My third was an elective, I made it to 38 wk+3 -I was more than happy with this as I was frightened of a uterine scar rupture though deemed rare, we had been that unfortunate rare statistic in 2006 when out 2 baby was born sleeping as a result of a large cystic hygroma and fetal hydrops. So, 1-2,000 or 1-4 to me where very close statistically speaking in my colourful emotional world that is my brain.
I embrace medical evolution and feel I am a lucky woman to live in a part of the world where mother and baby have access to life saving medical experts. I never quite understood the VBAC brigade(vaginal birth after caesarean) though I don’t’ want to disrespect them in the way I don’t’ like being viewed as a failure for failing to dilate. Maybe it is the negative terms obstetrics use ‘failure to progress, incompetent cervix, they make you feel really like a worthless labouring mother and that it is somehow your fault. Back to VBAC, if I was less stressed, less anxious and hadn’t lost a baby in the past then maybe I would have embraced VBAC more. Having said that I feel at peace with having had MacBeth style delivery yet there is a longing curiosity to experience giving birth on the M road rather than opting for the A rd. To push, have midwives cheering you on, then having your baby placed on you and everyone saying well done you are a mum. Then, being able to eat and move after. Though in reality, I know may mums felt dazed overwhelmed and a bit gooey after. And of course, many women experience terrible deliveries and would have gladly had a c-section had they know.
So why do other women judge how our babies were born? Isn’t it a case of seeing the healthy baby that is all that matters? I have lovely friends who accept all our babies were delivered differently and all that matters is that we all have our babies then kids to play with one another. There are some women though who feel the need to drone on about how hard their labour was, how they didn’t’ have any pain relief and the ante is up as I replay my birthing experience. If my 2nd was 9lbs 14 then hers was 10lbs 14 delivered in a park with only bark to chew on for pain relief. That is your choice great, but not for me and I don’t’ want to compete with other mums to see who will win the title ‘My labour was the most selfless, natural best birth but most painful ever therefore I am a better mum than you.’ I think if you can labour and not feel you need pain relief and deliver at home naturally or in the midwife lead unit then I do feel slightly jealous but some of us couldn’t choose that if we wanted to. If you’ re in a lot of pain but feel pressure not to have pain relief this is tragic as no women should feel she will be less of a mum if she opts for pain relief. You wouldn’t ask to have a tooth extracted without pain relief so be gentle on yourself.
Kirstie Allsopp had been tweeting about how many women felt they were not prepared for a c section as the procedure was taboo at some NCT and NHS antenatal classes. Some mums were shunned following the deliveries if they had had a c section. Others were given loads of information on both c sections and v…v… I hate that word so will say the 1st choice of route. Whatever the motivation for the lack of information it is unacceptable and all forms of delivery should be embraced. Like I said before, I feel fortunate to have been in a place that enabled me to have a life saving operation to get my little baby girl out safely but did wonder after it I was entitled to using the term give birth. Did I give birth if I didn’t get to shout the maternity wing down screaming and cursing my husband? But yes, I did give birth-exit wounds were different but I did give birth. Some feel that it is isn’t natural to have a baby in an operating theatre or that women in 3rd world countries deliver in the bushes all the time. This is a weak argument. Many women in 3rd world countries die or their babies die because of a lack of access to advanced fetal care and would give anything to be able to have a clean, delivery room and the choice of pain relief or the option of a c-section if labour gets dangerous. It isn’t’ natural, but nature goofs up sometimes and nature isn’t always right . Natural disasters are nature but devastating.
There is a Facebook group who are so venomously opposed to c sections they have nothing better to do than post acidic tales about sections and how Drs are so knife happy. One even posted a picture of a mangled up apple with the seeds out that read ‘at least the baby was bon safe’ well yes, this is true. Luckily my scar looks very neat and almost like a little, well big smile. If my tummy had been left with hideous scars, I wouldn’t care,(slightly irked). What I care about is hearing a baby cry upon arrival. My tummy looks like a train wreck anyway with its unrelenting saggy spare tyre and wrinkle dog expression. Yes, I have to admit, it doesn’t thrill me and yes I do wish I could be one of those women who have a flat postnatal tummy but I am not and if I didn’t feel self conscious about my tummy it would be something else. However the saggy tummy issue is unrelated to the c sections; it is due to macrocosmic babies and polyhydramios.
So, to conclude, all parents should be briefed(and big briefs they will be if pg)on c sections and all delivery routes. No women should ever judge how another woman has delivered her baby-it is right for her and her choice or rather medical necessity. At the end of the day we are mothers and there isn’t an award for best mother in a delivery role nor will your baby be more privilege or have access to better schools based on his/her delivery. It is about baby and mother safety Hug your baby(ies) and accept that we all have different bodies therefore no 2 deliveries are the same. Let the c sections be and let the mums who progress nicely be.