My view on birthing choices is that parents need to make informed decisions and be able to trust their birthing professionals to honour those choices as far as it is safe to do so. I had planned on a natural birth at Genesis clinic, my midwife has a very low caesar rate, and to this day seems to be more distressed about having made the call than I am. (She does not however doubt that it was the right one…when we were discussing it at a later stage she says that in all of the caesars that she has called she has only ever doubted the call once).
Ordinarily I stay away from the natural versus caeserean birth debates, but the other day someone on Facebook posted a link to a news24.com “article” (which in my view seemed to largely be a copy-paste of a press release) with the statement:
The kind of birth experience you have GREATLY affects your confidence as a new mother and may have long-term consequences for your children, the choices you make for them with respect to feeding, schooling and more. A physiological birth sets a woman up to be an EMPOWERED mother. Sorry gals, but a Caesar robs you and your baby of so much and should only be considered when a life is at risk.
My immediate posted response was: I think that the parents need to be comfortable with whatever decision and that it should not be based on what the doctor finds convenient. Having said that I had an unplanned caesar at around 1 o clock in the morning because baby was showing signs of going into distress. Empowering can mean choosing to caesar as well.
The original poster (we’ll call her X) caught some flak from people, including myself. X’s husband later responded to some of the comments saying that:
I think that X is being misunderstood here. Giving birth naturally is an empowering experience in itself. If you CHOOSE a Caesar you are robbing yourself of that empowering experience that comes with giving birth naturally. I am sure as those of you that have gone through Caesar will agree that it is not a great experience and I am sure that you will agree it didn’t leave you feeling great after. Is it possible if you think about it that this could have effected you mothering to a small degree for a short period after, some more than others as we don’t all experience thing the same? (sic)
I generally don’t move things from one forum from another, but I need to get this out of my system. I believe that we need to have better information around birthing choices, and some doctor’s behaviour borders on the unethical when it comes to how heavily they promote caesars (I know of someone who having previously had an uncomplicated normal vaginal delivery was told that her cervix was too short to be able to give birth naturally and when she went for a second opinion was misdiagnosed with a placenta previa and told that maybe she will be able to carry the baby to the end of the second trimester…she had an uncomplicated natural birth at 38 weeks).
Personally I had a beautiful caesar and I don’t for a moment think that it affected how I mothered Lucas. And I don’t think that any mother needs to hear that they are not empowered to mother their children. Becoming a mother (whether it is through pregnancy and a natural birth or cesarean or adoption) is what empowers you. Loving your children empowers you, not how they came into your world.
We need to stop doubting that how someone becomes a mother makes a difference to what matters: their love and commitment to their children. Every mother does the best that they can. Their best will be influenced by a myriad of factors, including, but not being limited to, the circumstances around giving birth, the circumstances around their pregnancy, their support system.
Hormones do play a role in mothering and bonding but they are not the be all and end all. At the end of the day we need to support mothers…it is a tough enough gig without implying that one way of becoming a mom is superior to another.
And so I conclude with a reminder of three truths about c-section mamas.
Love and birthing-wars,