Mom's Candid List of Reasons Why a C-Section Is Not the 'Easy Way Out' Is a Must-Read
With an estimated 1 in 3 births happening via c-section, there are a lot of moms out there who are all too familiar with the fear, long recovery and, yes, often guilt that comes with not delivering your baby the “natural” way. And yet, some people still consider this delivery method (which, to be clear, is considered a major surgery) to be the “easy way out” when it comes to childbirth. Which is why we’re so appreciative of this mother’s extremely honest post about the realities of having a c-section. As she explains, not only is the procedure hard on your body—it can also be a super awkward experience.
The whole thing started when Sophie McCartney, a mom of two and the author behind the “brutally honest” parenting blog Tired ‘N Tested, shared a Facebook photo of her daughter, Evelyn, taken just seconds after she was delivered via c-section. In the caption McCartney explained that, while the photo used to make her feel ashamed, she is finally at a place where she can look at the picture and feel proud.
“This is my daughter’s very first photograph—bloody, furious, and taken just seconds after she was delivered via an emergency section,” she writes in the caption. “Destiny conspired against me, deciding my 16 hour labor, along with 45 minutes of eye-popping pushing (which resulted only in the birth of the previous night’s sausage casserole) would not end in the natural delivery I had so desperately hoped for (shakes angry fist at birthing plan).”
That’s right, like many moms, McCartney was progressing toward a vaginal birth when circumstances beyond her control demanded that surgery had to happen. Fortunately, everything went well and McCartney was able to take home her healthy baby girl soon after. But later, when she told a friend what had happened and her friend responded by making a well-intentioned joke, McCartney says she started re-thinking her c-section.
“A friend of mine, yet to embark on parenthood, recently joked that when she gives birth she will be opting for the ‘easy way’ out: choosing a cesarean over natural,” McCartney says. “This got me thinking—well, first I laughed a sort of psychotic serial killer-esque laugh—but then I started contemplating, s it really the easy way out…?”
She goes on to explain that, while she doesn’t blame her friend for her insensitive remark—“it’s just one of those misconceptions people have before they find themselves in a certain situation”—she did wonder why people assume c-sections are “easy.”
“There seems to be an odd assumption that having a c-section is some sort of magical and pain-free alternative to natural childbirth,” she says. “Granted, if it’s planned you can eliminate contraction pains and a lot of the vomit/poo/indignity that goes with a natural labor, but you still have to undergo major surgery…AWAKE (in most cases).”
Plus, it’s just plain awkward.
“Yes, there’s a big blue sheet—but what the heck is happening on the other side of it?! Two people rummaging in your trunk as though they’ve lost their phone down the back of a sofa cushion, is unpleasant at best. And once it’s over, and you’ve gone through the horror of not being able to feel your legs for a couple of hours—what then?”
She goes on to elaborate on some of the other post-delivery issues that come with having a c-section, including painful catheters, suppositories and having to wear those unattractive surgical stockings to name a few. Not to mention that “breastfeeding, changing nappies and picking up a crying child is tricky when you can hardly move your own body,” she says. “I personally struggled having a conversation with my father-in-law as my wee trickled into a bag next to his foot—awkward to say the least.”
Which is why, for McCartney, sharing the photo and writing the post was cathartic.
“Along with physical damage (can we all say ‘c-section shelf’), there’s also mental trauma, as with any form of birth,” she explains. “The photograph with this post is now one of my favorites, but it didn’t used to be…It used to be a memento of my failings…a reminder that I hadn’t done things ‘properly.’
“Yeah I went there…‘Properly’? Blooming ridiculous, I know,” she says. “At the time, there was a rational part of my brain saying, ‘It doesn’t matter how she arrived, she’s alive.’ However, there was also a louder non-rational part that harbored feelings of guilt and inferiority. Although my husband and I now joke and high-five about being ‘honeymoon fresh,’ at the time I definitely felt less of a mum because I didn’t push her out of my faff, or experience the ‘burning ring of fire’ (apologies to anyone who now has Johnny Cash stuck in their head).”
But then she remembered this: “Reflectively, if nature had done as it intended my children and I wouldn’t be here, so what’s the point in feeling guilty about that? I should feel lucky, and now I finally do.”
And honestly that’s how she—and every mom—should feel: lucky. Because, as McCartney concludes near the end of her post, there is no easy way to deliver a baby, no matter how you do it.
“Hate to be the bearer of bad news folks, but I’ve come to the conclusion there’s no easy way to birth,” she says. “What goes up must come down, albeit nine months later and slightly heavier. There’s just no getting away from pain, scars, complications and a hefty dose of indignity. But if everyone comes out of it healthy, happy and alive, who really cares?”
Amen to that!
If you’re wondering what to expect in the event of a c-section, head on over here to read more.