As I write this letter about c-sections to the pregnant mom out there, I realize I wish I was reading it when I found out about my very first pregnancy 16 years ago. You see, I’ve since had 3 beautiful, healthy, amazing kids, and as I look back now, I realize the enormous pressure I put on myself whilst pregnant about how my childbirth with each child was going to go.
Here’s the thing though, there is way more pressure raising these kiddos and giving them a happy, healthy, and safe life than the actual way they came into this world. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not going to sit here and tell a newly pregnant mom that she shouldn’t spend time on her birth plan or that her worries over childbirth and delivery aren’t something to be taken thoughtfully. I’m simply saying sometimes we can’t plan everything, and I will even add an encouragement to this and say: You don’t have to be afraid of a c-section if it ends up being your delivery journey. So with this in mind…
Dear newly pregnant mom-to-be, here’s my story.
During our first pregnancy, I was 24 years old. I was a young, mentally and emotionally naive mom-to-be. I planned EVERYTHING, you know, because I had all this extra time (something I miss still). The baby’s and my hospital bags were completely packed by the 7th month, and the baby’s shopping list was completed by the 8th month. The birth plan was looked over by my husband, doctors, and every close friend and family member. We were ready… until the 37th week of pregnancy when I was told all of our planning didn’t matter. We needed to schedule a c-section. “Your baby boy is breached, and we can’t turn him, so unless he turns himself, we need to schedule one to be on the safe side.”
The best-laid plans went out the windows and were quickly replaced by fear. As my doctors and my own diligent research tried to ease my worries, other feelings quickly started to surface: Anxiety, sadness, even shame. Family and friends made comments that made me feel inadequate as a new mom, calling into question how my beautiful baby boy entered the world. Worst of all, I felt there was a quiet stigma about c-sections that I didn’t expect that left me feeling terrible.
When I left the hospital with my newborn on the fourth day after his birth, I was completely clueless. I wondered why anyone would let me – an inexperienced woman who just had major surgery – leave with a perfectly healthy baby. I clearly didn’t know what the heck I was doing, and my husband didn’t either. But together, thankfully, we figured it out!
As the years went by, we added to our family. We had two girls, six years apart. Both were scheduled c-sections, yet neither made it to their due dates. Each of my girls came prematurely at 35 weeks, and again my best-laid plans were not meant to be. However, with these pregnancies, things were different. I was different. I was experienced, strong, and more mature. I decided for myself that not one person would tell me that having a c-section was a lesser way of giving birth.
I made the decision to love myself and my incredible body for bringing my 3 beautiful children into the world. No matter how it had to happen. And I realized, I was a bad-ass mom: I took care of a toddler and a newborn with a belly full of stitches. Right? Now, when I look at my c-section scar on my lower abdomen, I am proud of it. Because I am no less of a mother because of it.
So dear newly pregnant mom-to-be, I ask you to be open with your birth plan, whether it is a natural delivery, c-section, home birth, or any other way you get to bring a baby into this world… that in itself is magic!