Here's a little piece of advice, direct from me to you and totally free: tread lightly when discussing someone else's birth experience. That goes double for c-sections. I've given birth vaginally and via c-section and, in my experience, the offensive stupidity you'll hear from other people after a c-section is way worse. I asked other moms to share the worst things they heard after they had a c-section and, well, it's rough.
Birth is a deeply personal yet socially loaded experience, which is a really terribly mix for any topic of discussion. People say stupid things about any type of birth all the time, often from a place of ignorance (they really just don't know what they're talking about), and sometimes sitting atop a stormy cloud of smug judgment (and those particular people usually don't know what they're talking about, either). However, c-section moms, in my experience, often get extra questions that passive-aggressively requires them to justify their c-section. People want to ensure that their c-section was "necessary," or they want a woman who has had a c-section to fit a narrative they have built in their head about who has c-sections and why. Or, sadly, they want to offer women who've had c-sections condolences (or worse, scorn) for not giving birth the way "women are supposed to."
It's all crap, and we c-section moms are sick of it. We just want to keep on living our mom lives without having to help you sort out your issues about childbirth. So, with that in mind and because nothing will change if we don't talk about why it should change, below are actual things that 16 actual woman heard about their c-sections. Please, learn from this absurdity so that this awfulness can at least have some instructive value.
"While lying strapped down, my body still opened up and my baby just born, my doctor found it necessary to show my husband, who was there for the procedure, how much was baby belly and how much was fat."
"It wasn't anything that someone said directly about having a c-section that was the worst. It was the self-righteous comments about 'natural' births that indirectly insult the c-section mama. So, in my case, a friend saying she was so happy another friend got to experience natural childbirth and didn't have to have a c-section (in a tone as if a c-section was the worst thing ever or in some way a lesser experience)."
'You didn't have to have a c-section. You should have let your doctor give you more time. Your body was made for this! Doctors just want to go home.' [This was] after water breaking, 22 hours of labor, an arm up my vagina in attempt to turn him, and three hours of pushing.
"Oh wow! A c-section at 40-years-old, you could have died!"
"Right after [my son] was born, my mom told me I, 'Cheated and did it the easy way.' More recently another parent on my son's baseball team said, 'Maybe your son has ADHD because you had a c section.'"
[I was asked if] I was relieved to not have to go through childbirth.
"My best friend and her husband came to the hospital after I had my first son. The first thing he said to me was something like, 'Well I guess you'll never wear a bikini again with a giant scar going down your stomach.' I was like 'Ummm that's not how they do it.'"
"It was after my son's c-section, from someone that knew I had hoped for a VBAC with him. She said I was glad I decided to 'take the easy way out' and have another section since I grow giants. Um, no. I was starting to rupture and there was nothing easy about it. I know she meant nothing by it, but know your audience, right?"
"With my second and third repeat c-sections, I was reminded how lucky I was to be able to schedule birth instead of having to deal with the anticipation and the waiting game of natural birth."
"People have asked me if I think my son's peanut allergy is because I had a c-section. I don't know and I don't care because at least he's alive. Without the c-section neither of us might still be here. Also friends telling me about their natural births with a tone of superiority when I mention how hard of a time I had with having to have a c-section the first time or being afraid to do it again the second time."
'That's why it's so important to really educate yourself.' Like having a c-section meant I was some sort of ignorant moron.
"I was told that at I should be thankful to have a c-section because, 'at least your vagina is still tight and wasn't ruined by childbirth.' I was also told my daughter has allergies because she wasn't able to go through the birth canal to 'squeeze' all the allergens out."
"When I came back from maternity leave, a co-worker of mine made a reference to vaginal delivery, when I told him I'd had a c-section, he said, 'Oh, so you didn't really give birth.' I knew he was obviously joking, and I didn't take him seriously, but it's one of those things that you don't joke about, especially if you don't know how the new mom feels! And the worst part was he kept making the damn joke. It wasn't funny the first time, dude. (Fortunately, another co-worker clued him in that he was being a jackass.)"
Maybe your son wouldn't have asthma and ADHD if you weren't selfish and chose a c-section.
"'Not everyone is cut out for giving birth.'
I didn't hold back, I just started sobbing and didn't stop, because I know this person sees herself as really compassionate and empowering and I knew crying would make her feel terrible. No regrets. It was such an awful thing to say. I still haven't really forgiven her."