Birth is so emotionally charged and the buildup is so incredible that many people feel (rather passionately) that there's a "right way" and a "wrong way" to deliver your child. Whether or not you listen to those people is, of course, entirely up to you. However, I think it's also pretty important to stop and think about what your baby wants you to know about your c-section. After all, they're the reason you went through the entire process in the first place, right?
Because a c-section could be the result of a number of things (a complication, failure to progress, numerous medical interventions, an emergency, or a scheduled and planned appointment) the feelings women who've had a c-section can (and do) vary. My 4 year old was born via c-section. I had my heart set on an unmedicated vaginal birth, but as the day loomed closer and the baby got bigger and bigger and bigger, I started to get scared. I was afraid I wouldn't be able to deliver him vaginally because of his size (which I now realize is silly, because women deliver big babies all the time), I was afraid of the pain, I was afraid of delivering on the side of the road because we lived so far from the hospital. All those fears lead up to me scheduling an induction.
I knew the cascade of interventions that were likely to follow. Induction involves an IV that usually leads to an epidural that runs a higher risk of your labor and delivery ending in surgery. Honestly though, I didn't care. I wanted to be finished with that pregnancy. I was so uncomfortable and so afraid (this was not my first pregnancy and I had experienced significant birth trauma previously) that I was ready to go. It was a self-fulfilling prophesy and, in the end, I ended up having a surgical birth.
When we finally got home from the hospital, I had so much guilt and felt so much regret about the fact that I didn't have a magical birth experience I initially wanted. In fact, my postpartum, post-cesarean feelings clouded the first few weeks I was at home with my baby. I wish that, during those weeks, I would have focused on what my baby probably would have wanted me to know about my c-section. Unlike the passionate conversations about the "right" and "wrong" way to birth a baby, I have a feeling my baby would've said the following things:
"You Didn't Fail"
If you were hoping for a vaginal birth but ended up having a c-section, you might feel like you failed. You didn't. Even though things didn't go quite the way you wanted, you gave birth to a person that you grew inside your body for 40 (more or less) weeks. That's pretty hardcore, if you ask me.
"You Didn't Take The Easy Way Out"
There is nothing, I repeat nothing, easy about having major abdominal surgery, only to immediately be put in charge of a newborn. You're amazing, mama. Hard. Core.
"It Takes Time To Heal"
Seriously, slow down and rest. You just had your belly cut open and sewn back together. Take a load off and put your feet up. You aren't going to be back to your old self for a while. Take care of yourself and don't try to do too much.
"You Have Nothing To Be Ashamed Of"
I don't know why people think there is something wrong or shameful about giving birth via c-section. You nurtured a life and brought it into the world with love. You are a rockstar.
"Your C-Section Is Just As Valid As Someone Else's Unmedicated Vaginal Birth"
So you had a c-section and your friend's sister's neighbor's yoga instructor had an unassisted homebirth. So what? You do you, mama. And be proud.
"You're Not Selfish"
For someone to think you opted to have your belly cut open because you're selfish is ill-informed at best. Major abdominal surgery is not selfish, and neither is taking care of a newborn while you're attempting to heal from said surgery.
"You Can Still Deliver Vaginally, If You Want To, Next Time"
If you want to deliver vaginally with your next baby, you can! There are a few things most OB-GYNs will need to be sure of before you attempt a vaginal birth after caesarean (VBAC) — like time between pregnancies and how your surgical incision was sutured — but odds are you will be able to.
"A C-Section Birth IS A Birth"
To say that a surgical birth isn't really a birth is, well, asinine. You had a baby inside your body and now that baby is outside your body. You gave birth. End of story.
"You're A Great Mom"
You are. You birthed your baby with love and that's what matters. Your baby doesn't care how they came into the world, they're just glad they're finally here and in your arms.