There’s this pervasive idea that c-sections are somehow the devil’s medicine, or worse, the easy way out. BAHAHAHARGHGH! Sorry. I shot part of my drink out of my nose there for a second.
As someone who has had three of them, I’m here to say, “How’s that now?” This mentality couldn’t be further from the truth. Not convinced? Allow me to dispel a few myths regarding c-sections for the lesser enlightened among us.
Misconception: Women who have c-sections do so because it’s easier than natural labor and delivery.
Riiiiiight. Because being strapped to an operating table in a manner similar to being tied to a crucifix and having one’s entrails taken out of one’s body and placed to the side while a surgeon risks puncturing the bladder and permanently damaging the baby maker as she digs around in one’s abdominal cavity to retrieve a baby safely – the mother mustering every ounce of energy to not throw up during this process for fear she will move a centimeter in the wrong direction and internally bleed to death from an errant slip of a surgical tool – is totally easier.
Childbirth is hard no matter which way you slice it (pun definitely intended). Each woman’s birth experience is unique to her. And for many women like me, the only thing easier than enduring a c-section is being slowly eaten alive by insects and rodents. In fact, I’ll take the insects and rodents the next time around. (Just kidding. There won’t be a next time after what I’ve experienced.)
Misconception: To have a c-section or not is always a mother’s choice.
I suppose having preeclampsia, the only cure for which is delivery of the baby regardless of whether or not it’s ready to come out; having a breech baby; and getting the cord wrapped around the baby’s neck during labor – all of which are reasons many women must have c-sections – are also a mother’s choice, right?
Please. This argument is tired. It’s not always within a woman’s power to decide whether or not she’ll need a c-section. And even if she does choose to have one for personal reasons, who cares? Is the baby here? Perfect. That’s all that matters. Her body, her choice.
Misconception: C-section recoveries are easier than natural birth recoveries.
I’ll concede that women who have had c-sections don’t have to battle torn vaginas for the rest of their lives. Instead, we get to battle three-inch scars just above our pubic bones and lifelong nerve pain and numbness in our lower abdomens. I don’t know about you, but neither of those side effects of delivery, whether by birth canal or surgery, sounds appealing to me. Everybody wins this pissing contest.
Misconception: If a woman can get pregnant naturally, she can have a baby naturally.
Must be that all those women of yore who died during childbirth before c-sections became commonplace were either knocked up unnaturally – via immaculate conception, perhaps? – or weren’t really human to begin with.
What kind of horse shit logic is this? I’ll tell you: it’s horse shit, not logic. Why do people who believe this crap think c-sections became a thing in the first place? Because women and babies were dying from complications during labor and delivery that could easily be avoided with a surgical procedure – one that has saved many lives over the years, including my babies’ and mine. (Apparently I don’t have “childbirthing hips.” But I do have the uncanny ability to become pregnant from simply walking past my husband in the hallway. OMG, maybe I’m not really a human after all!)
Misconception: Women who have c-sections aren’t interested in and/or miss out on bonding with their babies after birth.
Oh, STAHP IT. Many women who have c-sections are able to bond with their babies immediately or shortly after delivery. I wasn’t able to do so with my first two for a couple hours – my oldest because the medical team couldn’t get my pain under control and my second because he had to do a dime up in the NICU due to a stroke in utero – but I was able to pretty soon after delivery with my third. In fact, one of the ways they helped to alleviate my pain and regulate my baby’s breathing was through skin-to-skin contact after his birth.
And let me tell you, it was no less miraculous simply because he came out thanks to a scalpel.
Misconception: Women who have c-sections don’t have to deal with the pain of labor.
Oh, I wish this were the truth. Unfortunately, many women both have to labor and undergo major abdominal surgery.
I had to labor with all three of my babies, and while the first was an emergency c-section, the last two were planned in advance, and I still had to endure the pain of contractions – the second for several hours with no pain relief and the third for A WEEK. (Yes, a full week because he was only at 36 weeks gestation, and even though the labor wasn’t progressing, his condition wasn’t life-threatening enough to warrant delivery before he had reached early term. They don’t simply take babies out via c-section before 37 weeks because Mom’s uncomfortable.)
Misconception: People can and do get c-sections because they are tired of pregnancy or want their babies to be born on a certain date.
Having a c-section is not like scheduling a mani/pedi or an appointment for a cut and color. In order to perform a c-section, a doctor has to determine that the procedure is medically necessary, and even then, the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists do not approve of doctors scheduling a c-section prior to 39 weeks gestation except in emergent or life-threatening circumstances. (Remember that week-long labor of mine? YEAH.)
Misconception: A woman who has a baby via c-section hasn’t really “delivered” at all.
I am so confused about this one. Did the baby come out of her body? Then she delivered it. Period.
Look. Having a baby is no walk in the park regardless of how a woman does it, nor is there some conspiracy among c-section moms to somehow make the task as efficient and painless as possible.
Giving birth is hard work, whether that baby comes flying out of one’s vagina or gets yanked out of one’s uterus through an incision. Let’s stop spreading half-truths about each other’s experiences and just agree to congratulate our fellow moms for surviving the whole thing at all, shall we?