What happens when you don’t listen to women? When women are taught to listen to their bodies, trust their instincts and gather their strength… what happens if you then ignore those women? If you try to squash them, silence them, brush them under the carpet? What happens then? What happens when you take away choice like you take dangerous toys from a baby? What happens when women are not allowed?
In 2009 I had an appointment to meet with my consultant to discuss birthing options for my second child. My first had been born via emergency c-section and so I was given the opportunity to talk through plans for this baby, bearing in mind what had happened previously. It all sounded so good on paper.
What happened instead is that my consultant sent a registrar to tell me that I basically had no options when it came to my body. The elective c-section I requested was denied. The choices I thought I was entitled to were swept away with an overly bright proclamation that what happened before wasn’t going to happen again. Baby in disstress? Oh no, that won’t happen again. Cord around the neck? Not a chance. No, we won’t scan you to check. No, your concerns are not reasonable. No, you can’t have the birth you want. (more…)
You are no less of a mother just because your baby is birthed on an operating table. The love you feel for your baby (at whatever point it arrives- the love, I mean. It isn’t always instant, and that goes for all mums too. That ‘rush of love’ sometimes meanders rather than races) is no smaller because you did not push her out of your vagina. Your power, your strength and your courage is no smaller because your plans went out of the window. Your abilities are no less potent becaus they sliced you open instead. You birthed your baby AND you had major surgery too.
And not only that, but this.
While most would recover from abdominal surgery by lying in bed, pillows plumped and needs met, you do not. You pull night shifts just the same as the other mums. You feed round the clock. You change nappies. You cook food. You mother.
You are no less of a mother.
You are no less of a mother just because your baby arrived differently. It doesn’t mean you didn’t try. It doesn’t mean you didn’t agonise over the decision. It doesn’t mean you didn’t question your abilities. You did all of that and you went ahead anyway.
You let them have you. You sat on the side of the bed while they injected your spine and you offered yourself up to them. Your life in their hands. Complete trust. Hope. Belief. You watched the hands on the clock turn on and you heard the clink of surgical tools on metal trays and you blinked. Once. Maybe twice. And you continued to breathe. Because what else could you do?
You are no less of a mother just because your baby was born on a table. You are a warrior because your baby was born on a table. Because you knew what you needed to do, and you did it. Because you closed your eyes and you waited.
You are no less of a mother. You are amazing.
Before I became a mother, I knew very little about pregnancy and the extent of my birth plan was to have a water birth, with no pain relief. In reality, my firstborn arrived thanks to a relatively calm ’emergency’ c-section, following induction and a whole load of pain relief medication. I remember visitors later remarking that I was handling the pain really well, and this I took to be a compliment. Pain after a c-section was supposed to be intense, right? I mean, they sliced open my belly and rummaged amongst my organs a little bit. That’s going to hurt, isn’t it? And yes, it did. But I was handling it well, so all was good. Until the next time.
The pain you get after a c-section is unique to you. Your pain threshold, your body, the way you heal- it all plays a part. Whether you keep up with your pain relief meds, whether you rest enough when you get home, and whether you take the time to be kind to yourself- they are also important factors. How many c-sections you’ve had, how fit and well you were before you gave birth, how well you were during pregnancy- more variable factors to consider. So when people ask me what the recovery is going to be like, there is just no way I can tell them. I am me. You are you. And that’s the best way to be. (more…)
This month is #CaesareanAwarenessMonth and over on my Facebook page I’ve been sharing a few old posts I’ve written that details my experiences under the knife. I’m also working hard on the #MyBirthMyBody campaign for Maternity Matters, which is really exciting too. So naturally I’ve been thinking back to my own experiences in the last 11 years. Two emergency sections, one elective and one planned. I’m often asked why the differentiation between the last two? Aren’t elective sections the same as planned? And according to health care professionals, the answer would be yes. To me, a huge NO.
The difference between a planned and an elective caesarean is simple.