Friday, August 20, 2010

The Negativity Must Stop

I know I talk a lot about birth and c-sections here. It's my forum; I can do what I want. I generally do it with a purpose. Before I get on my soapbox I am going to say a few things: I believe in and support natural birth, I do think there are too many c-section being performed and I do know that we need better education for pregnant women through peer support, doulas, midwives and open minded OB/GYNs.

Now time for my soapbox: why must we be so negative about c-sections?

Stop right there and close your mouth and let's listen for a moment, shall we all? My post here came about from a posting on facebook. It took me to an article about birthing and the health of both mother and baby. See it for yourself here: at-least-i-have-healthy-baby-and-birth.

Please understand that I am not trying to attack the very valid points in this article. I agree with almost all of them. What I am trying to say is this: put yourself in my shoes, in the shoes of a woman who had a c-section. Do you realize how hurtful some of the things you say are? Maybe you don't mean it that way, but sometimes a woman who has a c-section feels a bit smaller when you talk only the benefits of a vaginal birth and only about the negatives of a c-section. Aren't you natural birth supporters/advocates supposed to be the most empathetic to a woman no matter what type of birth she had?

Because there are too many unnecessary c-sections performed in this day and age, I cannot tell you how many times I have felt the need to slap a patient smile on my face and explain my own situation. If a woman says "I had a vaginal birth in water at home with no drugs" you can see everyone's face light up with joy. If a woman says "I had to have a c-section" the whole atmosphere in the room is deflated.

Maybe it is our own negativity, our own judgemental assumptions, that add fuel to the problem. I think the author of this atricle has it exactly right: we need to change the way we think about the whole birth experience. We need to focus on the health of the mother and the baby and the overall experience for both.

Just realize that some of us would not have a baby without the c-section experience. And some of us weren't traumatized. And some of us actively participated in our own care and what happened to our bodies. So let's all change our focus. The next time a woman mentions having had a c-section, perhaps instead of immediately consoling her and launching into how the system is broken, first find out why. The good stories, the necessary ones, often get swept under the rug because we focus on the traumatic ones. We have the wrong focus.

There are always going to have to be c-sections. Otherwise some mothers and babies would die. Mamas and babies both are the key focus here.

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