No two c-sections are alike. I’ll start there as a kind of disclaimer. I mean, obviously no two birth experiences are alike, but I feel like I want to take special care to point this out when it comes to discussing the ol’ cesarean section. When it comes to c-sections, there’s often a lot of cultural and social baggage to unpack on top of the individual experience itself, which very reasonably colors people’s opinions, interpretations, and feelings about c-sections. This is probably especially true of their own experiences. I consider myself to have been incredibly fortunate in how my c-section went down, and that was due to a convergence of several factors:
- I felt listened to and respected by my doctor throughout my pregnancy, labor, and delivery
- I did not feel pressured into consenting to a c-section at all before it became medically necessary to have one
- I had mentally prepared myself for the possibility of a c-section
- The surgery and associated anesthesia were free of complications
- I had a smooth and relatively easy recovery (which I feel is in large part simply dumb luck)
- I had strong physical and emotional support once I got home
I recognize that many women are not so lucky, and as a result their c-section becomes a source of trauma, guilt, anger, and/or shame. So as we approach the subject, I feel it’s important to disclose that despite the “emergent” nature of the surgery, I had a really wonderful (if unexpected) c-section. But I feel like one way or another, there are things many of my fellow c-section mamas learn through this experience.