I have a six inch scar across my lower abdomen that reminds me of a special day that happened nearly a year ago. Every time I shower or change clothes, I have memories of that day. I walked into a prenatal visit at my OB/GYN’s office and walked out of the hospital four days later.
Although that day was a bit scary for me, I know that along with our medical team, we did the right thing. For years, I had planned on having a natural childbirth.
In fact, I thought it my best option after experiencing some medical trauma years earlier. I felt that the least amount of medical intervention the better.
I’m not disappointed in my c-section even though I spent 12 weeks in a Bradley Natural Childbirth Class that met two hours per week. That’s a lot of prep work. That’s one of the reasons why my baby and I came out of this situation for the better.
It was not wasted time. My husband and I left that class with a better understanding of childbirth. It helped us when my condition and the baby’s deteriorated.
History of PTSD
Even though I have a history of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder associated with gynecological situations, my c-section experience did not revive those old demons. Don’t get me wrong. I was frightened.
I shook like a leaf, no, more like an entire tree, while my upper body was affixed to the operating table. It was part nerves and part narcotics.
Although I’m not disappointed in my c-section, I know others are disappointed in their own. For many like me, dreams were dashed the day that natural childbirth was trumped by surgical intervention.
Some women labor for hours and feel that they’ve come a tenth of a mile shy of the entire marathon when a c-section intervenes. It is a grieving process for many women. To not honor that is to keep a woman shackled to a secret pain.
National C-Section Awareness Month
That’s why it’s important we talk about National C-Section Awareness month. April is National C-Section Awareness Month. Cesarean Awareness Month is sponsored by the International Cesarean Awareness Network. ICAN is a non profit whose mission is “to improve maternal-child health by preventing unnecessary cesareans through education, providing support for cesarean recovery, and promoting Vaginal Birth After Cesarean (VBAC).”
C-section moms all have their own individual stories. It’s good to talk them out, to process them. Unfortunately, many women feel discouraged from doing this because of judgment.
Judgment that they “didn’t really give birth” that they “took the easy way out” is furthest from the truth. C-section is really the only major surgery where the patient is expected to care for someone else after the surgery.
Unlike other surgeries where the patient is considered the patient and is cared for after the fact, a c-section results in a new life that has to be cared for by the patient. I was very blessed to have many helpful helpers after my c-section. I realize that for some women this is not the case.
As the c-section rate climbs to 1 in 3 births, remember that many women are left traumatized by their experience. Dismissals such as “just be glad you have a healthy baby” do nothing to encourage healing. This means that even women who have positive c-section experiences need to be empathetic to those who have not.