Scars remind us where we've been. They don't have to dictate where we're going

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

On the natural cesarean

Well, today's post was supposed to be a "what if wednesday" feature (I guess the explanation on that will have to wait until next week), but instead I am going to have to go ahead and address the natural cesarean controversy I see playing out in the NCB community right now.

You know how women like to joke about men whipping out their penises and comparing them to each other?  Well, guess what ladies? We do the same thing...except with our cervixes (yes, that is the correct pluralization of cervix...I googled. Also acceptable "cervices," but I'm getting off topic here).  There seems to be some sort of weird competition amongst some women about who is closer to Mother Earth through their vagina or something.

"Oh, you birthed in a hospital?? Hospitals are for sick people....I did it in a birthing center."

"A birthing center?? Why did you even leave home? I had my baby in my living room."

"Your living room?? I dropped my baby in my garden and immediately picked my hoe back up and got right back to work."

And a lot of times, in all this infighting, the women who have had cesareans are made to feel less than because we haven't yet reached that almighty grail so somehow we have failed as women, right?

Look, we have an innovative and thoughtful procedure through which a kinder, gentler cesarean for both mother and baby can occur.  I sure wish this was available when I delivered (I won't even get into the arguments about who "delivers" a baby during a cesarean) A in 2008.  And whether I wanted to call it natural, mom/baby centered, or what the hell ever, I would dare anyone to correct me on the semantics of my birth.

Can a cesarean ever be a natural birth? No, but you know what else isn't natural? Some women and their babies surviving childbirth.  Because although the cesarean rate is entirely too high and we need to work on lowering it, the fact of the matter is that cesareans often save lives.  Too often I see the cesarean blanketly vilified for no other reason than because it is a cesarean and that is counterproductive.  In order to effectuate change, we must not continue polarizing women and pitting ourselves against one another.  I am not less than because I have had two cesareans--in fact, it is likely that I am a better woman for both these operations.

I want a vaginal birth for so, so many reasons, but I assure you none of them is so that I can whip out my giant cervix in the bathroom at a party and say to another woman, "Now show me yours."


  1. awesome :) your blog inspired me to do one, but i cant find the time to update presently. haha. p.s. this is Lauren ;)

  2. Lauren, I am so glad you are here!! :) And blogging! Your BIG HBAC is such an inspiration :) Link me when you get a chance so I can follow when you update :)

  3. I agree. I think that 'natural' cesarean, I tend to not use due to trying to avoid the chance a mamas hears it and thinks 'oh, natural, I can have a scheduled 39 weeks CS just because I'm tired of being pregnant and it's still 'natural' so it must be safe'. I hope no woman truly thinks this, but, just in case, I choose the terminology 'gentle' cesarean.

    Yes, the do save lives (I know this first hand). And you are right, we do need to bring it down. I think that it would be a start, on the flip side of my first point, that if every mama who chose an elective CS had this gentle/natural cesarean, that babies and mamas would be better off than having a typical, medicalized, cold cesarean. I wish more babies and mamas had prompt, close, gentle, skin to skin, oxytonic, sweet, breastfed moments directly after their cesareans.

  4. Right, Ruth. It is still important to educate (and we probably need to work on the education given as well!), but I am on all these facebook pages where it has just turned into anytime someone mentions it, 2398439 women chime in with "well, that's not natural and never will be." And then you almost feel the c/s mamas' sorrow in their replies sometimes :( It really breaks my heart that it is playing out this way.

    And I only hope that this becomes more readily available as well. I am pretty sure the doctors would have looked at me like I had two heads if I had mentioned it!