Shawn Johnson Reveals She “Felt Guilty” for Delivering via C-Section

“At 14 hours when I chose to get an epidural I felt guilty. At 22 hours when we were told I had to get a c section I felt like I had failed.”
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By Nehal Aggarwal, Editor
Updated November 8, 2019

For some women, c-section guilt is a very real thing. It’s often impossible to predict what’s going to happen in the delivery room, and, in some cases, things may not go as planned—making a c-section unavoidable. Olympic athlete Shawn Johnson had a very similar experience when she gave birth to her daughter last week, and she took to social media to open up about it.

In a recent Instagram post, Johnson revealed she spent 22 hours in labor, before welcoming her daughter with husband, fellow athlete Andrew East, via c-section. When, after 14 hours in labor, Johnson opted to take an epidural, she said she felt “weak.”

“I went in with such a stubborn mindset of thinking the only way I could bring our baby into the world was naturally. No meds no intervention,” she wrote in the caption of her Instagram post. “At 14 hours when I chose to get an epidural I felt guilty. At 22 hours when we were told I had to get a c section I felt like I had failed.”

“But after holding our sweet girl in my arms and being told everything went well and she had made it to us safely I could have cared less. My/our world no longer has anything to do with us but everything to do with her,” she continued. “Andrew East, I meant it in the hospital when I said you will forever be my number one but she will now forever be OUR number one together.”

Along with the Instagram post, the couple also posted a video about the delivery on their Youtube channel, where they have been documenting their entire pregnancy journey. The video starts with Johnson, 40 weeks pregnant, calling to schedule an appointment to induce labor.


It then moves to the hospital, where Johnson describes her contractions as “the worst period cramps you could ever have, every two to three minutes.” Right before taking the epidural, she tells East she’s upset because “should be able to do it naturally,” to which East simply says, “No.”

Coping with an unplanned c-section can be really hard, but it’s important to surround yourself with an empowering support system. At the end of the day, becoming a mom is an incredible journey—no matter how you get there.

If you or anyone you know is dealing with a c-section, read our tips for recovery.

Please note: The Bump and the materials and information it contains are not intended to, and do not constitute, medical or other health advice or diagnosis and should not be used as such. You should always consult with a qualified physician or health professional about your specific circumstances.

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