When I got pregnant with my first child I was 17 going on 18. The discussion about birth revolved around labor and delivery; there was never any discussion about c-sections. Fast forward to a pretty traumatic labor and finally being told in the midst of pitocin induced contractions: “we have to do an emergency c-section.”
I don’t know that I actually knew what a c-section was and in the middle of excruciating pain I don’t think I cared. I just wanted the baby out of me at that point. There was no time to weigh my options or consider the recovery physically let alone mentally and emotionally.
The onslaught of mixed emotions came on maybe a week after giving birth. I was ill and had an infection and was having to return to the hospital and all I could think about was how I had failed at giving birth vaginally.
For months I felt as if I was inadequate, that something about me was broken and that this was some punishment from the universe. I was 18 after all, I wasn’t necessarily mature enough or developed enough to handle the emotional and mental aspects of any birth let alone a c- section.
In time, that inadequate feeling dissipated and before I knew it I had put it behind me. That is until 5 years later I was scheduled for c-section. The discussion about VBAC (vaginal birth after c-section) came up with my obgyn; but after reviewing my medical records she decided c-section was the safer route.
And once I had my beautiful baby boy in my arms, free of any trauma from labor; in that instant I knew I had made the right choice. And the same feeling was had 8 years after that when I gave birth to my last baby.
There’s a whole narrative that was began by overly zealous mothers who believe that c-sections are the “easy way out” because you didn’t have to push. The women who started this foolishness are stupid.
While a c-section may protect you from certain health risks; it still exposes you to a significant amount of complications. You’re literally being gutted, having your organs shifted around and having a baby pulled out of a very small incision. Do you know what that pain is like once those good drugs wear off? The pain you have to endure to take your first urine, bowel movement and first walk? Your first cough or sneeze?
The idea that any of us would volunteer for any of that in the hopes of it being “the easy way out” is simply ridiculous. Now, elective c-sections are a thing in some states and some women opt in for various reasons; but I’m not those women and their choice of birth is none of my business.
Motherhood is challenging enough without the sanctimonious rhetoric of moms who feel the need to elevate themselves over other women. If you are a mommy and you’re facing the choice of having a vaginal birth or c-section; the most important thing to remember when making that decision is the health of you and the health of your baby.
With so much infertility and loss some moms experience; every birth deserves to be celebrated no matter how it happens.
The bigger picture is clearly what matters here.