What NOT to say to a c-section mama

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!Β 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?

49 comments to What NOT to say to a c-section mama

  • Do people actually say some of that stuff to new moms?! I’m not a fan of elective C-sections at all, but ultimately I believe if I’m not the one delivering the baby, I should keep my opinions to myself.

    In the NICU, the majority of our patients are born via emergency C-sections where either the baby or mom’s health was in imminent danger, so there is a time and place for necessary C-sections. I don’t think we should dismiss the mom’s feelings over something that may be out of her control.

    With all that being said, I PRAY that if and when the time comes, I do not need a C-section!

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    babydickey Reply:

    Sadly, yes! Every single one of the things in this post has been said to me.

    I definitely agree, some c-sections are actually medically necessary and those moms shouldn’t be made to feel bad about what happened either. They can be just as traumatized as a mom with an unnecessary section.

    And here’s wishing you a wonderful vaginal birth! πŸ™‚

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  • Catherine Knight

    I had 4 babies naturally and 3 of them were birthed at home with the aid of a midwife. I have been guilty of feeling the word AWWW when I’m told a woman had to have a C-section, but I would never say it. The truth is you don’t get a gold medal for giving birth naturally. I have felt the scorn of women and men, old and young for having the nerve to have a baby out of the hospital. True scorn, disgust and even hatred. I’ve been told I was crazy, a fool, even stupid. My fourth child had to be taken to the hospital 12 hours after she was born and the treatment was worse. I was “that woman who had her baby at home” Treated like a simple person and spoken to like I had no idea what I was doing. It didn’t last long, but for the first 36 hours she was in NICU, I was the villain. I’m proud of my experiences and feel terrible for women who have their experience imposed upon unnecessarily by anyone. I’ve come to the conclusion that no matter what happens a woman will forever be judged, compared and ignored. So smile and look hard at the person you’ve grown and no whatever happens/happened, you are the reason s/he is here and isn’t s/he lovely?

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    babydickey Reply:

    πŸ™‚ Yes he is lovely. I plan on having my next one at home… my city is extremely VBAC unfriendly and I have no desire to place myself in that hospital environment again. It’s sad they way homebirths are sometimes viewed. A friend of mine was transferred to the hospital after an attempted homebirth – had a csection – and the doctors had a conversation about how stupid she was on the other side of the curtain, right in front of her. While they were taking her baby out. What a way to give birth, eh? Congrats on your 4 miracles πŸ™‚

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  • There was a discussion on Mothering a while back about how c-section moms fit into the community and as much Monday morning quarterbacking there was about c-sections, there was also a lot of support and understanding which was very uplifting.

    I’ve had two hospital births and one home birth. No c-sections, but Monday morning quarterbacking on any birth is a really crummy thing to do. There is no way anyone can put themselves into a particular mother’s shoes at the time of her birth and they shouldn’t presume to do so in any way shape or form.

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    babydickey Reply:

    Monday morning quarterbacking! I have never heard that term before!

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    D'Anne Reply:

    You don’t watch football, do you? πŸ™‚

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    babydickey Reply:

    hahaha, I just asked my husband. Got it πŸ˜‰

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  • “Congratulations on your baby! You look great and your baby is beautiful!”
    I would of HATED if anyone said that to me after mine….I obviously looked miserable so saying that would of been insultive.

    I think the best lesson we can learn from yours and Birthsense’s posts are that women are individuals and everyone has their own feelings that may or may not line up with what is ‘expected’ by society or what the speaker things the hearer wants to hear.

    We all need to listen to new mothers. How about ” how do you feel? “is there anything I can do or get for you” and mothers need to think of something like “I would really like my feet rubbed” or “bring me a warm washcloth to wipe the baby”. I am not a fan of ‘chit chat’ or ‘small talk’ so ANY of those canned comments I have no use for. Say something genuine or not at all.

    (and contact ICAN!)

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    babydickey Reply:

    Agreed! I completely agree. I guess I meant after some time had passed, to say “you look great” — not RIGHT after the birth, haha, because I’d know that was a lie too πŸ˜‰ I meant like months after, if your birth comes up in conversation… but DEFINITELY “how are you” or “what can I do for you” are perfect – for any new mama!

    And I started an ICAN chapter in my town πŸ™‚ There wasn’t one here after my csec and everyone kept telling me to find one. So I started my own! It has been a tremendous help.

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  • There is no way anyone can put themselves into a particular mother’s.

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  • I’m a c-section mama with a little different outlook on the whole thing, thought I’d share my thoughts πŸ™‚

    After my daughter was already 2 weeks late, and I had made zero progress the doctor approached me about the possibility of a c-section. It wasn’t what I had in mind when going into giving birth, not at all. I have a curved birth canal, which was going to make it very difficult to get a baby out. If the baby was very big, there were chances she could literally get stuck and cut off her oxygen. If they were to induce, the doctors predicted it would take at LEAST 3 days of labor before my cervix would even begin to prepare for birth. I was known around the hospital for the cervix of steel! None of this was ideal for me, but what was ideal was having my baby safety in my arms. So we went forward with the c-section – by my choice. And I’ve never regretted that choice. I delivered an amazing 9lb 5oz baby girl!!! My doctor and I both were relieved we chose the c-section route, because without a doubt it was the best option for me.

    I don’t think that my body failed me, I think that God made me perfectly the way that He did. I’m thankful that I am alive in the era of modern medicine, because had I been around a century ago it’s likely my daughter and I both would have died in delivery.

    I try to look at my c-section as a blessing, and not a failure. I did not go through labor and end up in a c-section like many moms do, so I can’t speak from that angle at all. And the recovery for me has been BRUTAL, but everytime I look at my amazing daughter, I don’t regret it for a second. And yup…I’ll do it again. And again. And again.

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    babydickey Reply:

    Thank you for sharing your point of view! I only wish I could view my c-section that way, I really do. It has been so hard to mentally cope and recover from mine… I definitely think c-sections and our modern medicine are amazing and wonderful for the situations in which they’re needed. I’m so happy for you that everything turned out well and that you are happy! Congrats on your beautiful lil girl (was just checking out photos on your blog ;))!

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    kk @ the mom diggity Reply:

    Thanks love!! I truly do understand your feelings, and I really hope that you are able to have a vbac and natural birth with your next baby!!! Merry Christmas!!!

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    Bonnie Reply:

    KK did you ever get a second opinion on your curved birth canal. In over 20 years of being in birthing, I have never heard of such a thing as a curved vagina? as being something abnormal. I think all birth canals are curved. Does your husband’s penis get lost if its straight?

    I can certainly understand why thinking you had such an anamoly would influence your decisions. I sure hope you got a second opinion though.

    If you go to the ICAN list, you will hear many stories from women whose doctors told them that they couldn’t give birth for XY and Z…and they go on to have amazing VBACS. A woman today for example had a 3 hour READ 3 HOUR labor…for her vbac…having had 3 previous cesareans.

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    Bonnie Reply:

    Given the nature of this response, I’ll apologize in advance if my responding to you was one of those things you shouldn’t say to a women who has had a cesarean.
    But my “Bullshit detectors” went off when I read your post about your curved birth canal. And they didn’t go off when I read about how you believe your body was built perfectly. I believe that too.

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    kk @ the mom diggity Reply:

    Curved birth canal wasn’t the term the doctors used…thats just what I called it πŸ™‚ It’s something about my pelvic bone sitting funny and makes it really difficult to get to my cervix. I can’t remember the exact medical diagnosis. I got a couple of opinions on it, and it was my choice to have the c-section. My doctor fully believed I could give birth naturally but the risks were high in my case so she left it up to me to decide. Honestly, I might go for a vbac with my next baby. I think it will all depend on the size of the baby. Since after 42 weeks with my last, my body did nothing it was just going to make the delivery really tricky and to me a c-section wasn’t the easy way out – just what I felt was best for my baby.

    I really appreciate your thoughts!!!

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    D'Anne Reply:

    Bullshit detector still in full alert. there is no “medical diagnosis” here. I was told a similar story and shock of all shocks–when I went w/ a midwife homebirth all of those risks and diagnosis disappeared. Pelvic bones are not static. Perhaps what she was saying was in my care, and what we will do to you in the hospital, a section will be quicker, I mean safer. And 42 weeks–so what?
    Of course, ultimately, you do need to be the one satisfied.
    Birth isn’t risky. It just is. We birth the way we believe.

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    babydickey Reply:

    I need YOU to give me a pep talk before my attempt at having an HBAC next time!!! When I start second guessing myself! πŸ™‚

    D'Anne Reply:

    Would be my pleasure, Emily. i just finished reading your birth story. You really did get the too typical shuffle-ball-change screw over. The need is for you to not be hard on yourself over what happened, yet understand why you (we) are so fearful and cut off from our bodies. We have grand MENTAL intentions and plans, but the moment, albeit after being put in isolation, totally cut-off from our world, and yes, worn down (can you say Chinese water torture?), we no longer connect nor trust our bodies.
    My first homebirth was 19 years ago this Christmas. I second guessed myself all the way through it. The difference was that this time I chose the people around me better so that I had a safe space to do that and STILL give birth. It changed my life. After that I knew I could know myself better than any outside “expert”.
    Birth is not medical, but a reflection of our beliefs about ourselves and our world. I believe in kindness towards women and their birth story–and every birth shapes the community, so how it happens matters. To quote myself, which was used as a chapter title in Mainstreaming Midwifery:”Every Breath is Political, Every Woman’s Life a Statement”

    babydickey Reply:

    I can’t reply under your last comment so it’s going here!

    I’m not pregnant again yet because I don’t think I’m ready.. I need to be more at peace with what happened to me and more prepared for this homebirth, mentally.

    “It changed my life.” When I read that part of your comment, I started to cry. My c-section definitely changed my life, but I want the life change that YOU got. I want that so badly. Someday!!! I will get there!!

    Amanda Reply:

    I wandered onto this topic out of curiosity – I’ve never been pregnant, let alone given birth, and have no preconceived notions or beliefs about the process – but I was surprised and uncomfortable enough by the tone of some of these replies to KK that I felt I should respond. She is happy with her c-section and it sounds like some people take offense to this and believe she should be made to feel nothing but regret/sadness/anger about not giving birth vaginally. Whatever the reason was ( and she doesn’t even need one ) she had a c-section and she’s thrilled with it. Allow her to be. Her birthing experience was just as special, beautiful, and life changing as any other birth. To believe otherwise is ridiculous.

    I had no idea this was such a passionate issue but it seems highly inappropriate to respond so negatively about a woman’s c-section on a post specifically titled “What NOT to say to a c-section mama”.

    Emily @ Baby Dickey Reply:

    Amanda, I always step lightly around people who are happy with their csections. I would never want to make someone feel the way that I feel about mine – would never want to push those feelings on someone. But I wanted to try to explain where I think a lot of us are coming from… the majority of csections are unnecessary. And it’s when doctors make women believe theirs WAS necessary, that there was something wrong (when there wasn’t) and when any possible hope of a future vaginal birth is destroyed because of it… that we may feel we need to speak up. NOT saying that’s what happened in KK’s situation. Hers may have been very much warranted – or at the very least, she made the decision and she’s happy with it. That’s great! As I said in my reply, I can only wish that I felt the same about mine! And I’m happy to hear she may attempt a VBAC next time. Too often doctors mislead us or tell us our bodies cannot do something that they clearly can. We just don’t want people lied to. We mean well, it just doesn’t always come out that way. When you’ve been traumatized by a c-section, sometimes it’s hard to keep your mouth shut on the topic πŸ˜‰ Thanks so much for stopping by and taking the time to read and comment!

  • Lisa

    Anything to add? Yeah – two. I got both of them and they were incredibly huge slaps in the face.

    1) “You cheated” and/or “you got off easy” (that was baby number three…fought my doctors the entire pregnancy, caved at the end – and still have issues with bladder sensation and significant numbness throughout my abdomen and pelvis, due to nerve damage…easy…sure).

    2) “You’re so lucky you didn’t have to push him out”. *sigh*

    It’s hard enough struggling with something so emotionally devastating without people telling you lucky you are to have had it happen and how you took the easy way out, etc.

    Oh – and one other one. Don’t tell me how much easier it is when you don’t labour. I’ve had c-sections of different kinds (emergent, true emergency, scheduled with no labour, and scheduled with labour). The hardest one, in many, many ways was the one with no labour at all. My baby wasn’t ready to be born. My body wasn’t ready for her to be born. It was a miserable experience, and it blows my mind that anyone finds it easier. The easiest ones, hands down, were the scheduled ones when I went into labour first (although my first one – emergent, but not an emergency, despite their claims at the time – probably would have been a better recovery if they hadn’t pumped me full of sedatives and sleeping pills and denied me solid food for over 3 days.

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    babydickey Reply:

    Ah! How did I miss that one?! “You’re so lucky you didn’t have to push.” I remember when I announced I wanted a natural, vaginal birth with no pain meds, someone said to me “so you WANT to feel your vagina ripping open?” Well, yes, thankyouverymuch. I labored for 48 hours before my csec, but I have heard that csections without any labor at all are definitely harder! Less hormone release, baby not ready/not in the right position, etc. I’m so sorry for all you’ve been through and that you had to hear those comments from someone πŸ™ Thank you for sharing!

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  • Bonnie

    I agree with Naomi, and I’ll take it a step farther. Maybe when a woman has a c/section, we should be listening and not talking. Then we’re not at risk of “saying” any of those controversial things. We should be asking her how she feels, letting her talk. Only listening. Because timing is everything. And in the minutes, hours, days, weeks, following a c/section her feelings are hers.
    There was a time, when the medical community was required to suggest VBAC to a woman during/immediately following her surgical procedure. The vbac rates started to soar. Women didn’t believe they were broken, they believed in NEXT TIME. And then the docs stopped doing it. Because….they started scheduling inductions. And unnecessary inductions equal repeat cesareans. Convenience.
    I have said “many of those things that the original poster said to a woman following her c/section” and I have no regrets. When the c/section rate was 22% over 50% of them were unnecessary. That means it was either MINE or YOURS that was unnecessary. Now the c/section rates are higher…more are unnecessary. Had someone not helped me to figure out that it was MINE that was UNNECESSARY, (in spite of what the medical community told me about my inadequate pelvis and my big baby), my guess is that I would have not even attempted to birth another baby, let alone birth one that was 3 1/2 lbs bigger than my c/sectioned baby.
    We can either sit quietly by, so as not to upset our friends’ boats, or we can help empower them to reclaim what is rightly theirs…their biological abilities to birth. Timing is everything. The original poster may not have been ready to hear the truths, or look at the truths, or consider them. Its easier to blame the sender of the message, than look at the message itself. But as she stated, there is a lot of truth there. WHY WOULDN’T WE WANT OUR FELLOW SISTERS TO HEAR THE TRUTH? WE can chose to not be ready to look at or consider the other possible choices we made, we can put our heads in the sand and not even consider possible truths, or we can educate ourselves and grow from them…so that NEXT TIME.

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    babydickey Reply:

    Yes. When I was being prepped for my csection, I asked the nurse if I’d ever have the vaginal birth I so badly wanted. At the time, I believed my baby was stuck (not true). She responded “no, you won’t.” I sobbed. I was clearly in distress over it and I’m still in awe that someone could even make that statement.

    I agree that the truth needs to be out there. Our c-section rate is WAY too high. This post was more like – I feel bad enough about my csection, you don’t need to rub it in, I KNOW it was unnecessary and I KNOW I did things wrong/could have done things differently.

    But for women that don’t know… for women that had a csection and believe their doctors that they *needed* it (because, of course, we’re made to trust our doctors)… I get nervous about bringing it up. About “correcting” them. A year later and I still cry about my csection. I don’t want to bring that pain onto someone else… but, that’s not to say I won’t discuss it, I just think it needs to be done in a very gentle manner. It’s very hard, when people don’t want to think or admit they (or their doctors) did anything wrong. I am glad I know, but I am crushed that I know. It’s a blessing and a curse. Does that make sense? But ignorance is not bliss. I’m still healing. And as I get better, I will be able to speak out about it more easily. (And now I’m rambling so I’ll quit). Thank you for your comment! And congrats on your VBAC! That will be me, NEXT TIME!!!

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    Bonnie A. Reply:

    LINK: http://www.ican-online.org/index.php

    YES! The doctors ALWAYS make us believe that OUR c-section was necessary. Otherwise they would be guilty of malpractice, wouldn’t they? Isn’t unnecessary surgery malpractice? They are very, very cunning about all the ways to manipulate you into a c-section and then be GRATEFUL to them for “saving” your life or your baby’s life. UGH! In many cases they probably BELIEVE their own BS (taught to them in Medical School, or continuing ed conferences), which makes them all the more convincing, and undermines our natural faith in our bodies ability to bring a baby into this world

    MOST of the “reasons” or “diagnoses” that I hear given as justification for a c-section immediately set off my BULLSHIT DETECTOR. Very, very rarely do I hear about an “emergency” c-section that was truly an emergency, and not just a doctor-conjured EXCUSE for one, or at best, one that *BECAME* necessary due to all the INTERFERENCE (oh, I mean “interventions”)from the doctor and/or hospital standard practices. However, I try to be gentle in my consciousness raising about birth issues. Sometimes it is hard because I am so passionate. I try to remember that I was once as uninformed as they are now.

    Have you been in contact with ICAN? Based on your comments above, I can see you are still early in your healing process. ICAN can help tremendously with support. NOBODY will make any of those stupid, insensitive or hurtful comments, because we’ve already heard them ourselves in many variations!

    I cannot recommend ICAN too strongly for everyone on this page!!!

    ICAN is where I became educated about the NATURAL physiology of birth…that is how I developed my BS detector. Also the sisterhood of the women I met there, and their birth stories helped to empower me to take the new learning I had gained and USE it, to finally achieve my HBA2Cs! I would NEVER have been able to do this without the support and information from ICAN. Birth is NOT USUALLY a medical emergency! With a c-section rate over 30% (SHAMEFUL) it is clear the obstetrical profession has lost all perspective on this truth.

    LINK: http://www.ican-online.org/index.php

    LOVE, HUGS and VBAC blessings to ALL!
    You are all my Sisters!
    Bonnie

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    babydickey Reply:

    After my c-section, everyone online told me to find ICAN. So I finally searched for it, only to find that a chapter did not exist where I live (which is weird because I live in a large city – 3rd largest in IL – but I now know that’s because my city is extremely birth/VBAC unfriendly). Anyway, I found a lady that was co-leader to an ICAN group a couple hours away and she was moving to my city soon, so we joined up and together we started a new ICAN chapter here as co-leaders! We meet once a month at my house and it has been amazing. We are still very small, but have been getting out in the community at a birth fair and women’s expo and it was been great!! Definitely recommend ICAN to everyone–even first time pregnant women who should be educated on birth options! I teach college human biology and during the repro section this semester, I showed The Business of Being Born — I have lots of pre nursing students. πŸ™‚

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    Bonnie A. Reply:

    FANTASTIC! If your area is birth/vbac unfriendly, that is ALL THE MORE REASON you need an ICAN chapter. Kudos to you and your co-leader for starting one up!

    Blessings to you! <3

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    Stephanie Reply:

    That was my thought too. How about open-ended questions, “How are you feeling?” with open ended listening. I had a C Section with an 11 pound baby and no labor after 2 attempted inductions. I had the most positive doctor who finally gave up to the pressure from the nurses, other OB’s, the head of nursing, and a hospital administrator who threatened to throw me out of the hospital. So I unhooked myself and went home. My water had been broken for 3 days, and my contractions were very, very mild, about every 5-6 hours for a bit.

    I stayed home for another day, with my doctor calling me, the midwife checking in on me. Still no labor.

    So I went back to the hospital, they got a team together and he was out in about an hour. I have never been the same. They sedated me after he was out because they didn’t want me to talk or cry. I had a seizure on the table and almost died which they blamed on me and my stubbornness.

    The nasty atmosphere around me and my baby was palpable. One nurse stood at the door and pushed his isolette across the room and said, “You spoiled him, now you get up and feed him.” And walked out.

    They sabotaged my breast feeding at every turn, and finally my doctor’s wife came and helped me.

    It was the worst thing I’ve ever encountered in my life and I had severe post partum depression. At home, more people abused me because of my choices and my depression. The day I called my husband to come home and take all the knives out of the house, we called my mother, packed me and the baby up, and I spent 6 weeks with my parents. I don’t know what I would have done otherwise.

    It took me a full year to finally recover my health, my spirit and my heart and trust for other people. All of the things above were said to me in the “what not to say” and believe me, it wasn’t what was said, by how and why. My whole process of having my son was subverted by people who had no personal investment in his birth. When I went back to work (in an Infant program for infants with disabilities) I could barely work. I saw so many women who had been uncared for or cared for poorly, that I began to see the poor state of care from women in a whole new light. It was really my compassion for other women and the care and compassion they gave me, that finally pulled me back to myself.

    The real problem with a C-Section is that the spinal fluid becomes somewhat unconductive and it takes about 3 years to clear. The other problem is that a bikini cut cuts across the 3 main meridians of your subtle bodies and you are without your most vital energies for as long as they take to reconnect if they ever do, or for your energy field to acquire a new route, a new way of moving your most potent energies up and down again.

    I was fortunate that I knew a healer who was able to do this for me at 3 years, and I have never, ever been so bad since that time. I watch famous celebrities, like Brittney fall into drug use, insanity, because you just cannot get back to yourself by yourself. She couldn’t even dance and didn’t know it, because her subtle body connection had been lost.

    It breaks my heart, they way we are treated by people who, in my opinion, are more concerned about being right and being blameless than my having a positive experience and a healthy baby who is able to nurse.

    I am angry about it still. And while I don’t act it out, I cannot budge this feeling whenever I think about it. It was 26 years ago.

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    babydickey Reply:

    Wow. Your comment made me start crying… I’m so sorry for what you went through! I can’t believe the nurse did that… and how everyone made you feel so terribly. (Well, sadly, I can believe it, but.. wow). It just shouldn’t be that way and it’s a shame that it is. It gives me hope to hear that you recovered (spirit and heart) after a year… I’m almost to the 1 year mark and am still so so angry and still have major trust issues. I am not there yet, I am not fully recovered yet.

    What kind of healer?? How would I go about finding one in my area??

    It breaks my heart too, still nearly every day. Thank you for your post and sharing your story! ((hugs)) mama!

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  • Bonnie

    And when I hear or read “at least you had a healthy baby”….I wonder, sometimes outloud…what do you say to the woman who has a cesarean and a stillbirth, or a cesarean knowing her baby isn’t healthy. And in the big picture, What do we say when the baby isn’t healthy? Well at least WHAT?

    In some communities, that value gender over babies…that comment of “well at least its healthy” was used for meaning “I’m sorry you didn’t get a son”. Think about that the next time you use it.

    [Reply]

    babydickey Reply:

    love it! I didn’t know that.. its use for gender preference.

    [Reply]

  • Kim

    I think a good rule of thumb is to simply listen to the mother and ask, “How did you feel about your birth?” and support HER feelings and interpretation of it. You can’t stamp a general description on any kind of birth! For example, my first daughter was delivered c-section after 20 hours in labor (and ALMOST making it out on her own). The recovery — was SO easy. My second daughter? A terrifying, precipitous birth that included an ambulance ride, shoulder dystocia, and manual removal of the placenta: all in two hours. And the most agonizing recovery I could have imagined. In each case, I was glad to have my daughters delivered safely — but the experiences were vastly different. And that is what needs to be respected – how the mother feels about it.

    [Reply]

    Stephanie Reply:

    Yes, you got it right. That is the whole point.

    [Reply]

  • Good post. Weirdly, I don’t know anyone who has had a c-section. LOL @ “C-section babies are prettier”, but really, it’s true that they don’t have a vaginally cone-shaped head.

    I think that most people have at least some regrets in regards to their birth whether they had a section or vaginal birth.

    [Reply]

    Bonnie A. Reply:

    Dear Janine,

    …the cone-head thing is VERY temporary. My daughter’s SCAR on her scalp from GOUGES during the c-section is permanent. THANK GOD it wasn’t her FACE that impatient, incompetent S/OB made three 1/4″ deep gouges in! If I had not been so naive, I would have sued. I would have taken a CONE-HEAD any day of the week! NOT FUNNY! No “LOL” here.

    Your follow-up comment re: regrets either way, is also on my list of THINGS NOT TO SAY.

    I would suggest you go to the ICAN link below and start to educate yourself BEFORE you end up in the O.R. to have your baby, which is a fate I wouldn’t wish upon any woman. With a c-section rate over 30%, and you not knowing anyone who had one, it could be YOU next! Not to scare you, but statistically that is quite possible.

    LINK: http://www.ican-online.org/index.php

    Sincerely,
    Bonnie

    [Reply]

    Janine Reply:

    I sincerely apologize, as the cone head remark was a complete joke. Obviously to suggest one birthing method would yield a better looking child is absurd.

    That said, I don’t think I am out of line to say that regrets happen with all types of birth. In fact, I think it is terribly unfair to suggest that someone with a vaginal birth could not be as unhappy with her birth as a c-section mama. It is all very personal. While I WAS happy with my vaginal birth, I don’t think that c-section mamas are the only ones allowed to complain about how things went.

    Again, I am truly sorry if I offended you. I’ve never been in your situation and was in no way making a judgment.

    [Reply]

    Bonnie A. Reply:

    Thank you, Janine,

    I appreciate your additional comments. As I believe I mentioned elsewhere on this page, birth is not a joking matter to me, nor to very many women who have had a truly traumatic birth experience.

    Actually, I completely agree that vaginal birth (especially in a medical context) can be very unsatisfying or even traumatic, and I didn’t really mean to say you shouldn’t have a right to complain. In the brevity of your comment, however, you seemed to be lacking in sensitivity to the differences between the aftermath of a c-section vs. vaginal birth.

    To illustrate: after my HBAC, I was THRILLED to be able to casually lean over and pick up a dropped towel from the bathroom floor *without PAIN*. It was a big deal.

    Again, thanks for your reply.
    Bonnie

    [Reply]

    Kay Reply:

    I know this post is a couple years old, but I still wanted to interject. She wasn’t laughing at you. She was laughing that anyone would believe that C-section babies are prettier because that’s a silly belief, at least that’s what I gathered from it. No need to get upset. No offense, but your reply is kind of harsh. Also, the problems with your birth experience aren’t her fault. You seem to not be very sensitive to vaginal birth traumas. I feel like you are getting a bit too angry for what seemed like a pretty benign and harmless post. Oh well, that’s the nature of the internet I guess. There’s no need to get upset. Everyone is here because we’re on the same page about being sensitive to new mothers. There is such a thing as being overly-sensitive though and that could push you away from people who really do agree with you. That’s my two cents anyway. I’m not trying to mean or anything, I just didn’t see Janine’s post as offensive or a cause for provocation.

    [Reply]

  • Bonnie A.

    I had 2 c-sections and a home birth. I won’t go into all that here. Whenever I learn of a new mom/new baby born, I nearly ALWAYS ask: How did the birth go? or how is the Mom doing? and then I LISTEN.

    Then depending on the reply, I say “I celebrate EVERY vaginal birth, since the cesarean rate is so out of control.” OR, “Oh, I’m sorry. If you would like information on cesarean support, there is an organization called the International Cesarean Awareness Network that helped me heal and learn more about birth.” If receptive I give them the ICAN online website.

    I have learned MUCH about birth, the HARD way. I like to share what I can with whoever wants to know more. I also ask that people not joke about birth around me, since it is serious business to me.

    Good luck ladies! Birthing blessings to you all!

    [Reply]

    Emily @ Baby Dickey Reply:

    Thank you!

    Definitely agree, birth is a hot topic with me as well and I don’t do well around people that joke about it!

    [Reply]

  • Both lists were great!

    I read all of the comments too which were also great. I wanted to agree with a few commenters who said to ask “how do you feel about the birth?” I think a birth story is something every woman is entitled to share without feeling judgements from others. And those listening should just LISTEN.

    [Reply]

  • I usually just say, “How did it go? What was the reason for the c-section? How do you feel about it?” And then let my friend talk. If they ask for advice or support, I’m all over that, of course. πŸ˜‰

    Anything else, in my opinion, is a little presumptuous. People feel how they feel!

    [Reply]

  • I’m a blogger professionally and I observed your article for being extremely fascinating and distinct. Great job for the content, and I’ve just became subscribed for any blog. Hope you do the same for me.

    [Reply]

  • Kare

    I have had two sections and am headed for my third in less than three weeks. I am always saddened when I hear of mothers who have had such a hard time with theirs. It never really bothered me to have had one (or two or three). I would never say it to another mother who is struggling, but I honestly do feel that as long as my baby was healthy, I’m fine with it. I never felt like I failed, or anything remotely close. Granted my story isn’t horrific like some of those posted here.
    I wish all on this thread peace with their past births and success with any in the future.

    [Reply]

    babydickey Reply:

    I envy you, Kare! I truly wish I felt at peace with my c-section and that what happened didn’t bother me. Congrats on your third little one!!!

    [Reply]

  • […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Toni Raquel and Beth MacKenzie. Beth MacKenzie said: RT @Preparing4Birth: What not to say to a cesarean mama a response by a mom blogger. http://fb.me/MhultgM8 […]

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