28 Apr Strength in my Scars
As this month comes to a close, it is important to realize April is Cesarean Awareness Month. The purpose is to highlight cesarean sections, educate the community on this type of surgery, and reduce the number of cesarean sections that occur annually. I chose to write on the subject not to educate people about what a c-section is or how you can minimize the occurrence of such a surgery. I want to dedicate this blog to all my fellow cesarean section mothers out there, who started their journey into motherhood with a scar, very similar to mine.
I will admit I am a proud c-section mother. Yes, I take pride in how I delivered my children, even though it was not ‘the natural way.’ I take pride in my story, because it’s the only one I have. I delivered both my children via cesarean. Before I even got pregnant nearly 8 years ago, I was prepared for a possibility of a c-section, because I have a long health history. I could go into all the details behind the decision to deliver this way, but, at the end of the day, my c-section should be accepted regardless of those reasons. After I delivered, I was able to hold my baby, do skin-to-skin, and breastfeed. I felt I was given the same rights as a mother who delivered vaginally. I honestly can’t look back and say I was robbed of a particular experience, other than knowing what a vaginal delivery would feel like.
There’s no justification for judging a person based on the way they delivered their child. I say this, because I am extremely aware that many mothers get criticized for it. I have friends who experience many discussions in which they are forced to defend the fact that they had a C-section and, further, justifying why they would repeat this procedure. These moms are made to feel they didn’t enter motherhood with the same credentials as someone who delivered vaginally. This might be news to some of you—the fact that there is judgment placed on c-section mothers. If you delivered vaginally, this type of conversation amongst others in the parenting community may not affect you. However, a woman who has delivered via c-section sometimes walks through the crossfires of debate. For instance, mothers are accused of taking the ‘easy way out.’ I find that to be a horrible thing to say to a person who underwent a significant surgery to deliver their child. Many women labor for hours or days, even push for an extended amount of time, before they are sent to the operating room to deliver their child via surgical route. We deal with post-operative pain and related medications, being exposed to possible side-effects from these drugs. Not to mention the incision that requires a longer healing time, accompanied by all the joys of having a new baby: lack of sleep, possibly other children to care for, a house to keep up with and a life that never really gets to be put on hold after such an extensive surgery. I’m not saying c-section moms deserve to be worshiped, but where’s the mutual respect? I’ve heard mothers speak with such a diminutive manner to mothers who have had a c-section, as if a vaginal delivery came with a throne and a crown. When I told fellow nurses about the minimal pain I experienced, one co-worker responded by saying, “Well you weren’t laboring, that’s why!” I think my look said it all, but I proceeded to say, “You’re right, there’s never pain when you have your abdomen cut open and all.” Why do we feel we have a right to judge the way a person delivers their child? There is no trophy mailed to us after we give birth to congratulate us on our method of delivery one way or another.
I’ve seen too many mothers shyly admit, in a soft spoken voice, “Yes, I had a c-section.” Don’t be shy! Stand tall with your birthing story. It may not be the norm in what society expects of us as mothers, because there is such a push for a more natural approach. Once you’ve already delivered, though, there isn’t a way of going back and changing the truth. We need to learn how to embrace our delivery method. c-section moms, please know how incredible you are, no matter how you delivered your child. Don’t allow someone to hear about your c-section and respond with, “Oh, I’m so sorry; I’m glad I didn’t deliver that way.” That’s the moment you can stand up for yourself and express how the experience proved your strength and how much your body can handle.
I wish there wasn’t this stigma associated and mothers felt comfortable with their c-section stories. I am not suggesting everyone should wish for a c-section. But for those who have already undergone one, I want them to feel acceptance in their story. I’ve spent time speaking to people on the matter and I assure them that it does not take away from their abilities as mother. We have to find comfort in the fact that we did what was best for our children and ourselves. For those who have never experienced a c-section, try to listen to their story. If you don’t understand why they may find the positive in it, try to remember that’s the only story they have. Respect what they’ve gained, instead of focusing on the natural delivery you may wish upon them. To all my c-section moms, may you find comfort in the fact you are not alone. Find strength in your scar, for it brought life into this world.
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