I just read an article from Birth Sense about things not to say to a c-section mom. For the most part, she’s right. But I wonder if she ever had a c-section of her own? I have some things to add to her list, as well as some edits. Here are her points (click the link above for the full article) of things NOT to say to a c-section mama and my opinions:
*If you had a midwife, she could have gotten the baby out without a c-section. ((There are a million “IFs” running through my head already, IF I had a different care provider, sure, things may have ended differently. But what’s done is done, I can’t change it now.))
*Most emergency c-sections are not really emergencies. ((I agree, no woman who had a c-section would want to hear this. To have missed out on birth? And to have not been able to hold your baby right away? And have difficulty breastfeeding and bonding and recovering? And THEN to have someone tell you it wasn’t necessary? You could have had it some other way? SUCKS. How do *I* know that? Because it happened to me. BUT… it is a true statement, unfortunately.))
*Trust that your body won’t grow a baby too big to get out/your body was designed to give birth/birth is natural. ((Again, usually true–there are rare cases with pelvic size too small/baby too large, but no woman wants to hear that their body failed. We already feel that way without someone telling us.))
*If your doctor had ________, you wouldn’t have needed a c-section–insert any phrase: delivered breech, not given an epidural, let you get out of bed, etc. ((No one wants to play the “what if” game. The coulda woulda shoulda game. I play it enough in my head over and over. If I hadn’t gotten the epidural… If I had said no one more time… If I had asked for 2 more hours… If I had been stronger… If I had a different doctor… if If IF!))
The bottom line for all of these points from the article is that while they may be true, a c-section mama is struggling enough already. Questioning herself, trying to accept what happened, and she feels guilty enough without the above statements being made to her. Or maybe she loved her c-section and didn’t care at all and you’re pushing feelings on her.
But now I have my own items to add to the list… things NOT to say to a mama with an *unnecessary* c-section:
*At least you have a healthy baby, that’s all that matters. ((It matters, of course, but it’s not ALL that matters. Don’t discount my feelings and the birth I wanted.))
*Look at the size of that baby! There’s no way (s)he would have fit. ((Please.))
*Oh, c-section babies are prettier anyway. ((Fairly certain I’d have given birth to the exact same baby vaginally.))
*Good thing the doctor was there to save your baby’s life. ((Too bad the doctor was there to start all the interventions in the first place.))
*What’s the big deal, why do you care so much? ((Because I do. Because I wanted a natural birth. Because giving birth is like a right of passage for a woman (in my opinion), and my body failed. *I* failed.))
*It’s easier to recover from c-sections though, right? ((Ha. Ha.))
*You got pregnant to have a baby, not to give birth. A c-section doesn’t make you any less of a woman. ((1. Don’t tell me how to feel and 2. Yes, the end result is having a baby, but I’m allowed to grieve the loss of the birth I wanted.))
So what CAN you say to a c-section mama?
*Congratulations on your baby! You look great and your baby is beautiful!
Okay, with all that being said……. I am guilty of a few things. When speaking to another mama, if she tells me she had a c-section, I can’t help but let out an “awwww….” response. Like an, “I’m sorry!” attitude. Why? Because that’s how I feel about mine. But I know that’s wrong, very wrong… I’m guilty of the things above. I shouldn’t assume she feels the same way I do, but even if she does, I don’t want to reinforce those feelings. It has been almost a year since my own c-section, but I still can’t help it. All I can say is that I’m aware of it and that it’s something I’m working on.
Do you have things to add to my list?