Having had a baby via c-section, I now have a thing or two to say about c-sections. First, c-sections should not be feared nor demonized. They are lifesaving and necessary and quite safe. Secondly, having a c-section does not make you less of a woman/mother, as some would cruelly say it does. Nor does it mean that you will fail to bond with your baby, or that your baby will be unhealthy, or that you won’t be able to breastfeed, should you choose to. Mostly, having a c-section means that mom and baby get to go home healthy and safe. Natural childbirth advocates might say that Arthur and I are “victims” of the dreaded Cascade of Interventions (pitocin induction » epidural » surgical birth). I would say that we are beneficiaries of a system that works, and that if it weren’t for a competent, prudent OB and surgical team, one or both of us might not be here. Nobody knew that I was carrying nearly ten pounds of baby — the ultrasound that morning didn’t show it. My blood sugar was decently controlled. The only giveaway was my massive belly, but even that could be explained away by my otherwise petite frame — the baby had nowhere to go but out in front, right?
It amazes me how c-sections have been demonized to the point where people talk about “teh ebil obstetricians” who, as my own doctor laughingly put it, “apparently just want to cut everyone open!” Nothing could be further from the truth. After 24 hours of labor, a swelling cervix, climbing blood pressure, and a terrified and delirious mom, the doctor on call made the right choice to get things moving — to get the baby out safely and to get mom into recovery. I think it’s too bad that so many women who have had c-sections feel so much guilt about it. You and your baby are alive and healthy, right? What is there to feel guilty about? I think it’s important to remember that despite the unique set of challenges that come with a surgical birth, it’s still a birth — it’s still beautiful, and it can still be an emotionally complete, fulfilling event. You didn’t fail. I for one am proud of my big baby and I’m in awe of the people who were able to get him out of my belly and into the world, safely, in under twenty minutes.