For many women who end up having a C-section there is a huge sense of disappointment for the preferred birth that they had planned. What they had dreamed about for months leading up to the day gets snatched away. I know because I am one of them.
I’ve had three C-sections to deliver my three gorgeous children. None of my C-sections were my preference but I agreed to them to birth my children safely. I struggled over the years coming to terms with my status as a C-section Mum. I felt I failed (I didn’t). I felt less of a mother (I’m not). I felt as though somehow I didn’t do what nature intended to give birth (I was brave enough to change course).
One thing I am certain of though is the fact that despite my three children deciding an alternative entrance to the world, I am a Mother. And a good (not perfect) one. How does my mode of delivery affect my ability to be a mother? It doesn’t. Which is why I get a little riled up when I see people say that mums who have had C-sections are not real mums. What are we then? Fake mums? How can I carry a child in my body for 9 months, allow that baby to enter the world safely and not be a Mum.
Hell, you don’t even have to carry a baby in your body to be a great Mum. There are women all over the world being great mums everyday who didn’t physically birth their child but they are very much mothers. It is an insult to say otherwise.
Of course there is the well-known case of C-section mum shaming which came from a (vile) Facebook group (I won’t give them the satisfaction of giving their name) who basically stated that C-section mums took the easy way out (yes getting sliced open and having a baby pulled out of you while awake, before being handed a baby to mind is a sinch!).
I am very proud of the fact that I put myself on an operating table, allowed someone to cut my body open and deliver my child as I gave up my dream of doing it the way I wanted to. I am sure that was my first act of true motherhood.
The other point that seems to go hand in hand for C-section mums not being Mothers is that C-section mums did not give birth. Rather our babies are just extracted. To verify this one I checked up the Oxford Dictionary:
Definition of give birth in English:Bear a child or young: she gave birth to a sonSource: http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/english/give-birth
Bear a child. Forgive me if I am mistaken but I am pretty sure I bore a child. I bore three of them. I know because I have very clear memories of their time in my womb, I have scan pictures too. Now they are right here in my house. They are real. I checked. Something happened between them being in my womb and being in my house. I am pretty certain that is called “giving birth”.
All of my children have a date of birth. The form doesn’t ask what their date of extraction was. Every year I celebrate their birthday, I’m not sure Hallmark have cottoned on to “Happy Extraction Day”. So I’m going with the fact that I gave birth.
There were moments when I did feel as though I didn’t give birth, because it wasn’t the way that the majority of women deliver their children, but does being in the minority make it lesser? Or just different. A problem lies in the terminology. Calling a vaginal birth a natural birth (yes, I know it’s what nature intended) seems to lead to the conclusion that a C-section is therefore unnatural and somehow not birth. I accept it is a clinical procedure but it still results in a baby entering the world.
It makes me sad when I hear of people who have had a C-sections not belive they have given birth.
As I watch my three children grow up there is always a pang of wondering what it is like to feel a baby come of my vagina. If even one of my babies was born vaginally I don’t think my early disappointment would have existed. At the end of the day however that one single day in my children’s life, while always marked by their annual birthday, does not form them as a person, nor does it form me as a mother. I’m pretty sure if you asked any of my children, they will confirm that they were born and that I am a great mum (most of the time!).