“I laid there in the hospital bed, just learning I would be having an emergency C-section. My first delivery was natural, and I never anticipated things going any other way with my second pregnancy.
I was already crushed because it was my second baby and my Mom wasn’t there. But I knew this had to be done so I was going to face it with my head held high, besides there was no other option.
That’s when a loving family member walked in and said ‘Oh this is just awful. I was praying you would not have to get a C-section. Nobody wants a C-section.’ The flood gates broke, and I sobbed uncontrollably. Was I a bad mom for having to get a C-section? Was I less of a mother because of how my baby was being delivered? It was the worst thing that could have been said to me at that moment.
Trust me, there are plenty more things I heard over the following days and months. Let me spare you the foot-in-mouth moment and tell all the things NOT to say to a mom about to have a C-section.
‘At least you won’t have to go through labor.’ Actually, this is wrong. With my second pregnancy that ended in an emergency C-section, we were unaware it would be needed. My baby flipped last minute turning breech. I labored for hours the entire day before, all through the night and the next day until I went into the hospital. With my third child, a scheduled C-section, I went into labor early the day before and waited it out at the hospital until the following morning for surgery. I was very dilated and refused an epidural because I knew more medication was to come during surgery. Trust me, I have labored with each.
‘I’m having a hard time deciding who I want in the delivery room with me.’ That must be a very nice problem to have. C-section moms do not get to pick and choose who comes in the surgery room with us. We get one person and for most we can’t record or take pictures until after baby is in recovery area with us. We don’t get to have someone in there taking pictures at most hospitals or have loving family members cheering us on. I remember crying over the time I wanted my husband and my best friend with me only to find out it wasn’t allowed in the operating room.
‘The baby is basically pulled out of you, no work.’ I’ve been told ‘You don’t have to do any pushing or anything, they just take that baby right out for a C-section.’ Nope, no pushing, I’m just lying there fully awake while I am being worked on. Just having a major surgery, no big deal
‘It’s only a small cut.’ I always found this one interesting. It’s a small cut that hurts and aches and stays numb for a very long time. It builds scar tissue that causes pain at random times. It’s a cut that I have to worry over and watch for weeks to make sure infection does not set in. Don’t get me wrong, I love my C-section scar, it reminds me that this body helped me carry a sweet baby no matter how they came into the world. It is a small scar, but there is so much more to it.
‘At least you don’t bleed as long as a natural birth does.’ We in fact do bleed for as long, many weeks. We still had a surgery and we were still carrying a baby just the same way as others that had a natural birth, so our bodies still do about the same thing.
I’m not embarrassed about my C-sections. I mean I’ve had major abdominal surgery twice and because of that I was able to bring two of my sweet boys into this world. I’m forever grateful
I’ve had a natural birth and I like being able to relate and share stories with both natural birth and C-section moms. Being a C-section mom can be a sensitive topic sometimes because the judgmental Nancy’s of this world can make it that way.
C-section moms still have birth stories and experiences just like other moms. Mine just might include an extra sheet, more medication, and a few more people in the room but in the end you and I both had the same end results, we became a mom.”
This story was written by Nikki Pennington of Grief To Hope with Nikki Pennington. Subscribe to our free email newsletter, Living Better—your ultimate guide for actionable insights, evidence backed advice, and captivating personal stories, propelling you forward to living a more fulfilling life.