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

Friday, April 15, 2011

On Giving Birth

Well, it happened again today--the question was posed whether a cesarean can or should be called a "cesarean birth."  Cue the natural birth fanatic mob descending to tell all us poor cesarean mothers that, while we mysteriously had these baby things removed from our bodies, we didn't actually give birth and the doctor delivered our children, justincaseyouwantedtocallitanythingelse, ok?  Followed by cesarean mothers giving justifications on why they had to have cesareans, how they feel so guilty about it and they wish things could have been different. Immediately followed by the benevolent "only ever had a baby out of my vagina and it just slid out painlessly and quickly because we "trusted birth" and you didn't" mothers patronizing to us poor, unfortunate souls who just weren't woman enough to get our babies out the vag.  Better luck next time--and make sure you do it vaginally and with no pain medication because that's how babies should be born.

Should.  I am really beginning to hate this word.  Since become entrenched in the natural birth and parenting world, it seems this word is mostly used to polarize women and create a weird sort of caste system amongst us.  At the top, you have the home/natural birthers and at the bottom, the cesarean mamas. Inbetween are sprinkled those who had pain medications (narcotics v epidurals v gas v what the hell ever), inductions, artificial labor stimulants, etc etc ad nauseum.

Birth should be powerful. Birth should be sacred.  Birth should be beautiful. Birth should be empowering.  None of those "shoulds" preclude a cesarean birth.

I think it's important that no one tells a cesarean mother how to feel about her birth, delivery, or whatever she wants to call it.  If you felt robbed of a beautiful birth, hurt by a lack of support or whatever, you deserve to get everyone's full support and understanding.  But at the same time, women who feel great about their cesareans shouldn't have people trying to make them feel poorly because their babies came to them that way.

I may not have all the answers on how to get my vaginal birth, but I know how not to get it.  And I won't get it by becoming so wrapped up in the end--a vaginal birth--that I don't focus on the journey to it.

And just in case you were wondering, I gave birth to both my sons.  Even the one I wasn't awake for.


  1. All moms should be proud of giving birth to new life. The manner of delivery should not matter; you nurtured your child for nine months, and that is something no one can take away from you. Again, cheers to all mothers!

    Chelsea Leis"

  2. Thanks for your comment, Chelsea. I've actually had a lot more time to reflect on this topic as I see it happen time and time again, and I actually see or hear flippant comments made (sometimes unintentionally) that underscore this general attitude that having a cesarean isn't giving birth. Then, I hear some cesarean moms saying they actually don't feel like they gave birth.

    What I've come to think is that it is really important not to make "should" statements when discussing birth, especially another woman's birth. So I felt like I gave birth to my kids and that's fine. Some mothers don't feel the same way about their own births and that's fine too. I think it's really important to honor every woman's own personal feelings about her own birth and not to project our own feelings on to others.

    And I am sure you didn't mean it the way it came across, but of course the manner of delivery matters. If it didn't, this blog wouldn't exist ;)