On Sunday we drove to a family gathering with a van fully loaded: the husband, the children, the dog, the baby. Everyone was there.
My husband and I were talking to an elder family member about health and we complimented him about the fact that him and his siblings have had a pretty full and healthy life.
With the exception of one of his sisters, who has a life full of sickness because ‘she was a cesarean’.
I am going to let it sink a bit. As I can still hear the word stabbing my heart right in the middle and take my breath away.
The comment arrived unexpected, unsolicited and insulting, but aimed right at my core so perfectly well that it just muted me.
Unfortunately my wall came straight up and I shut down for the rest of the day.
I just could not help it.
Worst of it all, the children witnessed the whole convo. Speechless.
I just want to make it clear that I am not writing this post to promote or defend Cesarean birth when there is no need for it. The increasing rates of surgical births in the U.S. are unjustified and as a birth worker I often hear about mothers having to fend for themselves from unnecessary birth interventions that may actually lead to an avoidable belly birth.
This is not my point.
I want the shame to stop.
I want mothers to feel celebrated, loved, respected and seen; no matter how the end up birthing their babies.
The mothers who educated, informed and researched their options. Those who have worked hard and let go of all their expectations.
The mothers who have dreamed the hippiest of birth and grieved the most medicated outcome instead.
Those who did not even have a choice because they could not even hope to give birth ‘naturally’ for whatever pre-existing condition they had.
A cesarean birth is one day in a lifetime. It does not define the rest of your baby’s life. Surely it would be nice to begin one’s existence by hanging out with Snow White and the pixie fairies in the woods, but as my friend @magnificientbirth says: “you can birth them as granola AF, but that doesn’t guarantee they won’t screw up as adults”.
Medically speaking there is no research that have been conducted to show that babies born via Cesarean are less healthy than those born vaginally. Yes, there may be some microbiome hick ups initially, but in the long term no one can say their birth influenced the rest of their lives.
There are so many factors that contribute to who will be and how healthy; it is just so detrimental to discriminate someone based on the pure ignorance of how they came along this planet.
There is some serious apologies to my children happening very soon. Especially towards my daughter who was indeed born via Cesarean and who needs to hear that she is as perfect as her little brother who was born in the living room.
I want her to know that when her time to be a mom comes she can dream whatever birth she desires and that if her plans do not go as expected, she will still be amazing, worthy and loved.
To all the moms out there who are being shamed for however you birthed your babies: I see you and I celebrate you.
Images from my birth courtesy of JB Photography