In Praise of the C-Section

This article talks about the good stuff associated with having to have a c/s. Mainly, a living baby.

The article raises a lot of issues for me – mainly because I still feel crap about not experiencing the labour I had imagined. And worse, experiencing a procedure that was about as far from the what I had imagined as it could be. Of course, having a live baby is very important, of course I would be feeling a lot worse today if I didn’t have the squishy guy around, of course I acknowledge that his life is of primary importance.

But if, for a second, we can separate the outcome for Inigo, and the outcome for me, the C/S was a horrible experience for me. Still 18 months later, I think of those minutes of fear, and huddles of medical personnel, the haste which overcame the importance of treating me like a person instead of a host organism, the LOSS OF CONTROL, and I can’t read that article dispassionately.

And when I hear of someone cheerfully planning a C/S, being upbeat about the positives (I can make dinner for my husband before I go in to the hospital!), I feel sick inside. I’m sure that a rational me would be fine about all of this – but that’s the point. I lost that rational part of me in the confusion 18 months ago, and I don’t know where to find it again.

I’ve bought “Birth Crisis” by Sheila Kitzinger, now I just have to psyche myself into reading it.

3 thoughts on “In Praise of the C-Section”

  1. The article said she felt terrified before her third c-section because she knew that things could still go wrong. She didn’t seem cheerful about it. To me she sounds like she’s in denial.
    “I have a baby so everything is fine, just fine” (twitch, twitch) even though she was too traumatised by earlier births to go for VBAC.

    What i got out of the article was that even a scheduled c-section is scary. So no wonder you feel/felt awful!

    I hope the book helps.

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  2. Read a heap on the medicalisation of childbirth for a couple of undergrad courses. Scary, scary stuff.
    Emily Martin talks extensively about the kind of thing you experienced in her The Women in the Body: A Cultural Anaylsis of Reproduction. (Beacon Press: Boston 1987)and I have a historian friend whose work is largely on childbirth and motherhood and medical intervention.

    And good lord I am such an academic. Ignore me.

    But yes my point is, I have be scared off childbirth for life!

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  3. A traumatic childbirth experience (either via c/s or a vaginal birth) can stay with you and have a big impact. I am still traumatised by the very medicalised birth of my first, more than 13 years ago. I think it’s only natural that you are affected by it and I think you should give yourself permission to try and work through the experience. The joy of having your Inigo is not diminished by your need to grieve over the loss of the birth you had hoped for and anticipated you would have, the two are separate. I haven’t read that Sheila book but I love her and I am sure it will be a good starting point for your healing. I think the author of that article needs to do some healing too.

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