I recently met up with a group of moms at a play date. We met through the library, and though we don’t know each other that well, our kids seem to hit it off, so we decided to get them together at a local park.
As our children were playing, us moms started chatting, and as can be expected when there are a bunch of moms are conversing, we started sharing our birth stories. Everyone else in the group had delivered their little joys vaginally. One had home birth, one had a natural childbirth in the hospital, and the other had an epidural and was in labor for, oh, about an hour and “only had to push twice” before meeting her little princess….
And then there was me.
I delivered both of my babies via C-section. The first one was an emergency C-section and the second was planned. When I started sharing my birth story, I automatically started to feel like I was being judged. I pushed the feeling aside, thinking I was paranoid, and continued on with the tale of woe that is my first C-section delivery. And then my feeling of being judged was proved correct when one mother blurted out: “Don’t you feel like you missed out on the whole birthing experience?”
I shot her a look and politely (yet with a definite tone in my voice,) “Um, no. I did, in fact, birth two babies. So, nope. Don’t feel like I missed out on anything.”
My point in sharing this story with you is this: Us C-section mamas had a birthing experience. Yes, it was completely different than a vaginal experience, and I bet you it was way more grueling (not that anyone is keeping tabs.) So, I wanted to take the opportunity to shed some light on certain things that C-section moms are really just sick and tired of hearing. Without further ado, please, never, EVER say the following 15 things to a woman who has had a C-section.
15 “Don’t you feel like you missed out on the whole birth experience?”
To further elaborate on the aforementioned comment made by one of the playdate moms, no!!! I definitely don’t feel like I missed out on the birth experience, and I’m pretty sure most (if not all) C-section mamas feel the same way I do.
What I really felt like saying to the woman who asked me that question was, “Do you see that little boy running around over there, playing with your son? Yep. That’s my child. I birthed him. Via a C-section.”
Of course, I held my tongue and just told her that I did actually birth a baby, just in a different way than she did.
The truth is this: While it may be a woman’s dream to deliver vaginally (I was never attached to the idea, so…,) if you do have your baby via a C-section, you are still going to HAVE A BABY! It doesn’t matter what your birth experience was like, or how you birthed that little miracle; you had a birth experience. And what’s really cool is that everyone’s birth experience is as unique as they and their babies are! Sheesh!
14 “You’re so lucky you missed the labor.”
Say what?!? Missed out on what labor?
Yes, I did have a planned C-section with my second child and was able to forego the labor with him; however, with my first, I was in labor for 72, that’s right SEVENTY-TWO hours! Labor started, stopped, started again. I had to be induced. I experienced the most horrible feeling on earth (also known as contractions.) I had my cervix checked about a bazillion times. I was wheeled into a delivery room.
And after all of that, I found out that my son was in distress and he needed to be taken out right away. I was then wheeled into an operating room and birthed him via an emergency C-section. And you know what, I was RELIEVED when I heard that I was going to be sectioned! I just wanted him to be delivered safely and wanted to meet my little bean!
And, not that we're keeping score here, but I’m pretty sure my labor story beat anyone else’s labor story in that group of ladies at the playdate.
13 “Are you sure you needed to have a C-section?”
Nope. I wasn’t sure at all. My doctor, who has delivered hundreds of babies and has been practicing for over 2 decades had no idea what he was talking about. He thought that it would just be easier to cut me open and pull the baby out, and I thought it would be much easier, too. HA!
I’m pretty sure that after I was induced with cervidil, the medication that they inserted into my lady parts, and my labor didn’t progress any further, and when my baby was laying on the umbilical cord and wasn’t getting enough oxygen that my doctor kind of knew what he was talking about when he said that I needed to have an emergency C-section.
Thank goodness he did! If he insisted that we wait to see if things progressed further, I don’t even want to know what would have happened to my son and I!
12 “You took the easy way out!”
If by easy you mean having my abdomen cut open, my organs removed (yes, they actually take out your intestines to get to the uterus,) not being able to hold my baby right away and delivering in a cold, bright operating room, followed by being poked and prodded around the clock to make sure my incision was alright, being in serious pain, having to take pain medications, not being able to walk for two days, not being able to drive for a few weeks, and not being able to cough, sneeze or poop without bracing my incision you mean easy… Then yes, I guess I did take the easy way out….
11 “I could never have a C-section. I believe a woman should give birth naturally.”
That’s great! But when your doctor tells you that if you deliver naturally it could put you and your baby in serious danger, or that you simply CAN’T deliver naturally, what are going to say? “Screw you! I’m doing it naturally, no matter what you say!”
Umm… I really don’t think so! Put yourself in that situation and really ask yourself what your response would be if your doctor told you that you had to have a C-section because it was in the best interest for you and your baby? What’s that? You’d be OK with it? Yep, I thought so.
10 “Can I see Your Scar?”
OK, sure! Can I take a look at the stretch marks on your belly?
Seriously, why would anyone ask that question? But, believe it or not, I’ve had people that I don’t know any better than my mailman ask me if they could see my scar. The answer is a resounding N.O.! I could, however, draw you a nice little diagram, if you’d really like.
9 “I’m really sorry that you had to go through that. It must have been dreadful.”
I’m really sorry that you decided to take a promotion in that job that you hate that you said you were only going to take until you found something better, but you’re still working in the same miserable place.
Oh, wait... Did I say something to upset you? You see, I thought we were talking about the times when we opted to do things that we hadn’t originally planned on doing…
Maybe I wanted to have a natural childbirth, but I’m sure glad that I had a C-section, and I wouldn’t change it for the world! Now, how about you go and find a new job. No? Too soon?
8 “Maybe you wouldn’t have had to have a C-section if you had educated yourself better about childbirth.”
Stop it! Say that to someone who had a C-section and you are sure to either get a dirty look, a nasty response, a drink thrown at you – or worse! And you know what, I wouldn’t blame the C-section mama one bit!
Educate yourself better. What does that even mean? In my case, I took the childbirth classes. I read all of the books. I went to all of my prenatal appointments. I spoke to other women who have delivered vaginally. And you know what, none of it matters. I could have written a freaking dissertation on vaginal deliveries and I STILL would have needed to have a C-section.
No amount of reading, classes or education would ever change the fact that my labor wasn’t progressing and that my baby was in distress. A C-section was absolutely needed, and education wasn’t changing that.
7 “It’s such a tragic and scary way to bring a child into the world!”
I mean, I guess that’s true. But, do you think that giving birth to your baby in a pool of water while surrounded by tons of candles, or pushing your baby out into a cold room where the first thing she hears is your screaming isn’t tragic and scary? Both of those situations sound pretty scary to me!
The thing is this: While you, a grown adult who has developed feelings and emotions and who has experience with the world, may think that delivering a baby in an operating room under bright lights is scary and tragic, the little baby has no idea what is going on at all.
In fact, I think that most babies are probably thinking, “HEY! What gives? I was just in my mom’s warm womb, where it was nice and dark and quiet, and now I am cold, and in this bright, loud place with all of these weird people.” If you think about it that way, all forms of childbirth are pretty scary for a baby.
Also, I’d like to add that the real tragedy would be not having a C-section! My son and I could have perished! And the same is true for so many other C-section mamas!
6 “Are you ever going to get rid of that pooch?"
Oh. No. You. DIDN’T!! Are YOU ever going to get rid of that pooch?!?!
While yes, it is true that C-section moms have a more difficult time getting rid of their baby pooch, do you know why that is? It’s because our abdominal muscles were literally cut in half! You try getting a six pack after that? And you didn’t have a C-section, so what’s your excuse for still having that pooch? At least I have one…
Also, I’d like to add that I think of my pooch as a constant reminder of the two son’s that I bore and birthed, thank you very much!
(Do note that this is not to say that women who have had C-sections are not able to get a 6 pack stomach. It is absolutely possible!)
5 “I heard that the C-section rate in the US is much higher in the US than in other countries.”
That’s cool. You know what I hear? I heard that the newborn survival rate is much lower in other countries. I also heard that the rate of maternal death during childbirth is much higher in other countries.
I’d much rather be a part of a statistic that says that the rate of caesarian sections are higher than in other parts of the world than one that says the newborn survival rate is high, or maternal death during childbirth is high… Just saying.
4 “Are you afraid people are going to judge you?”
Uh, I wasn’t at all, until you just asked me that question, and you are obviously judging me.
And, you know what? I don’t even care at all that you are judging me! Judge away! Your judgments are just a sign that you are ignorant and have no idea what you are even talking about!
3 “Did you try eating spicy foods/exercising/doing yoga… to induce your labor?”
While yes, I did try tons of those old wives tales to induce my labor, none of them worked. And you know what else didn’t work? Actual induction with medication that was made to induce a pregnant woman into labor.
Also, you know what else? My son is already here, so it really doesn’t matter what I tried, now does it? The C-section is already done, I am already healed, and he is thriving. So, why are you even asking me about something that can’t be changed.
2 “Are you ever going to try to have a vaginal birth?”
Not that it is any of your business, but I have had two children, and both of them were via C-section. My first was an emergency and my second was planned. And, if I were to have any more babies, I’d also have them via C-sections.
Why? Because I don’t want to run the risk of rupturing my uterus by having a vaginal birth after a caesarian (also known as a VBAC;) and honestly, how I have my babies really doesn’t pertain to you or affect you in any way at all. So, thanks.
1 “I heard that babies who are born via C-section are at a higher risk of developing problems later on in life”
Really? What type of problems are you talking about? Being a smart ass, like your son, who just threw his juice and ran away from you when you told him it was time to leave? Oh, but wait, he was delivered vaginally, wasn’t he?
So, I guess that maybe giving birth vaginally can cause problems later on in life, too; just like children who are birthed vaginally and via C-section both develop autism, learning disabilities and other developmental issues.
Big whoop! What does that even mean? You assume my child is going to have issues because he was born via C-section? You know what? We all have our issues; and clearly, you have an issue with saying things that are just not appropriate!