Having a baby is an emotional time. It is a major life event. The mix of hormones and sleep deprivation makes it hard enough without adding the recovery from major surgery into the mix. It is like riding an emotional rollercoaster. Sometimes it can feel as though your emotions are out of control but rest assured it is very normal to experience a huge range of feelings post any birth but in particular a C-section delivery; especially if it was not the delivery method that you had planned. Here are just a few of the feelings you may have (in no particular order):
Elation– you’ve just had a baby, you are elated at finally meeting your little bundle and rightly so.
Anger – if your C-section was unplanned, or you feel it was un-necessary, you may feel angry. Angry with your body, angry with your caregiver or just angry with the world. Don’t hide your anger. Let you feelings out with a trusted partner, family member or friend.
Contentment – once the total elation wears off you will likely settle into a nice feeling of contentment. Just plain happy. Happy holding your new baby in your arms.
Disappointment – birth disappointment in C-section mums can be under recognised. We should just be happy that our baby was delivered safely but being disappointed is a very common feeling when you dream of a smooth vaginal delivery and you end up with the exact opposite. Don’t hide this feeling. It’s ok to be disappointed. Acknowledge it and allow yourself to be disappointed.
Spaced out – with a barrage of strong drugs you may feel spaced out. You are likely to be given morphine type medication to prevent severe pain following the birth. After months of not drinking alcohol during your pregnancy you suddenly feel as though you have downed a few shots.
Pain – despite the strong pain relief you may experience moments of pain and discomfort. Anyone who thinks that having a C-section is a way of avoiding pain while having a baby clearly hasn’t been cut wide open while awake, stitched back up and handed a newborn baby to take care of. Make sure to stay on top of any feelings of pain with adequate pain relief.
Irritation – with post birth hormones raging around your body you are likely to be irritable at times. Snapping at the nearest person over the most trivial of things (and maybe not so trivial). Add a bit of sleep deprivation into the mix and you might just need a “Stay clear” sign for those around you!
Exhaustion – any new mum will experience feelings of exhaustion as you care for your new baby around the clock. Trying to recover from major surgery is pretty tiring too so together a recipe for complete exhaustion.
Anxiety – being a mum for the first time can be terrifying. You are now responsible for this new tiny human. Totally normal to feel anxious about caring for your baby or anything happening it. Just don’t let such feelings get overwhelming or if they do make sure to seek medical advice.
Sadness – you may feel sad and probably cry. You may be sad that you did not have a vaginal delivery or you may just cry over nothing. Let those tears out. I cried my eyes out at midnight on New Years Eve 10 days after my first daughter was born by C-section; because clearly moving into a New Year is such an emotional time 🙂
Guilty – welcome to the world of motherhood guilt. An emotion that really is a waste of time when it comes to motherhood but very normal. You will feel guilty about everything. A first taste of motherhood guilt for a C-section mum may be guilt about your birth as you face a barrage of media articles about how you didn’t give your baby the right human microbiota or how your child will grow up to have asthma or be obese. Guilt has no right in your birth feelings. Banish it as best you can.
In awe – in moments of happiness you will likely stare for what seems like hours at your tiny newborn baby in complete awe that you not only made that person but they came out of your body. It’s a lovely feeling, but don’t forget to get some sleep!
Enjoy your new baby. Enjoy motherhood. It is a gift.
NB Note: While all of the above feelings are normal, if you find yourself unable to shake negative feelings, such as anxiety or disappointment or you feel your mood changing suddenly and frequently please make an appointment to see your medical provider. Post natal depression or Post traumatic stress disorder are common illnesses that need proper medical care and attention.