C-Section Awareness Month
April is C-section awareness month, so let’s talk C-sections. I had an unplanned cesarean with my son in February 2018.
There is too much shame and stigma attached to C-sections in our society and I hope to help break that. We should be proud of our bodies no matter which way we brought our babies into the world.
Belly birth is birth.
If you knew me while I was pregnant you know that I loved it, I was truly in my element. I felt great, felt beautiful, loved what my body was doing, loved feeling the life inside me, and was in awe of the power of women.
I was actually excited for labor (crazy, right?); I couldn’t wait to experience it and I couldn’t wait to experience a vaginal delivery. I watched birthing videos, took tons of classes, strengthened my body to prepare for birth, visualized my birthing experience, you name it I did it for the sake of preparation.
On average, 30% of births are C-sections in the US. I would love to see that number go down but my perspective is also forever changed and I am so grateful they exist.
Don’t get me wrong, I knew the stats on C-sections (approx. 30% of births in the US are C’s), and it was written into my birth plan (or “birth preferences” as I like to call it) as a decision we’d make if it became medically necessary. But, if you had asked me while I was pregnant it was the farthest thing from my mind. I focused on staying positive and preparing to give my child an easy welcome into this world.
SIDE NOTE: I feel so naive when I think back to my pre-C-section thoughts about C-sections. Previously, I had thought the majority of C-sections that happen in our country are not medically necessary (and I do still think a portion of them aren’t) however, my perspective is changed forever after my experience. I am so grateful I had an amazing team of doctors, nurses, my doula, and husband to aid in our decision, and I know many, many women are not that lucky. But after going through what I went through, I no longer think the majority are unnecessary, or that the mothers are having sections against their wills. I think most (note, I say most, not all) doctors today are making the best calls they possibly can to keep mom and baby safe and healthy, and for that I am grateful.
Luca had other plans…
After 36 hours of labor, little progression and his heart rate plummeting, the C-section became medically necessary for us (read Luca’s full birth story HERE).
At first, this was extremely hard to accept. Feelings of defeat, guilt, failure, frustration, jealousy, regret, you name it, consumed my first few days of motherhood. I didn’t have those initial elated moments of connection, it took me weeks to bond with my son. That guilt specifically has been one of the hardest things for me to overcome.
What was wrong with me? How could I not be immediately enamored with him? Where was that instant unconditional love??
Throw those emotions on top of being in intense physical pain (I could barely move), and I could have really gone down a deep, dark hole. I was a mess, and for those first days, I was in a very dark place. I was jealous of mothers who had the experience I longed for and was so disappointed in my body.
I am not telling you this so you can feel sympathetic, and I’m not telling this to scare you. On the contrary, I want to talk about my experience as a positive one.
A ‘not ideal” experience that I was able to turn around for the better and become SO thankful for and empowered by. My hope is that if it happens to you, you too can eventually feel the same positive feelings about your experience.
Here’s what helped me get through it…
We survived. I can’t even think about what could have happened had we not been in a time and place where C-sections exist. And I know that not all birth stories have a happy ending so again, I am deeply humbled and grateful that we were both ok.
It Was Out of My Hands
Finally understanding and accepting that I could not control every last part of my birthing experience really helped me get through the negative emotions and shame. This was meant to be, it was always the way Luca was going to enter this world and ultimately, it was in God’s hands. There is a certain peace in letting go, that’s just what I did.
I Mourned the Birth I Had Envisioned
Just like any ending or any death, I mourned the birth I thought I would have. I made my peace with it and I moved on, there was no use in clinging to that vision when the entire experience was out of my control.
I Listened to Other Women’s Positive C-Section Birth Stories
This is something I should have done during pregnancy when I was only watching/listening to vaginal births. I just wish I had known more about what to expect instead of being thrown in there cold turkey. C-Section birth prep should be just as much a part of vaginal birth prep classes. A few friends of mine did not prepare at all, and of course to each their own, but for me, the more I knew the more prepared and confident I felt.
I FORGAVE myself.
I forgave myself for feeling all the feelings and that led me to a place of acceptance and ultimately pride and empowerment. I am a badass freaking warrior woman – not because I had a C-section – but because I GAVE BIRTH. Created and brought new life into this world, my pride and joy to this day. Having a C-section makes you no less of a mother, it does not define you, it does not define your subsequent births, oh, and it’s definitely NOT THE EASY WAY OUT (to the person who said that to me🙄).
I Accepted Our Story
Finally, I got to that place of acceptance. I accepted that this was my destiny, that this was always the way Luca was going to be brought into this world. He was wrapped up so tightly in the umbilical cord, “tangled” as the doctor said. And it kills me to think that he was in pain during our labor, but I find peace in knowing the C-section saved both of our lives.
This is my story, this is Luca’s story, and I’m damn proud of it.
I’ve said it once, I’ll say it a million times: I am thankful for my cesarean and PROUD of my body. You should be too, no matter how you gave birth!!
Find your peace in the acceptance and know that you are a damn rockstar mama.
If you are recovering from a C-section, check out these posts below for tips on recovery!