I love looking at birth photos. The images are raw and powerful. The mothers are vulnerable and beautiful. My own birth photos look a little different than the typical “natural birth” photos. There is no labor ball, no birth tub, and no dad cutting the cord. Instead, there are photos of me on the operating table, photos of them lifting my sons over the sheet so I can see them, and photos of my husband cuddling our newborns as I am sewn back up.
These are my birth photos and I cherish them. Yet, there’s a twinge of pain inside me every time I compare my photos to those of “natural” births. I never got to have those experiences. It feels selfish sometimes that I was upset about my births. I have two healthy and beautiful little boys.
Yet, I feel that society deems C-sections as “the easy way out,” that you are “less of a woman.” Even if my sons weren’t brought into the world the “natural way,”…I gave birth, too.
C-section moms give birth, too.
C-section moms are brave.
I was planning on a “natural” birth until my first son had other plans. After my water breaking, no contractions, and 15 hours on Pitocin with only getting to a three, his heart rate began dropping dramatically with every contraction. A decision had to be made and it wasn’t even a question – I wanted my baby here and safe. Do you know how scary it is being wheeled into the OR, praying your baby is ok? Praying that the doctor can get him out in time? Trying to hold it together when all you really want to do is cry or throw up from sheer terror? C-section moms are some of the bravest people out there!
C-section moms are strong.
My friends that have given birth sans drugs are rock stars to me. I can’t imagine the intense pain of contractions, trying to focus during transitioning, and the burning of the “ring of fire.” But do you know what else I consider strong? Having your abdomen cut open, your baby taken out, then being stitched up, with the expectation that you should be walking/peeing/ and taking care of a baby mere hours after surgery. Coughing after a c section? Trying to sit up? Heck, moving your neck back and forth? Ouch!
C-section moms can experience grief.
I have two healthy, happy boys. That’s all I care about. But after my C-sections, I had to mourn the loss of how I wanted them brought into the world. It feels silly sometimes to have to grieve this, especially when other women go through so much worse. I talked with my doctor about it and she said it’s a normal thing to do. If it had lingered or gotten worse, I would have definitely gone and talked with her again.
C-sections moms all feel differently about their births.
I can still be sensitive at times about my C-sections. It wasn’t my plan, and emotional, Type-A Me wanted it my way. But I’m working through it, and every time I look at my sweet boys, the sadness instantly lifts. I also know a lot of women who have loved their experiences, who schedule their second and third C-sections at their first visit to their doctor, and I think that’s great! There isn’t a “right” or “wrong” way to reflect on your C-section story.
C-section moms should celebrate their births.
Regardless of how you gave birth, moms should celebrate the arrival of their baby. You carried and nurtured your little one for nine months! Their birth might not have been your ideal plan, but remembering that you brought them into the world safely is all the matters. You carried that child. And gave birth to them, too.