Jamie Kenney

9 Ways Having An Emergency C-Section Prepares You For Motherhood

By
Share
Ad failed to load

After 18 hours of very painful labor, my OB came to my bedside and said the words many mothers dread: "Your baby is in distress and we need to perform a c-section." Like most women, I'd planned to deliver vaginally, but here I was, only 5 centimeters dilated, unable to stick the landing. While I don't believe in fate, I ultimately believe that my son was born exactly the way he was "supposed" to. Besides, I've also come to believe that having an emergency c-section prepares you for motherhood far better than any amount of reading or classes.

If we're being honest, despite planning and even looking forward to a vaginal delivery, I was open to the possibility of c-section. For whatever reason, I had always suspected my son would be born via cesarean, and I'd made my peace with the possibility ahead of time and before it was a necessity. Above and beyond that, I trusted my OB completely, and in her desire to help me achieve the kind of birth I wanted, so when she said, "We need to do a c-section" I didn't question if she just wanted to go home for the night. I believed her, and I regret nothing.

My experience with an emergency c-section helped shape me in the early days of motherhood. Not only did it assist me in bringing my son into the world, it taught me a tremendous amount moving forward, including the following:

Ad failed to load

Nothing Will Ever Go According To Plan

GIPHY

Not having the sort of outcome you'd been expecting or preparing for is actually a pretty good foreshadow for having children in general. Here are other things I planned on...

-making my own baby food (nope)

-not co-sleeping (nope)

-not allowing more than an hour of screen time a day and only then after the age of 2 (nope)

-taking up running during maternity leave (lolwut?!)

-never yelling at my kids (bwaaaahahahahahahaha!)

This is just some of the bigger plans I had, never mind the day-to-day schedules and itineraries we attempt to accomplish time and again. That's okay. Parenthood is basically just a very, very long series of backup plans.

You'll Get Judged

GIPHY

I think we've all learned, by now, that all moms are judged for the kind of birth they have by someone, but I will still contend that c-section moms get the worst of it. Don't assum that an emergency c-section will soften the blow for some of the judgier jerks out there. It won't. It's unfair, it's stupid, and it sucks, but it happens. On the bright side, it toughens you up for the judgment you are sure to face for literally the rest of all your parenting decisions ever because, apparently, how we choose to raise our children is subject to the scrutiny of family, friends, and strangers. Yippee. #headdesk

It Can Be Painful

GIPHY

While a c-section necessitates being good and numb, that doesn't mean that nonsense doesn't eventually hurt like hell. Recovery from a c-section can be really painful and take way longer than one would like. Similarly, parenthood can be painful. I don't just mean the emotional pain that can go along with having your heart walk outside of your body in a dangerous world in the form of your child (though that is a bit of a doozy). I mean physically, too. For example: my 4-year-old routinely (if inadvertently) headbutts me in the vulva. It happens (he's rambunctious, uncoordinated, and his head is basically at the perfect height) and it hurts. My 2-year-old thinks my breasts are those stress relief balls you can pick up at a drug store. She is strong and her nails, no matter how short they are, are inexplicably razor sharp. Your c-section has prepared you for this constant onslaught of physical torment.

Ad failed to load

Your Children DGAF About Your Pain

GIPHY

Your baby doesn't care that you have just endured significant abdominal surgery to bring them into this world, and their incessant and numerous demands will not be abated except by your performing them. This instinct to rank your physical and emotional well-being somewhere below "the Lego under the couch" and "the toy I haven't played with in years that my sister is now holding and I don't want her to," does not end in infancy.

You Will Be Amazed By What Your Body Can Endure

GIPHY

I am continually amazed that a child was cut out of my body (while I was awake) and the only evidence is a tiny scar normally obscured by underwear. As time goes on, I'm still sort of shocked by (and proud of) my body's ability to keep pace with this whole parenthood thing. From breastfeeding to sleepless nights to playing non-stop while surviving on nothing more than the crusts of PB&J sandwiches and the last remnants of sliced apples that my children don't eat, it's all pretty damn impressive.

You Will Need Help

GIPHY

Handling a new baby after a routine vaginal delivery is tough enough, but when your body is recovering from surgery (or some other kind of physical trauma) it's even tougher. You're going to have to ask for help, and that's a great thing. All new moms need help but often do not feel empowered to make a request. But when you need help, like, standing up, it helps open the floodgates for making other requests. As your baby grows up, you will keep needing help so please keep asking whenever you can!

Ad failed to load

Sometimes You Just Need To Take It Easy

GIPHY

You will have to sit back and heal after an emergency c-section. Jumping right back in at your usual pace (like I did after my daughter was born via VBAC, which was a massive mistake, by the way) is just not possible, largely because if you're not hobbling you're nevertheless incapable of walking your usual pace for very far. Rest is essential. This does not stop being true after you've recovered, or ever, because your kids are going to drain you. Take this c-section lesson with you into the future as well.

Careful Planning Is Required Before You Do Anything

Tumblr

After a c-section, getting around is varying degrees of difficult, but always decidedly difficult. My recovery was great, better than those of most other c-section moms I've talked to, but I still needed help getting off my couch months after the birth of my son. As such, before I sat down, I always spent a decent amount of time scanning the room and checking to see what I would need with me to keep getting up to a minimum. Was the baby within reach? Did I have to pee? Did I have food, water, and tissues near me? Did my enormous pad need to be changed? Was my phone on me? Was my phone charged? Where was the remote control? Where was my book? These are the things you have to take into account. As you move from "recovering" to "recovered," and your outings become more regular, you'll find you need to go through that same mental process with the mountains of baby items and considerations to take into account before leaving your home. Do you have enough diapers? Wipes? Formula? Blankets? Change of clothes? Are you going to bring the stroller, the baby sling, or both? Do you have extra socks because she always loses at least one while you're out? Life becomes a very long checklist of covering all possible scenario and c-section moms have extra experience in this arena.

You Might Feel Conflicted At Times

GIPHY

Any way you feel about your c-section experience (or any birth experience) is valid. Some women are tremendously grateful for their c-section while others were legitimately traumatized by how their baby was born, especially in cases of medical emergency. More still, it seems to me, fall somewhere in-between, or vacillate somewhere between the two extremes, or even feel both things at once. All this is totally normal. You will almost certainly have days like this about parenting, too, which might be hard to hear. Parenting can put you through the damn wringer, and you may find yourself filled with resentment, self-doubt, and sadness, even as you continue to adore your children more than anything you've ever experienced, before or since. It's complicated, is what I'm saying.

Ad failed to load
Must Reads

6 Early Signs You're Going To Have A Short Labor, According To Experts

As far as I'm concerned, a short labor is right up there with winning the lottery in terms of lucky life events. (And when I was actually in labor, I would absolutely have traded a bucketful of lottery winnings for a speedier birth.) While some women…
By Kelly Mullen-McWilliams

Kids Will Love These TV Shows & Movies Coming To Netflix In March

You can always count on Netflix to keep it fresh: though there are already so many movies and shows to choose from, every month there's an influx of new content to keep your entire family entertained. As February enters its final weeks, it's time to …
By Megan Walsh

Here Are 10 Ways To Boost Your Baby's Immunity To The Flu

As I'm sure you've read in the thousands upon thousands of articles written about it this winter, the flu is spreading like wildfire and it's bad. Really bad. This strand of flu is the worst we've had in a very long time and it's the most widespread,…
By Abi Berwager Schreier

Khloé Kardashian Asked Twitter About Her Bump, & Moms Totally Delivered

Like her younger sister Kylie Jenner, Khloé Kardashian managed to keep most of her pregnancy a sort-of secret. But unlike Jenner, Kardashian chose to publicly announce her pregnancy several months before the baby's due date. While there's no wrong wa…
By Sophie Hirsh

21 Moms Share The Most Surprising Part About Having A C-Section

Honestly, I don't think we, as a culture, talk about C-sections nearly enough, especially considering so many mothers experience them. And because of a number of factors, the little we do talk about it always seems to be a familiar narrative: "It's n…
By Jamie Kenney

13 Yummy Instant Pot Recipes To Make Under 30 Minutes

An Instant Pot seems to be the must-have appliance in every kitchen these days. If you are anything like me and never knew the beauty of a Instant Pot, you are about to have your life changed. Basically, you put some ingredients into a pot, set the t…
By Kristin Manna

9 Things The First Six Months Of Motherhood Will Teach You About Your Baby

Personally, the first six months of motherhood was a mixed bag. I learned some harsh lessons about myself that made taking care of my baby seem overwhelming. For example, I was clueless, and no amount of research could help me feel like anything but …
By Steph Montgomery

11 Photos You *Must* Take During The Last Days Of Your Pregnancy

During my first pregnancy, I took a photo each week to document my growing belly. I stopped around 36 weeks, though. I hated how I looked in those pictures, and didn't think I'd want to relive those moments. I was wrong. My second pregnancy was a dum…
By Steph Montgomery

6 Red Flags To Definitely Look Out For After Your Baby Falls

The first time my infant son tried to take a few steps, he tumbled and bumped his head on the coffee table. My blood turned to ice in my veins and I froze. There truly isn't anything quite like the feeling a parent gets when their little one gets hur…
By Sarah Bunton

These 9 Instant Pot Recipes Will Make Even The Pickiest Eater Happy At The Table

Like any parent, I've had my share of parenting hits and misses, but one of my favorite "wins" is my daughter's diverse palate. I don't even know if I can take credit for it, but I would like to think I had something to do with her love for lentils, …
By Caroline Shannon-Karasik

Turns Out, Kim Kardashian's Favorite Mom Products Look A Lot Like Your Own Faves

Being a mom is really hard work, especially for the first few months, and Kim Kardashian West is no different in that regard. Now the mother of three, Kardashian says that there are a few products she just can't live without when it comes to raising …
By Abi Berwager Schreier

10 Things No One Tells You About Having A Baby In Your 30s

If you're like me, you evaluate the pros and cons of any major life decision. When my husband and I were considering starting a family, I thought about my career, education, and financial stability. I wanted to know how a pregnancy and childbirth wou…
By Steph Montgomery

Soda Might Hurt Your Fertility, Study Says, & Here's What You Can Do

Who doesn't love sugary drinks? I stopped drinking soda years ago, but I still love gulping down those fancy Starbucks coffee beverages. I don't have a big sweet tooth, but I am a sucker for sugar-sweetened beverages every now-and-then. Turns out, th…
By Annamarya Scaccia

5 Red Flags Your Toddler Isn't Eating Enough

Toddlers are notoriously picky eaters, at least in my experience. You offer mashed potatoes, they want french fries. You give them crackers, they scream for chips. It's frustrating, to be sure, but it's usually their way of vying for independence. It…
By Candace Ganger

35 Moms Share The Most Disgusting Things Their Husbands Do

I'm a human being who revels in challenges. I like when people present me with one, especially if they don't think I can meet or succeed it, and I like taking a challenge on, especially if it's unexpected. So when I aimed to uncover the most disgusti…
By Jamie Kenney

How Having Kids In Your 20s Affects You Later In Life

For parents, like myself, who had kids in their 20s, there are a number of questions that come to mind. When you're deciding what your future will look like, you'll likely consider what this means for your health, career, and more down the line. Thin…
By Tessa Shull

Study: Drinking Two Glasses Of Wine A Day Is Good For Your Mind — Here's Why

There’s more scientific proof that a daily drink or two isn't necessarily a bad thing and could have a place in an overall healthy lifestyle. A new study out of the University of Rochester Medical Center (URMC) in New York found that — in mice, at le…
By Tiffany Thomas

Research Says Eating Carbs Can Lead To A Healthy Pregnancy, So Bring On The Pasta

In the world of me, no food is better than bread. I know it's supposed to be pretty terrible for you, high in calories, low in protein, and full of that modern-day demon, gluten... but guys, it's really yummy. Especially warm out of the oven, when th…
By Jen McGuire

These Photos Of Prince George Then & Now Will Give You Serious Baby Fever

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are expecting their third child in Spring 2018. With all of the excitement surrounding the new baby, it's easy to forget all of the good times that have already passed. The couple's eldest is already well into the sc…
By Azure Hall

This Is, Hands Down, The *Grossest* Thing Babies Do Inside The Womb

Your baby's life in the womb may be safe and warm, but it's also kind of grody. Seriously, the whole process of growing into a human being includes more than a few icky moments along the way. But this is the grossest thing babies do inside the womb b…
By Lindsay E. Mack