I didn't feel like a mother
During my whole pregnancy, I took for granted that I would have a “natural” birth. Until, that is, I was rushed down for an emergency caesarean. While I felt things crumbling around me, I realised I had no choice. These were my options: Have the emergency caesarean. Or have my baby die inside of me.
The next month was the most painful I had encountered. Trying to look after your newborn while you have twenty five stitches going from hip to hip is no easy task! Every movement, every cough, every laugh, moving your arm too high in the air, getting up, sitting down, they all came with incredible pain.
But my caesarian made me feel cheated
After my emergency caesarian, physically I was fine – but my caesarian made me feel cheated. I didn’t get the wonderful natural birth that you see on on television – the one where the mother is exhausted, but so happy, baby is placed on your belly, and you have “that moment”.
My caesarian made me feel like I didn't birth my child.
A week on, a month on, a few months on and I still felt cheated. I felt like a fraud when people discussed their “natural” (vaginal) births. A few months on and I couldn’t bring myself to say “I gave birth to her”, the closest I could say was “When she was born”.
It took a few months of cajoling myself to be able to utter the words “I gave birth to…”. I was really still just toying with the words at that point. I still felt like a fraud but wanted to just keep saying it till it felt normal. Then it happened. During a pleasant conversation with someone I responded to something with
“WELL I DID GIVE BIRTH TO HER!”
And their immediate comment back, made in jest, no harm meant was “Well you didn’t ACTUALLY give birth to her did you…!”
THOSE WORDS BROKE ME.
It took a while to be able to articulate to myself why that had hurt so much. And it took a lot of self care to heal from it. Then the next step was to go back to that person and to explain to them why what they said was so damaging. Saying it out loud to them actually helped massively. It helped to convince myself too, and validate my feelings. Every time I said it it felt better, and I felt stronger. So this is what I would like to say to all the mommas who may be feeling like I did after having an emergency caesarian.
An elective caesarian, or emergency caesarian is still giving birth to your child
Your child was BORN. Whether your child came out through the tunnel or the sunroof, whether you did it yourself or needed somebody or a team of people to help, your child came out. He was in, then he was out.
He was birthed. From YOUR body. YOU birthed him. YOU gave birth to him.
In fact you birthed him HARD. He didn’t come through the traditional way, you agreed to be cut open, cut through layers of fat, muscle, and abdominal cavity to have your baby safely with you. If that isn’t being a willing and active part of the birth, I don’t know what is.
People need to understand that all birth is birth. If baby is earthside, they were birthed. Can you help me to help others understand? If nothing else then to spare the feelings of someone who one day is going to be at their most vulnerable having to hear something so cutting that it feels like it’s torn their heart open.
Momma you gave birth to your baby. Keep saying it. Never forget it. If you’re faced with someone who has not experienced it and says that ultimately stupid thing, don’t let it affect you. You know you birthed your baby. Educate them so that they don’t say that stupid thing again to someone else when they’re at their most vulnerable.
One last thing. If you’re a momma who ended up with an caesarian section, you’re more than a mother.