There is this common belief among women today that having a caesarean makes a woman weak or defeated. Either she is too afraid to give birth vaginally, so she is weak, or her planned vaginal birth does not go as planned and she feels defeated by having a caesarean. This is an unhealthy mindset. Though I am an advocate for natural vaginal births, I am also an advocate for women’s rights and choices in birth.
Cesarean birth does have its risks and difficulties: longer healing period, increased risk for hemorrhaging, difficulties with breastfeeding and bonding with baby, increased risk for Postpartum Depression, more help required for postpartum care etc. It is important to take these risks into consideration if a mother is thinking of having a caesarean. However, caesarean birth is still a choice of birth. Telling a woman that she is weak for having a caesarean is similar to saying another woman is crazy for having an unmedicated birth. Both birth options have their risks and advantages, and both options have the potential to empower women. It is up to the mother and her partner to decide which advantages are the most rewarding and which risks are worth taking. Empowerment does not come from having a birth which is considered “the best option” by society. Empowerment comes from you choosing with your informed knowledge of what you consider to be the best option for you and your baby.
To the mothers who are having or have had a caesarean and may be nervous because you don’t/didn’t want one; you are brave and you are not weak. A cesarean is just another way to bring a baby into the world, and even though you may have not chosen this option it is still a moment with you and your baby. Treat this as you would a vaginal birth: learn from it and grow.