I start debating what I want to share and what I should keep quiet about. I gauge how sensitive the person I’m speaking to is and what would potentially upset or offend them. I put my own thoughts and feelings aside to preserve the person sharing their birth story with me. I do this because my experience is unlike any other woman’s who I’ve spoken to. I had an elective C-section.
In a world that has a population that is 49.6% female, I know that statistically, I can’t be the only one who has made this choice. Maybe other women who have made the same choice also feel that they should keep it to themselves. But, we’re all mothers and we should all be proud of the path we chose to follow when birthing our children.
My choice wasn’t a difficult one; it was one I made years ago. When I learned about where babies come from, I thought, “Nope!” When sharing my thoughts and feelings in my early 20s, I unanimously received the same response, “You’ll feel differently when you get pregnant.” I was skeptical but kept an open mind. I’d never been pregnant so how could I, or the person I was having a conversation with, possibly know how I’d feel when someday I was with child.
The day I received a positive pregnancy test came about four years ago. I didn’t second guess myself or my elective C-Section decision for a second. If anything, now more than ever I wanted it. No C-Section, no baby. To everyone who thought I was bonkers for feeling this way or who thinks I’m bonkers while reading this, I think you are just as bonkers as you think I am.
Maybe, like me, women who are in favor of elective C-sections keep their thoughts to themselves to preserve the feelings of others. Maybe I am simply in the minority. From my experiences, I’ve found that a majority of women want natural childbirth, with drugs. Some women even go to the extreme of thinking you’re not really a mother unless you’ve given birth to a child the way that you’re “supposed to.” To them, I have nothing to say but, go f*ck yourself.
To everyone who gave me or continues to give me shocked looks or disapproving glances, I don’t blame you. I get it, this is a very personal decision that affects both mother and child. My OB/GYN and I discussed in detail the pros and cons of both natural childbirth and C-sections. My pregnancy was uncomplicated, there was no medical reason for me to choose one form of childbirth over the other. It was completely up to me. Childbirth and C-sections are both traumatic to the body and the baby in their own ways.
Curious about my birth story? As you may have deduced, it was easy and amazing. I had my elective C-section one week prior to my due date to minimize the chances of going into labor before the C-section was scheduled. My family, who lives across the country, was there. We all relaxed the night before, laughing and enjoying time together.
In the morning, my husband, mom, and I got up early and headed to the hospital. I got up a little extra early, to do my hair and makeup. I was hardly sleeping anyway, so why not occupy my time and look fabulous in pictures. Luckily, everything went according to plan. The procedure began at 7:30 a.m. and at 8:18 a.m. my little girl was born. I held her immediately and we enjoyed a few moments of skin-to-skin contact. It’s cliché to say, but it was an incredible moment.
A little while later, the entire family got to meet and hold her. You may be thinking, that’s great, I’m sure it was all a fairytale until you had to get up. I have a pretty high tolerance for pain so maybe my opinion is skewed, but I didn’t think getting up to walk around was unbearably painful. It was more difficult than anything, my body simply didn’t want to move in the ways I wanted it to. I did have my guts rearranged like Drew Barrymore in the opening sequence of Scream after all. I was happy and healthy and as far as I could tell, my newborn was too. Newborns don’t tend to share their thoughts and feelings so I can’t say for sure.
Overall, it was an experience that I look back on fondly. There was no telling my husband, “You did this to me!” There was no significant pain. There was no unintentional pooping. It was truly pleasant, and dare I say, enjoyable.
Will I continue to debate whether I should share my story or not the next time a birth story discussion begins? Or, will I feel confident sharing it? I’m not sure what I’ll do. I am sure that I’m proud of myself and the decision that I made. I am just as strong as all of the women who willingly suffered during the birth of their child. I applaud all women and their bravery during childbirth no matter what their birth plan. They did what was best for them and their babies, I did what was best for my baby and me.