Growing up, my mom always talked about our births. I, as the oldest, was a cesarean section due to being breech. My sister was a VBAC and came out very quickly. My brother was induced. I was unaware of the stigmas around vaginal versus cesarean—until I became pregnant.
When I found out my daughter was breech, many people immediately jumped to tell me how I could flip her. They suggested I look into an ECV (external cephalic version). And they told me all the reasons I didn’t want to have a C-section. I was getting anxious after each appointment that I was told that she hadn’t flipped. At 37 weeks, they scheduled my surgery, and I knew the reality was that I would not have a vaginal birth.
I immediately reached out to a friend who had recently had her second C-section to ask for advice. She helped me realize that the people telling me all the negatives about C-sections were primarily women who did not have one! Over the next few days, I began reaching out to friends and family who had their children via cesarean section. I quickly realized that I needed to start listening to those with experience with this type of delivery.
Since this topic is so close to my and so many of my fellow mother’s hearts, I felt it only fair to ask other moms who have had C-sections what made them feel so strong after going through the process. This is what they had to say:
Why Moms Who Have C-Sections Are Amazing
- You had major surgery and brought life into the world. I not only brought a baby into the world but had major abdominal surgery where my guts were put on the table and then put back in. And I had to learn how to navigate motherhood right after.
- You have a beautiful connection with all the C-section mamas in the world. I was raised by a strong woman who waitressed between her second and third pregnancies and graduated with her master’s. She also happened to have three C-sections (one emergency and two scheduled). I grew up proud of her birthing stories because they brought my siblings and me into this world. When I found out I would have a C-section with my first, it made me feel more connected to my mother and the journey she had taken into her new role as I began mine.
- Your scar is cool. I love my scar. It’s a fierce reminder that I am a mom. It also reminds me of every struggle I went through to get pregnant and deliver a baby.
- You juggled feeding your baby and healing from surgery. Navigating breastfeeding with a tender abdominal decision is no easy task!
- Your baby is safe. I chose the safety of my baby over any personal desires for birth, postpartum, etc.
- Your body is amazing! Having gone through both deliveries, I was glad I ended up with it for baby #2 instead of #1. I could not imagine navigating surgery recovery on top of becoming a new mom, being sleep-deprived, figuring out breastfeeding, etc. C-section moms are truly inspiring.
- You are physically tough handling the challenges recovery brings. We are up against additional challenges like delayed milk production, surgical recovery while caring for an infant, and often negative mental health impacts of a birth plan that I did not choose.
- You are mentally strong! Having an emergency C-section was one of the scariest things that has happened in my life. I had to go through the trauma of pushing for hours only to deliver in a way that I was unprepared for. Then I had to deal with the loss of the delivery I wanted and become a new mom, all within a few hours. It is something that I look back on and wonder how I had the strength to do it all!
- You and your baby are alive. I realize that less than 100 years ago, my baby and I may have died during childbirth. I have a bicornuate uterus, and the babies tend to get stuck in one of the “horns” later in pregnancy because they run out of room. It makes it difficult for them to turn and can cause significant complications during delivery. As a C-section mom, I appreciate how advanced medicine is these days. I am grateful to be here with my four kids a little more with that in the back of my mind.
- You are a great mother — you did what was best for your baby. Although it was not part of my birth plan, it made me feel more relieved that the baby didn’t have to go through the stress of the birth canal and had a beautiful round C-section head! I also love looking at my scar because it reminds me of my beautiful baby girl, even years later.
- You have options. My C-section wasn’t planned, but I know that I have options if we choose to have another baby. A C-section doesn’t always mean another C-section, but it’s okay to choose another one if I know it’s right for my future children and me.
- Your baby’s birth is unique and special. My baby’s birth may not have gone as I planned, but my child has his very own birth story unique to him. I refuse to let it be a sad story but instead a beautiful one because it was the day he came into the world.
- You did your best and it is still good enough. After going through a failed ECV, spinning babies, acupuncture, and a chiropractor to try and get my baby to flip, I still was able to deliver a beautiful, healthy breech baby via C-section!
- You grieved a birth plan you did not experience and came out stronger. All of the prep I did for how to labor, endure an unmedicated birth, and recover after a vaginal birth was thrown out of the window with my emergency C-section. I planned and prepared for nine months only to have a completely different test. Trying to quickly figure out how to recover from my C-section, breastfeed, get out of bed, walk, and mother was the hardest thing I have ever experienced.
- It was the first and biggest selfless decision you made for your baby. Going from being a marathon runner to pushing myself to walk around the block was one of the most mentally tough things I have ever had to do! Having to decide to deliver my baby in the safest way, via C-section, was my first real decision/pathway into motherhood in my eyes.
Other Empowering C-Section Resources
After reaching out to my mom friends across the country on this topic and receiving their responses, I found myself on such a high. While I always loved my C-section delivery, I never knew so many people were loving and grieving their labor in similar ways as I had. I was lucky to have a few weeks to prepare for my breech baby C-section. So I was able to prepare for postpartum recovery after a C-section. These were some of my favorite resources for preparing for my C-section birth.
One of my favorite Instagram accounts was @expectingandempowered. This account has many great highlights on C-section recovery and pregnancy and postpartum workout plans. I learned how to massage my scar, get up off of a chair properly, and gain feeling back around my scar. This is one account I tell all my C-section moms to follow!
My second go-to account was @karrielocher. Karrie is a labor and delivery nurse who has four children. She was a substantial positive advocate for C-section delivery/recovery. She had wonderful tips on breastfeeding post-C-section and clothing to help ease the scar pain, and her feeding cart was a lifesaver when I couldn’t get upstairs due to my recovery.
Tommy’s is a UK-based non-profit that aims to help mothers dealing with premature births, preeclampsia, and cesarean sections. This website provides information on what happens during a C-section, how to prepare, benefits, risks, and more. Also, they provide links for dealing with and support options for C-section birth and recovery. Overall, this is a very informative site that can guide you to wonderful resources, no matter where you are located in the world.
Strong Mom Project
Krista is a Bucks County, PA mother of two who is certified in pre- and postpartum training. Whether you are local to the area or live further away, she can meet with moms before or after birth to help heal, deal with lingering pelvic floor pain, or scar treatment for your postpartum cesarean needs virtually or in person. She is not only knowledgeable but extremely sensitive to your needs and wants for postpartum care.
International Cesarean Awareness Network
This is a support program for women who may not have had the birth plan they dreamed of. You can find information on breastfeeding after cesarean, recovery from cesarean, skin-to-skin care after cesarean, etc. Also, this page has options for support groups in different areas of the US and Internationally. There is a plethora of information for you or the opportunity to be involved in helping others with their birth story acceptance.
The DONA International site has a wonderful section for cesarean resources. Their list includes support sites, recovery, postpartum, and moving forward/options with another pregnancy after a cesarean section.
The Childbirth Connection site is part of the National Partnership for Women & Families that has been helping women and families regarding maternity care for over 100 years. The Childbirth Connection site has a great section that answers questions in preparation for your cesarean section and options for delivery after your cesarean section.
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists
The ACOG is an evidence-based program that helps women understand the most updated information regarding women’s health. On their site, you can find a section for frequently asked questions regarding cesarean birth, such as what to expect, procedural questions, and even definitions of different terms regarding why a cesarean section would be done.
Postpartum Support International
PSI is a fantastic resource for helping mothers find postpartum support near them. They have a discussion tool in English and Spanish to help women with their postpartum mental health journey.
Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia
CHOP has resources for online support groups for new and expecting parents. Cesarean mothers might find some helpful groups such as The Motherhood Center, Postpartum Stress Center, and Postpartum Mood Disorders Community.
This site has FAQs, Top Picks, Tips, and Topics for mothers recovering from cesarean sections.
While this program supports an umbrella of postpartum topics, there is a section where you can find your local chapter for postpartum support.
Cesarean Birth: Your Questions Answered by Debbie Chippington-Derrick
This book is a quick read that is aimed to help women prepare for postpartum recovery from a cesarean section birth. It does a great job answering some of the most frequently asked questions women may have surrounding a C-Section.
Strategies for the C-Section Mom by Mary Beth Knight
This is a great guide for moms who have C-sections if you are looking for some health and fitness tips on recovering from a cesarean section birth. It also has some preparation ideas/plans and gives great educational material and sources for your journey.
My Cesarean: Twenty-One Mothers on the C-Section Experience and After by Amanda Fields
This is a compilation of twenty-one mothers’ stories regarding their cesarean section journey. We often read about the negative sides of having a C-Section, and this book gives just the opposite-positive experiences of real women. This is an excellent read for anyone looking for a bit of positivity and perspective going into their surgery.
Writing this article gave me so much pride and happiness to be a part of the “moms who have C-sections” club. If you have not had a C-section, please remember to support your friends in their delivery choice. We all carry a baby for nine months and deliver a baby when that time is up. No delivery is better or worse. The most important part of this journey is holding your baby safely in your arms and snuggling with your new family member.
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