“At least you had a healthy baby….”

I need to write a blog about cesareans and disappointing birth experiences…but where to start? My mind goes crazy, racing to several different places and wondering where to start.

I suppose I should start with myself since my personal experience came first in the line of stories I feel I need to share to illustrate my point.

My point! See, I told you my mind is racing. My point of this blog will be summarized thusly – “at least you have a healthy baby’ is a crappy thing to say to someone when they have had a cesarean and is disappointed in their birth experience. I pray by the end of this blog post that you have a deeper understanding of WHY that is crappy and how it makes a mother who is disappointed feel.

Okay…so back to my own experience. Many reading this blog may not realize that while I have 5 children, I have only carried 4 of them myself – we were told by doctors after years of infertility that I would never be able to conceive or carry a baby (if there is interest I am willing to share more on that story at another time in a different blog post). As I was raising my first child, I became very active in the birthing community. I was a certified doula and childbirth educator teaching classes in various locations around the Denver and Boulder, Colorado area. I had seen my son’s birthmother push my son into the world (his birth parents lived with us for the last 4 months of her pregnancy) and assisted in many other births in the following years.

Then I was pregnant – with a lot of assistance, I was pregnant. I planned a homebirth, I transferred into the hospital while in labor, and I ended up with a cesarean.

Not how I wanted to meet my baby! Still in recovery, my mother shows me a photograph of my daughter who I have not yet met while my nurse smiles and my doula holds my hand.

When I made the decision to transfer into the hospital (yes, I made that decision), I cried before getting into the car. When the decision was made for surgery, I cried again. And I cried many times over the next few years.

I remember telling my sister (who had experienced 5 births – all vaginal) that everytime I think of my daughter’s birth story, I cry. I remember her response so clearly even though it was 12 years ago…”Awwww….a little postpartum depression?”

No….sad at the way that my birth experience went.

Then she said it…”At least you have a healthy baby.” And I went off on her – YES, I had a healthy baby and obviously I put that factor above ANYTHING else and I’d already proven that by going under the knife in order to achieve it! But to say those words to me tells me that you believe I no longer hold that in high priority, that I am being unappreciative for her health and well being. Nothing could be further from the truth.

So let me make this point absolutely crystal clear: someone who has undergone a cesarean has already shown through actions that she would do anything to ensure the health and well being of her baby! She has already shown that THAT was the highest issue on the priority list. At least she has a healthy baby… not only invalidates anything else she might be feeling, but it also points out that she got the very least of what one would consider a good outcome. That was the last and final thing hoped for because all other dreams and expectations had to be sacrificed.

My first child – adopted. At least I got a baby! Absolutely true, but I was still sad that I couldn’t be the one to feel him kicking inside of me, envious of her ability to nourish him and grow her belly big and full with him, to birth him. I got a baby but was sad that it had to occur in the manner in which it did. I had to sacrifice many dreams in order to achieve the biggest one – but the “at least” statements insinuate (nay, they state pretty implicitly to the listener) that if you are sad at the dreams that you’ve lost then you might not deserve the one you achieved.

A picture I took of dad looking down at mom who can't even see his face - she is prepped for surgery and waiting for them to begin.

“At least….” I hate those words to begin with. Nothing good comes after those words because they are an attempt to minimize whatever had gone wrong. Your house burned down? Lost all of your possessions, your 3 children, your spouse and your goldfish? AT LEAST YOU DIDN’T BURN UP TOO!

See how ridiculous those words can be? Things can always be worse than they are – but that doesn’t negate that sometimes things right now suck.

I recently had a client who ended up transferring to the hospital for medical reasons, and she ended up in a cesarean. She is intensely disappointed and even bringing up the thought of her birth results in immediate tears (and breaks my heart). Is she ungrateful for her healthy baby? Absolutely not!! She sacrificed her body for her baby’s health, she put herself at risk with anesthesia and major surgery….all for her baby’s health. And as sad as she is, if you ask her if she’d do it again if it was for the health of her baby she would answer without hesitation – an emphatic YES! She began her motherhood with sacrifice and PROVED she would do anything for the health of her baby. To imply that she might have lost sight of the blessings of having a healthy baby by saying, “At least you had a healthy baby” is to refuse to acknowledge that she’d already proven beyond a shadow of a doubt that she places her baby’s health above her own.

Same couple as above - mom sees her baby for the first time, already bundled up and being held by dad. This is typical with a cesarean.

Yet as she was prepped for surgery and they were beginning the cesarean, she cried…and a nurse said to her, “Why are you sad? Your baby is about to be here…and will be healthy…”

Sigh

She was sad because she was being cut open rather than feeling her baby crown. She was sad because she was in a hospital where she didn’t want to be in the first place. She was sad because she wasn’t going to be helping her husband lift their baby from her vagina into her waiting arms. She was sad because she wouldn’t be able to hold her baby right away – or even touch her baby for a while. She was sad because she was going to watch her husband (dressed in scrubs and masked so that she would lose who he was in a sea of masks) carry a burrito bundle out of the room while she remained splayed out getting stitched up. She was sad because she now doubted her body like she never had before.

Why does it matter why she was sad? Why should she have to explain to someone else what it was making her sad? SHE WAS SAD! (she still is) Acknowledge, embrace, assist….don’t gloss over and demean her feelings by telling her she’s silly for feeling them.

At least you have a healthy baby. What if you don’t have a healthy baby…..

I got called by someone who would become a good personal friend of mine. She was pregnant and knew that she would birth out of the country and wanted only prenatal care from me – she was a VBAC, so I couldn’t officially establish care with her, but I helped her some as a friend since she was moving at about 30 weeks of pregnancy. Each appointment I would feel her baby growing, kicking under my fingertips, thriving. She embraced the pregnancy with such blissful joy and anticipation of the birth that she would float into my office bringing sunshine with her at every visit. It was a sad day for me when we had our last appointment. I handed her a copy of her records to take with her – and she (a professional singer) sang to me “Amazing Grace”. Tears flowed for so many reasons and as I hugged her goodbye it lasted a bit longer than normal, neither one wanting to let go.

She kept in touch regularly from Peru, baby growing, all is well, past my due date but everything is perfect, just had an ultrasound at 41 weeks and everything is absolutely perfect and well.

She went into labor…and labored blissfully, smiling, rocking on her birthing ball at the birth center. Baby’s heart rate beautiful, you’re dilating perfectly…

An hour later they tried to listen to the baby and he was gone (a freak cord accident – absolutely nothing to do with when or where or how she was birthing). An ultrasound confirmed it, and she said as they finished the ultrasound, “I have to call Stephanie, I need to hear her voice.” I will spare you the level of anguish and deep intense pain I felt in my heart receiving that phone call and hearing her say, “He’s gone…”

We only had a few minutes to talk before she said, “I have to go…I am 6cm dilated and still in labor. I need to birth my baby.”

And birth him she did! She achieved her VBAC and birthed her 10 pound son through her own power!!

Okay, stop here and let’s talk about this. Why did she not have a cesarean knowing that her son was dead? Here is the point that I think so many people don’t understand….there is the outcome, and there is the journey, and they aren’t one and the same for a lot of women. She would change her journey if it would change the outcome, of that I know for 100% certainty. But the outcome was done, the only thing she could do is continue her journey. A cesarean wasn’t going to bring her son back…but she could still feel powerful that she did everything she could for him. And powerful she was! Sad for her loss, and yet proud of herself. Heartbroken for the baby she is no longer holding in her arms, but happy for her experience.

In contract to my other client who is thrilled for her baby she holds in her arms, but sad for her experience.

That’s because they are two different things. Women will do anything to ensure the health of their baby, but it doesn’t mean they are happy they have to do it! I went through IVF (twice) to conceive my daughter – doesn’t mean I enjoyed it or was happy to do it! Means my daughter was worth it to me.

My cesarean incision

 

Please do not act like someone who had a cesarean has lost sight of the importance of a healthy baby – they are acutely aware of that importance and have proven it with their actions. Please do offer a loving ear, a hug, acknowledgement of their loss (as they hold their baby) and joy for their accomplishments. Allow her the freedom to express her loss and feelings of helplessness or frustration without trying to make her feel better for having gone through the experience.

And to the clients referenced in this post…I love you both and hurt for you in your sadness. There is no “at least” to follow that statement – things could always be worse as long as we are still alive and breathing….but what you’ve experienced sucks and I’m sorry.

121 Comments

  1. Dianne wrote:

    I haven’t experienced a cesarean birth myself, but it made me ache for my clients that have…Thank you Stephanie, for sharing!

    Tuesday, August 23, 2011 at 11:38 am | Permalink
  2. Caitlyn wrote:

    Thank you… I have struggled many times to explain why that statement offends and hurts me so deeply, but my explanation is always a cloudy one. My heart still aches when I think of my birth experience. Thank you for writing this for all of us.

    Tuesday, August 23, 2011 at 12:03 pm | Permalink
  3. Brittney wrote:

    Oh, wow… thank you for the insight! I’m sure I’ve said the wrong thing the time or two so I’m really glad to have this perspective.

    And I, for one, would be really interested in hearing more about your journey to your first pregnancy. People I love are going through similar experiences.

    Tuesday, August 23, 2011 at 12:28 pm | Permalink
  4. Tiffany wrote:

    Yes, the journey does matter. Thanks Stephanie for wiring about it.

    Tuesday, August 23, 2011 at 12:31 pm | Permalink
  5. Tiffany wrote:

    Yes, the journey does matter. Thanks Stephanie for writing about it.

    Tuesday, August 23, 2011 at 12:32 pm | Permalink
  6. Crys wrote:

    Thank you, yet again, Steph. I have had this conversation with many women and myself even (less than ideal birth of my son). We are blessed to be in a community where we can find support to celebrate as well as mourn our birth experiences.

    Tuesday, August 23, 2011 at 12:41 pm | Permalink
  7. Kolleen wrote:

    GREAT post!! I am sure that I have been the “at least” person without realizing it before. It is so hard to know how to be a good friend in such situations…this was an incredibly helpful post :) . LOVE your heart <3!! You are AMAZING

    Tuesday, August 23, 2011 at 12:48 pm | Permalink
  8. kelli wrote:

    This clarity is so desperately needed, not only for those talking to mothers but for the mothers themselves. When confronting my own strong c-section fears what ultimately helped me was to say to myself “I have the strength to birth my baby however my body and baby need to birth.” It reminded me that I set myself up for the best birth possible for us and that if we needed surgical assistance not only would it be truely needed but that I could be just as proud of myself for facing that birthing challenge as I could be of working through our homebirth. Disappointment, relief, fear, anger, joy….any emotion a mother has about her birth is hers to have and anyone else should be there to help or just love her through it not skirt around it. I hope with this perspective more mothers who may feel disappointed, sad, or any other way about their birth experience can accept their feelings as valid and “at least” take pride in what powerful mothers they are because every birth involves sacrifice, its just sometimes the sacrifice is unexpected and sometimes it is too high but ultimately every mother makes different sacrifices for their babies and every one of them deserves to feel her own super-hero-ness….because I promise it is in every mother.

    Tuesday, August 23, 2011 at 12:53 pm | Permalink
  9. Alyssa wrote:

    That was so well said. Thank you.Sometimes it is hard to explain “why”. Acting like the experience of how your baby comes into this world doesn’t matter is like acting like the 9 months of pregnancy and the experience you had (good or bad) doesn’t matter. Why can people sympathize with a mother who had a “difficult pregnancy” but can’t understand why a c-section is so traumatic? I have had both and people always seem understanding of throwing up ten times a day, and bed rest for 3 months, but when I say c-section they say, “at least…or even worse, well at least you didn’t HAVE to push a baby out!”

    Tuesday, August 23, 2011 at 1:07 pm | Permalink
  10. Jenna wrote:

    Thank you, thank you, thank you. A year after my daughter’s birth, I love her more and more every day…but I can’t think of her birth without tears (and had them even reading this post). It’s something that most people don’t understand, or really care to. All they see is the end result…”at least you had a healthy baby.” OF COURSE I’m grateful for that…but can’t I mourn for the birth experience I didn’t have?

    Tuesday, August 23, 2011 at 2:27 pm | Permalink
  11. Cerise wrote:

    This post is beautiful Stephanie. It is so true that people don’t know what to say, and I am grateful you are saying what needs to be said. I am so sorry to the clients that you have had whose birth experiences did not turn out the way that they had planned. It is hard to grieve that loss, and to find hope and strength for the future. It is amazing how strong your find yourself on the other end, but that doesn’t mean that you forget. I only hope that I use the experiences from both my pregnancies and births to be able to enjoy the moments and time that I have that much more, and to remember that the destination and the journey are two separate experiences. Thank you for the reminder :D

    Tuesday, August 23, 2011 at 3:24 pm | Permalink
  12. Jen wrote:

    Love this!!!! I felt this way for my first birth and when my second transferred to the hospital (my daughter was born in the abulance…surprisingly healthy) I was able to say “all that matters is a healthy baby” to the waiting OR team. So there! It felt so great to turn it around on them! They were also not very appreciative of the comment.

    Tuesday, August 23, 2011 at 3:41 pm | Permalink
  13. Karen Joy wrote:

    Fabulous post. I loved this: “Here is the point that I think so many people don’t understand….there is the outcome, and there is the journey, and they aren’t one and the same for a lot of women.”

    I never say, “At least…” because it takes the mother’s feelings and tosses them out as if they don’t matter. However, you’ve given me a new way to look at that, and a new determination to be tender to the women who haven’t been able to birth the way they had desired to.

    Tuesday, August 23, 2011 at 3:53 pm | Permalink
  14. Becky wrote:

    Thank you. My first c-section was medically necessary due to velamentous insertion of the cord and vasa previa. A NIGHTMARE! I requested vbac for my second and was TOLD I was supported by my dr. At the very end I found out I was NOT supported. After vasa previa I was so scared that I didn’t want to switch drs. Since he didn’t support me in vbac I had a second c-section and feel like I failed. My body is VERY different only after the second c-section. Thankfully I have two beautiful boys. But I am still sad over both birth experiences. I feel like I didn’t give birth. I feel like I was an unactive participant waiting while the dr surgically removed my children from me. I didn’t have a cuddle moment with either one until 4 hours after the came into the world. Thank you for writing this so well. I don’t talk about my births much because I do get a lot of “at least”s.

    Tuesday, August 23, 2011 at 6:24 pm | Permalink
  15. Cerise wrote:

    By the way, after my second was born, I was able to let the anger and failure from my first birth go. I realized in myself that my strength and my motherhood was not lessened by my c-section and that my gratitude for having my daughter healthy was stronger than my sadness for not birthing her the way I had wanted to. This is just one of the gifts that my son was able to give me.

    Tuesday, August 23, 2011 at 9:01 pm | Permalink
  16. Jenny Brost wrote:

    Thank you, Stephanie. It IS about the journey. It is about how we have such high hopes for our babies to have a gentle entrance into this world, and not being able to give that to them feels so awful… it felt like I was failing him from the get-go. All I really remember during the surgery itself was crying, mine and my son. But articles like this, and the local ICAN meetings, have really helped me shift my perspective that while I may not have wanted that particular journey, I can still be proud of what I did do for him. And that helps the healing so much!

    Wednesday, August 24, 2011 at 1:48 am | Permalink
  17. Trena wrote:

    I’m sorry to you and all the mamas who have had birth experiences that were not what you dreamed of. You explain it perfecty!

    Wednesday, August 24, 2011 at 4:38 pm | Permalink
  18. Leigh wrote:

    I am a psychologist and frequently tell my clients (and friends and family) that the two things someone who is sad need to hear are some version of (1) that sucks and (2) I’m sorry.

    Wednesday, August 24, 2011 at 7:02 pm | Permalink
  19. I planned a home birth. I had a wonerful midwife, lovely prenatal spots and I dreamed of giving birth in my bathtub. Then my daughter stopped growing. Instead of my home birth I got two weeks in antipartum and a cesarean at 30 weeks, then 2months of NICU care. My daughter did well, and came home tiny but healthy. AND I cried and mourned the birth I didn’t get. Thanks, steph, for once again putting into words EXACTLY what I wanted to tell the countless people who said those dreaded words to me.

    Wednesday, August 24, 2011 at 7:46 pm | Permalink
  20. Sheridan wrote:

    YES! This is so true. I think that if we acknowledged and accepted a moms feelings about her birth, it will help in her healing, both emotionally and physically. My first was born by cesarean and it was heartbreaking in many ways. I just needed love and support for what I was feeling, not judgement!

    Wednesday, August 31, 2011 at 10:22 pm | Permalink
  21. Andrea wrote:

    Thank you for writing about this Stephanie.

    Friday, September 2, 2011 at 7:59 pm | Permalink
  22. Kristi wrote:

    POWERFUL! Thank you so much for sharing. I had a csection with my first and an unassisted home birth with my second. Your blog was accompanied by many Amens!

    Thursday, September 29, 2011 at 10:01 am | Permalink
  23. Shay wrote:

    I felt like a failure after 13hrs and 3 hrs of pushing and a pitocin labor i had already given up my dream for a natural birth as I gave in for demirol and an epidural and the doc had a “limit” to how long a woman could push. I had a section and was not very happy about it and my mom talked me into a hospital delivery due to “I wouldn’t know how my body would react” I should have went with my homebirth like I wanted. I opted for a VBAC the second time. It was the most glorious experience ever that I literally screamed at the top of my lungs “I DID IT!” But I remember my mom telling me that
    at least you didnt have a homebirth or it couldve been a disaster” I told her: “no it would have been much different.”

    Sunday, October 16, 2011 at 3:01 pm | Permalink
  24. Katie wrote:

    Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. It’s been two years now since my failed VBAC and I still have strong feelings about not getting the birth experience I wanted. After having a c/s with my first, I was disappointed, but knew we would have a second child and therefore, I would be able to go for a VBAC. I did everything in my power to make that happen but my son had different plans and alas, there I was in the operating room again, crying and beyond devastated. So many people told me “well at least…”they just didn’t get it. When I went in for my 2 week check up, my midwife asked me how I was physically and I told her great. She then asked me how I was emotionally….and I looked at her and just broke down sobbing. She hugged and held me all the while telling me she was sorry and she understood. Two years later, I still feel she is the only who truly understood how I felt….until I read your post. Thank you so much.

    Monday, October 24, 2011 at 12:56 pm | Permalink
  25. Melissa wrote:

    after my csection this is how I felt about that comment: Your birth day can feel like your wedding day. It is a rare and special occasion. You plan, you hope, you want it to be beautiful. Then, your wedding day gets rained out. The roof caves in, the flowers spoil, the guests fight. The day turns into a disaster. Under high stress you manage to run out the back and quickly sign the papers with your spouse. It was a difficult, stressful and maybe even horrible day. And then someone says, “well at least you are married”.

    Monday, October 24, 2011 at 1:43 pm | Permalink
  26. Amy Q. wrote:

    THANK YOU for putting into words what I felt after my cesarean. My first born son had a beautiful home birth. When we found ourselves pregnant again, we planned for another home birth until at 25 wks we discovered I was carrying twins. We were simultaneously on shock and overjoyed at our double blessing. Unfortunately it also meant I would have to deliver at our local hospital according to state law. The doctor we choose said I was still a perfect candidate for a vaginal birth because of my prior drug-free, natural birth and because both babies were head down. I mourned for the loss of a home birth but was thankful i could still have a vaginal birth. On the day of their birth things were going great until I suddenly found myself out of control and screaming that I was dying (and not in a I’m-in-transition-sort-of-way. I’d gone from 9cm to 7cm but with excruciating contractions bearing down on me less than a minute apart. The doctor discovered that both babies’ heads were in essence presenting ~ they were both trying to come out at the same time!!! My cervix knew it needed to close up but my uterus continued trying to push them out. We tried every position imaginable (I had a great doctor who truly understood what I desired) but baby b just couldn’t move back upbecause of the powerful contractions bearing down on her. Neither piton or an epidural would have helped at this point . . . only a cesarean. Afterwards PPD set in and so many people told me, “Well, at least you have two healthy babies” while inside I’d scream, “but that’s not the point!” Thank you for writing this piece. I will be sharing this with others!

    Monday, October 24, 2011 at 2:56 pm | Permalink
  27. Bonnie wrote:

    Thank you so much, Stephanie! (I’m just reading this now — through an ICAN of RI post on Facebook — although it was posted in August.) I’ve always hated being made to feel guilty when I’ve expressed sadness and frustration over how my birth experiences went. After the 1st (an unplanned c-section), I was terribly traumatized and had an awful experience with the care I received, but felt “at least” (ironic, no?) I could change practices and hospitals, and go for a VBAC the 2nd time. I did, 19 months later, and had excellent care and a much better birth experience, right up until then end… when I had another unplanned c-section. It was then that I mourned that I would never again have a chance to have a vaginal birth. (Two children, I always knew, would be it for me). I don’t want anyone’s pity, I just don’t want to be told that I’m not entitled to my feelings, as uncomfortable as they may make someone feel. Thank you again!

    Monday, October 24, 2011 at 3:32 pm | Permalink
  28. Katy wrote:

    THANK YOU so much for this post!

    Monday, October 24, 2011 at 5:28 pm | Permalink
  29. suzanne wrote:

    My first was a normal birth, not the best but happy enough. Then my second little boy arrived by c- sec I accepted why now but still hurts I could not push him like I did previously.. now I am expecting # 3 boy again I been supported to have a vbac despite being classed as high risk, my reasons still make me eligible to birth him properly… I know how those words hurt, I questioned myself when told ” I carried him, I delivered in the only option I had, I protect him now etc have I not proven that his health is my highest priority???” I was sad I could not push, the trauma of the needle and the reminder by the scar and its ordeal problems that arised for upto 18 month later including reopening after a year… its all tough but yes I can say I experienced both sides the coin… yes I can say I got 2 beautiful boys and another kicking away… yes us mothers who have put out our dreams for the highest good of our glorious kids deserve to not to be told at least….. !!!

    Wednesday, October 26, 2011 at 7:45 pm | Permalink
  30. Holly wrote:

    Our pediatrician knew I had planned a natural birth at a birth center and ended up with an emergency c-section due to pre-e and an induction gone haywire. At my son’s first check-up after coming home, she asked me how I was handling my “grief.”

    Grief? I didn’t know I was allowed to grieve! I immediately burst into tears, and she did as well. Grief at the journey cut short and de-railed, but certainly not at the joyous outcome.

    Thank you for sharing this post on the distinction between the two.

    Tuesday, November 1, 2011 at 2:01 am | Permalink
  31. Betty wrote:

    I had the perfect birth plan 33 years ago. Yes I was going to go all natural no drugs. I wanted to feel and experience natural child birth. God has a plan for all of us and natural child birth was not in his plan. I developed an infection that was passed onto my son. I did not realize how sick I was until years later. My child and I could of died, but with having a c/section when we did it saved out lives. I know some women feel like they were dissed with vaginal child birth but have a healthy child is such a blessing. I have had 5 c/sections and do not regret it when I see the smiles of my children. Keep praying for peace with your sadness ladies.

    Monday, November 28, 2011 at 2:19 pm | Permalink
  32. ginet wrote:

    This is so beautifully written and explains so prefectly how is feels to have a dissappointing birth experience.

    After laboring for 30 hours at home with a midwife in attendance I was taken to the hospital and had monitors, pitocin drugs and a forecep delivery.

    Love my child but hated the hospital experience.

    The next two birth were at home with the midwife.

    Thursday, March 15, 2012 at 8:40 pm | Permalink
  33. K wrote:

    This whole post resonated with me so much. I cried through a lot of it, because it seems like finally someone else understands. I literally feel sick when someone says “at least you have a healthy baby”, because of all these things you have mentioned. As I prepare for a VBAC with our forth baby, I find all these emotions come flooding back because I tried to bury all of it, feeling like I had no right to feel that anguish because I had a “healthy baby”. I would never say that to someone now, and instead would really encourage them to sort through their feelings and acknowledge them.

    Tuesday, May 15, 2012 at 11:35 am | Permalink
  34. Katie wrote:

    Thank you so much. I read this whole article in tears holding my son to my chest. Still crying while writing this. I never knew how to explain why I feel so devastated about my birth experience. I always felt like I sounded ungrateful, because people always pull the “at least…” card. Thank you so much for this article.

    Thursday, January 3, 2013 at 12:04 pm | Permalink
  35. Leah wrote:

    I’ve had 4 c-sections despite 22 hours of induced labor as well as a failed VBAC adventure. Although it was disappointing to not experience the birth I had envisioned, knowing ahead of time how and what to plan for my following births did provide me with a sense of control and power lost in the first birth. Ultimately I came to the realization that in the end, all that matters is the opportunity to be a mom :)

    Sunday, January 5, 2014 at 1:15 am | Permalink
  36. Marian wrote:

    This is the dumbest and most self-centered load of first world crap I’ve ever read. Go to a 3rd world country and run this crap by mothers there. Watch as they look at you in complete confusion. This is stated as it only can be in a developed world with mothers who seem to think the whole birthing process is totally about them. I have two children and, yes, I had vaginal births with no complications- one with a midwife and the other with a dr. I would choose the midwife any day, but wouldn’t shut the door on the dr. My youngest is expecting her first child in a few months. I will not be sending her to this site to read the load of first world crap that is here. Now that I’ve pissed so many of you off, join the Peace Corps and meet the real world. Ask a 3rd world mother who is fortunate to have access to a C-section if she needs one to save her child’s life or her own if she is grieving over not having her perfect vaginal no drug experience. She’ll look at you in total confusion over such a stupid question. In countries where almost 120 babies per 1,000 die before reaching a first birthday, they have far bigger worries. And you think the mama regrets not having a vaginal birth if a c section got her baby born alive? And when a mother looks you in the eye and says her biggest fear in the world is her baby dying before the age of 5,perhaps your whining should be directed elsewhere. No doubt I’ve angered many, but unless you have actually lived and worked in a 3rd world county, a real one and not some small country that speaks a foreign language but still have hospitals, ambulances, and qualified drs. with up to standard operating theaters it doesn’t count. For example, the Cayman Islands is not a 3rd world country. I think of the women I know who lost their babies at birth because they had no options and my heart breaks. They would have been so very happy if they could have heard, “Well at least your baby is healthy,” instead of, “I’m sorry your baby died.”

    Sunday, January 5, 2014 at 1:37 am | Permalink
  37. leesa wrote:

    Thank you

    Sunday, January 5, 2014 at 5:22 am | Permalink
  38. Megan Clifton wrote:

    I do disagree. I have had a c section and a vaginal birth. Whilst healing times were different, otherwise they were the same. People asked me the second time if I was disappointed that I couldn’t give birth vaginally and I always replied “what’s to be disappointed about, pregnancy is not about me, it’s about my baby, and since he will have no memory or trauma of it, then I’m happy”
    I don’t like that people think their pregnancy is some massive woman worshiping event. No, it’s a life worshiping event. You have not done anything miraculous, you’ve done what your body was designed to do.

    Sunday, January 5, 2014 at 6:54 am | Permalink
  39. elfanie wrote:

    So, Marian – what it sounds like you are saying is, “At least you had a healthy baby….it could be worse, look at 3rd worlds parents and what they go through! At least you had options and have a healthy baby now, so why are you acting upset? That’s selfish!”
    Pretty accurate? If so – did you even READ the blog post?

    Sunday, January 5, 2014 at 11:10 am | Permalink
  40. Carly wrote:

    I didn’t see why it’s so necessary to say over and over that a woman being upset about her Caesarian has to do with her being unappreciative of the health of her baby. Of course it’s not. I’ve had a Caesarian and then afterwards a miscarriage but I don’t see why women feel the need to hold onto their pain for years and years and years. I do believe you should be happy your child is here and healthy. I did not want my birth to go the way it did… But it did, I’m going to enjoy my daughter not regret how I gave birth to her. Some women are way too dramatic and need to let go. I feel worse for the woman that lost her baby then gave birth to it because she won’t enjoy her baby. Some women are just too sensitive and can’t let things go

    Sunday, January 5, 2014 at 11:38 am | Permalink
  41. Sarah wrote:

    I have to say, I’m with Marian over this one. And yes, I read the blog post…and have been there. My first child was an emergent c-section, my second a VBAC. I think these “disappointing” births (and the more egregiously named “birth rape”) can often be chalked up to the ridiculous pressure placed on moms by other moms who did it the “right” way. Stop acting like the only good birth is a natural home birth, and fewer women will grieve over their birth plan that didn’t come to fruition. Your expectations didn’t match reality…welcome to real life.

    Sunday, January 5, 2014 at 12:50 pm | Permalink
  42. Penelope wrote:

    Marian and Megan, thank you for being voices of reason. This article is ridiculous.

    Sunday, January 5, 2014 at 2:49 pm | Permalink
  43. Jamie wrote:

    Thank you for your blog post. Also very interesting to read the comments above.

    I personally find it infuriating that caesareans are perceived in such a negative way .
    We are made to feel like failures as mothers if we ‘have to’ have a c- section, this is because of what society makes us believe our birthing experience ‘should be’. Whilst I feel for the women above and have experienced this myself with an attempted ‘natural’ birth (please tell me what is so natural about being in labor for 33 hours, the cord being around my baby’s neck and nearly strangling him) turned in to an emergency c- section with my first son. This then led to extreme PND and issues with me bonding with him. I couldn’t tell you the numbers of ‘at least you have a healthy baby’ I got thrown at me.
    Then with my second son I had a low lying placenta so knew that I would have to have a C-section but I didn’t let all of the “but you have to have a natural birth, you should try for a natural birth and see what happens” crap get to me. I was happy and confident going in to my caesarean and knew that at the end of it I would have a beautiful and healthy baby. That was enough for me. I had no signs of any PND and had an amazing bonding experience with him. I didn’t feel like a failure at all.
    We are not failures if have caesareans or if we are not successful with breastfeeding and feed our babies formula (don’t get me started on that). Caesareans have been around for hundreds of years and are the least stressful way on the baby to be delivered. I think society seriously needs to change their attitude and views of this very common way of delivering babies and quickly! It’s 2014 people!!!

    Sunday, January 5, 2014 at 8:17 pm | Permalink
  44. Shauna wrote:

    I had a horrible birthing experience that ended c- section. Of course, I didn’t have grand expectations but the c-section forever haunts me physically and mentally that I fear to have and probably won’t have another child. I’ve dreamed of holding another darling baby in my arms but then the fear of going through that again diminishes that dream. My body has and will never be the same again and it’s because of the c-section not so much the pregnancy. Thanks for the blog. And yes, the major surgery I had and had to get over in literally only a couple days will forever haunt me. But I do love and cherish my beautiful daughter.

    Sunday, January 5, 2014 at 11:01 pm | Permalink
  45. Sarah wrote:

    I have to agree with the sentiments of some commenters that this post is really just reinforcing the notion that caesarians are tragedies — that women should feel bad (should “grieve”) about having them. I’m so sick of the intolerance of the natural birth community, telling all of us the only “right” way to birth our children. (No hospital, no epidural, no petocin, no formula, no sleeping in cribs, no baby food, etc, etc, etc.) Lots of women have caesarians and feel no grief whatsoever, and that’s fine too. Don’t project your rigidity onto all women, many of whom feel joy unshadowed by some community-induced guilt that’s reinforced here.

    Sunday, January 5, 2014 at 11:18 pm | Permalink
  46. elfanie wrote:

    Sarah –
    there’s LOTS of women who don’t care how the baby gets out – and there’s even women who CHOOSE cesarean over a vaginal birth.
    This post had nothing to do with that – and only to do with demeaning someone’s feelings about their experience, invalidating it and telling them that they are selfish for having those feelings. If someone was expressing trauma over their vaginal birth, I’d never think to tell her that’s ridiculous, get over your selfish self….
    So no…like another commenter previous to you…it seems you missed the point of the blog post. The post is attempting to explain why certain comments are hurtful – not to debate the legitimacy of any type of birth experience. Who are you to tell someone else how they should feel about their birth experience?

    Sunday, January 5, 2014 at 11:25 pm | Permalink
  47. KC wrote:

    I had 2 C-sections (the first planned due to breech twins, the second following a lengthy labor)and have absolutely no regrets about either birth experience. I can truly say that for me it made absolutely no difference how my children came into the world. I think it’s unfortunate that some women can and do only envision one way as the right way. There is no one right way. That said, I appreciate the article as it gives insight into why someone might mourn a particular birth experience.

    Sunday, January 5, 2014 at 11:50 pm | Permalink
  48. Lynn wrote:

    This woman needs an anatomy lesson. A baby doesn’t come out of a vagina.

    Also, her comments on an adopted child are just vile. Sorry you feel so discouraged that you didn’t give birth to a child that you’re fortunate to have. It is well beyond the financial reach for most people to adopt.

    Monday, January 6, 2014 at 1:42 am | Permalink
  49. Cerise wrote:

    I think the point of this post is to show that it is not about how your baby is birthed, but that women who grieve it still have that right. We have the right not to like the outcome, or the journey. We have the right to feel sad. We have the right to our feelings in any situation, and tang that away from anyone who has had a c-section is wrong. I struggled so much with my c-section, not because I wanted a beautiful butter birth I could brag about, but because I knew how important it was for my baby, for bonding, for allowing the process to happen and not get all the drugs in the way…or recovery time where I wouldn’t get to breastfeed right away, or even hold my baby right away. And I have every right to miss those experiences with her. I made the best, and I am grateful she was healthy…but I didn’t need someone telling me I should “get over it” because at least she was here and alive. It hurts to be put down and your feelings trampled on, just because others don’t know what to say at a particular moment. And just so the other poster know, I am the one in the blog above whose second baby died…and the comments I received after that have been just as bad. “Well, God wanted your baby more than you”, “At least your baby is in Heaven, and doesn’t have to feel any pain or sadness” Pretty much, if you are going to start any comment to another persons sadness with “At least” you should probably just shut up.

    Monday, January 6, 2014 at 2:27 am | Permalink
  50. Debbie wrote:

    I agree with Marian. Childbirth is about delivering a child into this world in the safest way possible, be it by vaginal or csec, with no pain relief or a topped up epidural whilst screaming a corridor down. It IS selfish to be grieving over not having a perfect natural birth and it’s ridiculous not to prepare yourself for the possibility of things not going YOUR way. Wether they’re 3 or 33, your child will just be grateful for arriving in this world, they won’t b concerned that it wasn’t in a candle lit room with only nature for company! We are dealing with life here, real life children. Look at what you have, not what you did. Try and get a grip of life ladies!!

    Monday, January 6, 2014 at 10:24 am | Permalink
  51. Claire wrote:

    My first baby was born alive at 20 weeks (and no, you didn’t miss the news article of youngest baby ever to survive, she didn’t) I had a VB. It was an amazing birth really, everything went right (ignoring the horror on the faces of everyone around me) I followed my body, I didn’t push, I changed position and my body did the work…

    I am very sad of course that my daughter was born too early, but I am glad that I had the perfect birth and I am glad that she was able to die in my arms with just my mum and partner there.

    My second baby was a footling at 31 weeks. I was labouring nicely (yeah, I’m just an impatient mum) with the drip and the first dose of steroids before they found her foot and then I was a crash caesarean. I hate the birth, for over 2 years later I couldn’t talk about it without crying, I had Birth Trauma. Birth Trauma is Post Traumatic Stress Disorder after a birth. Do not be fooled! Birth can be so traumatic that it leaves the mother’s body feeling like she just walked out of a warzone! I am not ungrateful for my daughter, no one could be she is the most amazing little girl I have ever met, I don’t think she’s real! I always shy about talking about how amazing she is because you wouldn’t believe me but everyone says the same.

    I was told I was not a candidate for a VBAC (special scar) so my third baby I had by planned crash. When I was pregnant again I could not have my only good birth to be the one I lost. I had some issues with staff who were not in agreement on the day but I had the birth I wanted. I then had a baby at 29 weeks and the staff were adamant he was coming out naturally. I can not put it any better than you when you said that the journey and the outcome are different things.

    Monday, January 6, 2014 at 10:41 am | Permalink
  52. Claire wrote:

    Sarah, I suffered from PTSD after I had my baby. Be grateful you didn’t but don’t try to take that away from others. Don’t try to invalidate the experiences of others. You’re exactly the reason this post was written.

    Monday, January 6, 2014 at 10:47 am | Permalink
  53. elfanie wrote:

    The GOOD news is that you guys calling these moms “selfish” and telling the to get over it…if you read this blog post, at least you KNOW you are being hurtful and cruel and are choosing to be that way! Nothing will stop a mean person from being mean…telling them that a comment is hurtful isn’t going to stop them.
    This blog post was meant for people who are well intentioned and saying these hurtful things without understanding that they will be hurtful…and to that end I believe (because of feedback I’ve received) that it was successful.

    Monday, January 6, 2014 at 11:19 am | Permalink
  54. Maria wrote:

    I had 4 miscarriage, my 5th pregnancy was a success and I had a beautiful daughter. I had a c-section and I would do it again in a heartbeat because I had a healthy baby after losing 4. Every woman, pregnancy and birth is different and should be treated as such.

    Monday, January 6, 2014 at 12:05 pm | Permalink
  55. kristina Smead wrote:

    So had all mine c-section cuz after 15hr hard labor and water breaking first thing was only dilated a half of centimeter and I have always felt really lucky to have one actually kinda hopped it would happen for the thought that I would so rather be cut that way then be cut the other for a natural birth

    Monday, January 6, 2014 at 12:51 pm | Permalink
  56. Ella wrote:

    So what do want someone to say when you confide in them with the disappointment of having a c-section? The woman says; “Yes, I ended up with an emergency c-section.” Now what? “Oh, that’s too bad.” – still crappy! “Well, maybe your body is not designed for vaginal child birth.” Crappier yet. How about “No matter how a child enters the world, they are still a little miracle. Thank goodness for amazing medical care in our incredible country.” Well now we’re not focusing on mom again. It’s a lose lose for the listener. So tell me, what is it that it ‘okay’ to say?

    Monday, January 6, 2014 at 1:29 pm | Permalink
  57. Deanna wrote:

    I am going to tell you why I find a mom being disappointed with her birth experience offensive. You have a child. I experienced labor twice and both times my baby was stillborn. My point is considered the other side of it. Would you rather have done things your way and possibly lost the child. No, of course you wouldn’t. So things may not have gone like you planned or imagined and I’m sorry. However, sometimes life doesn’t go they way we want. Get over it!

    Monday, January 6, 2014 at 2:31 pm | Permalink
  58. Carrie-Ann wrote:

    It took me 4 years and a miscarriage to get pregnant with son and had a great pregnancy but ended in having to have a section. I was upset but thought I would have more chances as my husband and I planned a large family but when our son was 9 months old he walked out on us. Reading this blog has made me realise that more upset about not being able to birth my son than I first thought as I feel now I will never have another chance now.

    Monday, January 6, 2014 at 3:15 pm | Permalink
  59. lynn wrote:

    If woman want to grieve over their experience that’s their right. But if someone has never gone through what you have and they are trying to take away your grief (because they hate seeing a loved one, friend sad) with a comment you shouldn’t snap at them. I think you should take the time to explain and share your hurt and sadness. Then others can offer sympathy respectfully. “Going off on” women who don’t understand won’t help them understand. It will just create a larger gap. Feelings shouldn’t be yelled; they’re to be shared. I think the message of this post is fine. Only the tone is angry. I wish this perspective has been shared in an enlightening manner instead of coming off as: “why-don’t-you-get-why-we-are-sad-ugh!”

    Monday, January 6, 2014 at 3:30 pm | Permalink
  60. Rita wrote:

    Thank you for this post! I experienced a c-section and still feel sad about it, although i love my daughter more than anything in this world.

    Monday, January 6, 2014 at 4:43 pm | Permalink
  61. Emma wrote:

    I know pretty well how you feel.
    With my daughter I had looked forward to the birth experience, I went into labour naturally (an achievement in itself as I was two weeks overdue and scheduled to be induced) I laboured for over twenty hours before I was told (rather foggily through the Diamorphine (that I did NOT ask for) induced haze) that my baby’s heart rate was dropping and I would have to have an emergency section.
    I was not even able to be awake for my daughters birth as they were unable to get an epidural line in.
    I came around in the recovery room and was introduced to my own daughter by my husband.
    It was a horribly disappointing experience that was as far from the as-natural-and-minimally-invasive-as-possible process I had envisaged.
    Not only was I subjected to the ‘at least you’ve got a healthy baby’ platitude but it was more often than not coupled with the equally patronising ‘still she’s here now that’s the main thing’.
    And yes that is true, yes I was thrilled to be a mommy, but I felt very strongly that the attitude of everyone (who wasn’t me)was: ‘ok, you’ve had a different experience to the one you wanted, but hey, you avoided all that pesky childbirth pain, what are you complaining about, do stop banging on about it’.
    I actually found it quite difficult to bond with my baby after ‘all of that’ despite breastfeeding.
    I still cared for her and loved to hold and look at her, but it was MONTHS before the feeling that she wasn’t really mine and someone would be coming to take her back soon, went away.
    My son was also born via section (again not through choice, I was gestationally diabetic and he was delivered by elective section (at 10lb, 3 1/2 oz) two weeks early) but this time I was awake through the process, I knew some time in advance that this was likely and had at least three weeks of knowing that it WAS going to be happening. I did not experience the same feeling of disconnection with him that I did with my first baby.
    The problem with the phrase ‘at least’ is that firstly that’s what you feel you have done: the very least you could do, when you wanted to do so much more – women who hope and choose to deliver naturally (in my opinion, certainly this was true for me) are doing it so they can give their all for their baby, and ‘failing’ to do that makes it seem anticlimactic, for want of a better expression, and the fact that your feelings on the matter are brushed aside makes you feel that you are ‘making a fuss over nothing’.
    Well I for one feel better knowing I am not the only person to have felt this way and for anyone who knows someone who has had a similar experience, please remember her feelings are VALID, I know they may make you uncomfortable and at a loss for words, but please do not belittle them by telling her ‘at least….’

    Monday, January 6, 2014 at 5:53 pm | Permalink
  62. Phyllis Stein wrote:

    Someone posted this on my FB timeline I know it has been around for a couple of years, but I am pleased to be able to comment. So many things are being confounded here in the comments. First, of course, I totally support the premise of the blog post, it is not helpful to discount what someone is really feeling by telling them it could be worse. it was painful to read the posts that described the blogger as being selfish because others had it worse, as if there is a threshold at which your own feelings count.

    To put this in context, I was Lamaze teacher and a lay midwife (and a La Leche leader) back when (1960′s and 70′s). At least 90% of the women whom I trained had natural deliveries, very few had C-sections and I only remember sending one mother to the hospital in a physician-backed home delivery. Very, very few were induced and very few had pitocin. The biggest reason for epidurals was back labor where breathing and relaxation did not help very much and in many cases the epidural was allowed to wear off in time for a spontaneous delivery. Very few of the women were trying to work stressful jobs, have a baby and then go back to work 2 months later. I had my first baby in the hospital and the second at home with a doctor in attendance. It was another time compared to now.
    What has not been commented on here specifically that I will start with now, is the trauma, per se, of surgery, of any surgery and even more so the surgery that might be on top of prior, even childhood surgeries, that have not been processed. I don’t know if we should be preparing for possible surgery now when we are about to have a baby, but preparation, just as for childbirth under normal conditions, and debriefing afterwards can make a huge difference. I refer anyone interested to this link: http://soulmindyoga.com/yahoo_site_admin/assets/docs/Suggestions_for_Pre_and_Post_Surgical_Events.317211640.pdf

    None of the accounts I read described the experience of the surgery itself as caring, compassionate and empowering. This situation is wrong and unnecessary and traumatizing to the mother and father. Surgery is a time when we need the most help.

    On the other hand, some posters seemed to think that how a baby is born is irrelevant and I would strongly disagree. In our era of 30% C-sections, something is terribly wrong. As many here clearly have experienced, the process of childbirth is an extraordinary journey, with a deeply spiritual and transforming aspect and when it goes well, it establishes a deep bond of trust between mother and baby who worked so well together to make this happen, between the mother and her body and between the mother and those who compassionately supported her in this transformation and in her triumph. But sometimes, even though it seems to go well, it is traumatic for one or the other and that fact needs to be recognized and resources need to be available to help. The trauma reaction could have no obvious connection to childbirth, but that does not make it less real.

    More than that, when the baby chooses its own time to be born, it establishes a fundamental synchrony of the rightness of the rhythms of its life. Induction, pitocin, forceps, not going through the process of birth, all of these are potentially traumatic events for the baby that should happen when necessary but not out of ignorance. I have a friend, Eileen Kinsella, who does craniosacral work with babies and it is a powerful way to release these traumas from a baby’s body and help them integrate what was so overwhelming.

    So just as back when, there is a mix of things here. We are in awe of the ways in which resources are available to save lives, to minimize surgical risk, to make it possible for babies to arrive as safely as possible and yet, just as when we were dealing with a time when most women labored alone and were heavily medicated at delivery and did not see their babies of 24 hours afterwards and when both had taken on the neurologic trauma of general anesthesia (yes that really happened), we are back in an era when something is going wrong but we are out of the mainstream when we name it.

    Not surprisingly to anyone who read this far, I am now involved with trauma healing (via Somatic Experiencing/Peter Levine) and attachment trauma healing (Diane Poole-Heller’s work). We have a long way to go in raising awareness of what really happens to mothers and babies and learning ways to compassionately support each other and our babies in whatever does happen around giving birth and at the same time I feel a deep connection to the people, mostly women, who are part of this sacred mission of reclaiming something that we could have lost.

    Monday, January 6, 2014 at 6:05 pm | Permalink
  63. Sophie wrote:

    I agree entirely, my first was born by emergency CS under a GA after a long labour. My second another emergency section this time awake, it was horrendous, my baby required resuscitation and I needed a blood transfusion. I felt so robbed the first time and was so determined that it wouldn’t happen again, sadly it did, but the second time I felt more empowered in the knowledge I did everything I could and it was just meant to be. I can still never bear to say I ‘gave birth’ because I didn’t – I almost did! Thanks for sharing x

    Monday, January 6, 2014 at 6:44 pm | Permalink
  64. Jess wrote:

    I know this sadness of having a cesarean. I was 41 weeks when they finally decided to put me in the hospital. Then the dr had to induce me. By 12ish the dr broke my water knowing I was only 3 cm dialated. I was filled with sadness with having a emergency Cesarean. To this day I am finding myself very sad because of the pain it caused and that was nearly 5 yrs ago. Some of the drs believe since they waited to so long to do the Cesarean that it had caused problems with my son.

    Monday, January 6, 2014 at 8:43 pm | Permalink
  65. Ann wrote:

    Thank you for the picture of your fresh c-section scar. I’ve never seen one before.

    Monday, January 6, 2014 at 10:56 pm | Permalink
  66. Zoanne wrote:

    When I was having my first son, I had been in labor for about fourteen hours when they informed me that I need to have an emergency CS. I was so upset and cried, but they told me that the baby was having fetal distress and I had to have this done in order to make sure he would be born healthy. Once the epidural took effect, they wheeled me in for surgery. I was awake during this time and as soon as my baby was born, they said, “It’s a boy!” I said, “I KNOW DAMMIT, LET ME SEE HIM!!!” Last words I heard, “She’s hysterical,knock her out!” I was not hysterical…I was pissed that I had to have my baby this way and wanted just to see him. I woke up in a cold dark room hours later. No baby, crying not having seen him yet. I called my sister at 2AM, “What does he look like??””He’s fat and has a cone head” she replied, “now go back to sleep!” I cried the rest of the night. I finally saw my boy the next morning and my sister was very wrong. He was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen. I named him Zion at that point meaning “from Heaven”. Needless to say, when I knew ahead of time years later when I had my second son and knew it would be a CS, I said the most important thing to me is that after he is born, no matter what, do NOT put me out. I needed to see and hold and know my baby as soon as he was born. My Dr. agreed and the experience was definitely much better. Not what I would prefer, but at least I was able to be there from the start.

    Tuesday, January 7, 2014 at 1:40 am | Permalink
  67. Ana Sommers wrote:

    Thank you!! I had dreams of a blissful pain free birth and instead, unable to progress, my baby unwilling to drop, suddenly hit with a fever and a distressed baby had an unplanned c section. I h hemorrhaged. I was seperated from my baby. I wasn’t allowed to nurse her for almost two days. It was awful. And disappointing. And still breaks my heart. But thank you for writing this. Because I agree, the “at least…” comments, while well intentioned im sure, hurt none the less. I have never quite been able to articulate this to those around me. Thank you for doing that.

    Tuesday, January 7, 2014 at 8:43 am | Permalink
  68. Toeni wrote:

    I see my c-sec scar daily. I see it as a reminder that my body failed me and my unborn child. Thanks to modern medicine, my child (with a 5% chance of survival) is nearly 2yrs old and perfect in every way. Still, a scar remains on my emotions as well as my body as a reminder that ‘it was not as it should have been’. Should I forget what happened and ‘just be…’ ??

    Tuesday, January 7, 2014 at 10:25 am | Permalink
  69. Sarah wrote:

    I think most of you missed my point. I think the REASON many women grieve is because they’re subject to the rigid expectations of the “right” way to birth. (No epidural, no petocin, no caesarian, etc etc etc.) I think plenty of women who had joyful caesarians (with no sadness) feel they have to present an ashamed face to the world because of the rigid and doctrinaire expectations of the natural birth community. If you are grieving your birth experience, that’s your right and of course that’s legitimate. But I think posts like this REINFORCE the notion that a caesarian birth experience is tragic and shaming — it’s a vicious cycle. I would never invalidate a woman’s grief over an incredibly important moment in her life. Neither would I assume that a caesarian was a “failure” of her body or her will or her desires.

    Tuesday, January 7, 2014 at 10:42 am | Permalink
  70. Robin wrote:

    I just want to thank you for posting this. I share in your experience because I have done it not once, but three times. The first time I was in labor for 18 hours only to be told they had to do an emergency c-section. I lost so much blood with him that I had to have a transfusion and didn’t get to see him until I came out of recovery. We were in the hospital a week. Our next one was complicated because the tissue had melded together so thick and not aligned right so it took a while and then he was stuck underneath my ribs forcing the doctor to use forceps leaving a hematoma on his head. With our third, the tissue issue was the same and the anesthesia was not as strong so I felt pretty much everything. My sister had three “normal” vaginal deliveries. People don’t really understand unless they have been through it. I would have loved to given normal births to my children, however I would do the c-sections again just to have them because I love them that much. Thanks for sharing your personal story.

    Tuesday, January 7, 2014 at 10:49 am | Permalink
  71. Julie Russell wrote:

    I thought I was crazy for feeling this way… but after reading this I know I am not alone. I knew what I wanted for the birth of my first child but that was dramatically changed and I had a cesarean section. While I am absolutely greatful for the birth of my healthy son. I still wish I had been able to push and have that self satisfaction that I had made this baby then brought it into this world. My heart is with every mom who has felt this way.

    Tuesday, January 7, 2014 at 11:21 am | Permalink
  72. Maleena wrote:

    Hello, I very much enjoyed reading your blog. The below link follows an amazing lady Brene’ Brown (no relation to me)

    “At least” is never a good start to an empathic response.” I’ve been animated! Check out this wonderful animated short by RSA!
    http://brenebrown.com/2013/12/10/rsabear/

    My story:
    My husband and I tried to get pregnant for 5 years. I had surgery for endometriosis. After I finally got pregnant I had a miscarriage. My daughter died at 3 1/2 months, she had down-syndrome. I had a D&C. I became pregnant quickly after in about a month that baby too died at 10 weeks when I began to hemorrhage.
    A few months later I was able to become pregnant again and had a C-section. I had 3 son’s by C-section and I heard all of the statements you listed in your blog. I think people are so uncomfortable when those they love or know experience loss of any kind that they don’t know what to say. It’s good advice to hear the person and leave out the “at least” statements. Thank you for your blog!

    Tuesday, January 7, 2014 at 11:44 am | Permalink
  73. Nuala wrote:

    I’ve had three c sections and to be honest I couldn’t care less how my babies came out as long as they came out ok

    Tuesday, January 7, 2014 at 11:55 am | Permalink
  74. Cindy wrote:

    I had a horrible natural birth with many complications. However I have talked to moms who had a ceasaren n many have said that it was either easier or they would do it again. I’m not sure if they really meant that or if it was a way to deal with the outcome they faced. In the end I think that what people should realize, as well as doctors is having surgery to have a baby should not be routine. Cesarean sections are MAJOR surgeries and it kills me to hear people elect to have it done. I have even hear stories were doctors are on vacation so they choose to have a cesarean because their doctor will be away, REALLY!!!

    Tuesday, January 7, 2014 at 11:57 am | Permalink
  75. anna wrote:

    Just read this post and I felt angry, is full of moaning, I judging yourself negatively, I have two children one born full term normal birth ( vaginal) but failed at second stage due to tirednessi was 23 , had no clue about babies , nappies or anything baby related, but one thing my midwife said that will always stay with me, do whatyou think is best for your baby and keep an open mind of your birth plan, things don’t always happen as we want, and yes she was right all I wanted was the baby out and ALIVE! Because I rather have an alive baby born than one born sleepy because I didn’t have my dream birth, by the way it hurts and if it was ideal/dream birth then it wouldn’t hurt, now at 30i had my second, again I kept an open mind about birth plans, no one wants to be cut open but since I had placenta previa grade 4, i really struggled, I couldn’t walk without bleeding and end up in hospital every week!, I was away from home my oldest was struggling too, my partner worried and I was getting depressed but I stayed strong and did what was best for my premature baby, he was born via c section at 34 weeks and I felt sad because of the way he was born of course my body isn’t the same but who cares, my baby is Alive I listen to the doctors who advised me what was the best for my baby I didn’t want to die just because I wanted my dream birth! I have got over the fact that I had a c section it doesn’t hurt like it doesn’t hurt the pain of giving birth all I CARE ABOUT IS THAT “AT LEAST I HAVE HEALTHY AND ALIVE CHILDREN” :s

    Tuesday, January 7, 2014 at 11:59 am | Permalink
  76. helene wrote:

    Thank you for giving women like me a voice! I’ve had my third and final child and all are healthy but I still ache deeply for the natural birth that I will never have. I had pre eclampsia with my first and went down hill so fast… come to find out her cord was wrapped and she could not make the descent into the world. I am greatful that we made it (I died twice) and that she is a healthy and vibrant young lady whom I adore but that set in motion a string of c sections which I could not escape. With My second I had a full blown panic attack on the table and swore I was drowning. My third was wonderful as c sections go. My docs and staff listened closely and cared for me as a whole person. To them I will be forever grateful they brought laughter and light to my dark corners and made my last c section a happy one. I still ache for the delivery I have been denied but I am healing.

    Tuesday, January 7, 2014 at 12:57 pm | Permalink
  77. C Loy wrote:

    3 times having given birth and I still didn’t “Get it” until I read your article.
    I experienced being pregnant as a misery most of the time, wondering how in the world all those glowing women managed to pull it off. I wondered if we forgot everything we went through for the survival of the species. My first pregnancy I had the flu during most of it, a flu that just would not quit and ended up causing permanent autoimmune issues. MY second pregnancy I had severe toxemia and ended up having my appendix rupture at 9 month’s pregnant, my life only being saved by the precious little one inside of me. My third pregnancy I don’t remember very much of because the autoimmune issues had started effecting everything.
    Each time I was truly overjoyed to have survived it and for my children to each have survived. The concept of “a good birthing experience” was completely foreign.

    When I began to read your blog entry, I had a difficult time understanding your perspective because to me the end-all be-all of the birthing experience was having a healthy baby. Having a healthy baby, one that survived the genetic issues and all the complications was SUCH a bright spot in what seemed an otherwise very dark time.

    I now realize that there is a lot more to birthing than just survival and while I still don’t completely understand that which I have never been able to experience myself, I am so glad that there is more out there.

    Hopefully the mothers and would-be mothers you have known have managed to grieve the loss of possibility and the scars and distresses on their bodies. Thank you for being understanding and being there for them when some of the rest of us couldn’t.

    Tuesday, January 7, 2014 at 1:01 pm | Permalink
  78. llouise wrote:

    Well, now that I’ve read all the comments I’ve got a few things to say. I had one child. I’d planned on two. But, things happened after her birth and the stress was intense and I knew another child would probably lead to the failure of my marriage. So, I said no more and my only is just fine. Yes, having a good birth experience is wonderful. But, even though I had a vaginal birth it was not all candy and roses. It was fast and furious and the contractions were intense right from the start. Nothing like I was led to believe it would be. No time to even see her being born. Still, I am glad not to have had a c-section because it is major surgery and requires a lot of down time to recover. If you don’t have the support you need it’s probably very difficult to deal with a new baby while trying to take care of your own needs. Of course, any woman past, present, 3rd world or no is lucky to have the choice of a c-section because the other outcome is unimaginable and yet it happens more often then we’d like to admit. Pregnancy and birth is still a risky business. There are no absolute guarantees how things will go just educated guesses. Women are waiting longer to have kids. Infertility problems are more common And I worry about all the women undergoing hormone shots and invitro. Will this process have an affect on their health later on? Yes, they desperately want a baby but the money spent and the possible future health problems are rarely addressed? Do doctors know if women might pay a higher price in health problems as they grow older? Only time will tell. Also, and this will not get a standing ovation, adopting aside, having five kids in today’s overpopulated world makes me wonder. Why five, why not two or three? In the US it’s becoming harder and harder for any one parent to stay home. Paying for daycare, clothing, food, furniture and educating a child is incredibly expensive. Of course, this is a sticky area since everyone always gets irate when someone mentions perhaps a little population control is in order here. But, if you are able to have 2 or 3 and want more, why not then adopt the kids that are already born? With the divorce rates skyrocketing and families suffering from overload and school violence on the rise, I wonder if people really think long and hard, beyond those sweet little bundles and worry for their future.

    Tuesday, January 7, 2014 at 1:12 pm | Permalink
  79. Peggy wrote:

    I too have had three cesarean’s and of course with baby number four i have been told i will of course have to have another one because of the fact that i have had three already.. thank you for writing this blog because i dont think many people do understand the let down we feel. yes of course in the end we have our beautiful baby to hold, to love, to cherish but for most of us.. that is not how we wished it.. i remember with my oldest going to the child birth classes.. i was so excited to go through it.. i had my birth plan written and ready , i was going to try a natural birth with no medication unless i just couldnt take it anymore.. but at 32 weeks my bubble was burst when they told me it just wasnt going to happen that i was going to have to do a c-section.. now mind you they did this a month a head of time. i didnt get the chance to even try to go through natural birth.. never felt a normal contraction, never had my water break on its own nothing.. i had my babys birth date about two weeks in advance.. now with my second child it was a little different.. she was breech.. so yet again we scheduled the date for her birth.. it wasnt till after she was born that they decided i could have probably had her naturally and the way i had always hopped.. a year later from my daughter i found out i was pregnant again.. my doctor at the time was going to let me try naturally even though most doctors would have said no way in hell, i was over the moon excited.. i was going to get my wish.. but yet again it was foiled.. this time however i could not blame the doctor. my gestational diabetes had caused my youngest to be nine pounds thirteen ounces, there was no way he was going to fit.. so yet again with baby four i have been told there just is now way in hell we can let you try.. i knew it was going to happen the moment i got pregnant but what upsets me like most of us who have had a cesarean is the fact that some of us feel cheated.. as i said earlier i have never felt an actual contraction, ive had some strong braxton hicks but never once have i actually felt what its like to be in labor..i have never felt my water break, never been able to push my child into the world. never been the first to see or hold my child.. i have always had to wait at least an hour or two to hold my child.. and with my first i was devastated.. my own mother, my step father, my babys father and brothers had held my baby before i did.. . anyway ive gotten off topic.. thank you again for this story and for putting it out there.. i think ppl need to know how we feel bc yes we have a healthy baby.. but we have also been cheated of such a beautiful experience.

    Tuesday, January 7, 2014 at 1:32 pm | Permalink
  80. Amber Johnson wrote:

    Here in New Zealand vaginal birth is embraced and c-section is the last resort for the medical teams as well as mothers and midwives (most have a private midwife regardless of where or how they birth) and I had to fight for both my sections – emergency and elective. My first section I asked for after 30-something hours of labour and several induction attempts none of which increased how dilated I was. I got it at 42 hours when baby started showing signs of distress. Mydoctor diagnosed failure to progress due to cervical scarring. This was caused by previous cancer surgery and a cervical stitch. When I fell pregnant again I wanted section because I didn’t want to go through all that again. As stated I had to fight.

    Despite this, I have felt less of a woman and as though I’ve failed my children at the outset by not birthing them vaginally. I’ve grieved. Yes, I chose, requested, and fought for the surgical option. I did it because I felt that my babies would be at risk if I didn’t. No-one but my husband knows how I feel. No-one has ever asked. No-one has ever commented except the occasional snide comment about laziness or being “too posh to push”.

    Thank you for writing this. Thank you for acknowledging that it hurts to go through this journey by this path.

    Tuesday, January 7, 2014 at 1:44 pm | Permalink
  81. Brea wrote:

    LOVE this blog!
    As mother myself who has experienced both natural and c-section births, my c-section was less than enjoyable. I also had a choice..but was carrying twins, and one baby was still laying sideways come time for delivery.
    I didnt even get to see or hold my girls for almost 4 hours. All I knew was their names. No birth weight or length. If it wasnt for my best friend writting all the information down and handing it to me as I was wheeled out of recovery..i wouldnt have known.
    I am sure everyone has their own experiences, it makes feel more human to know that I am not alone in this feeling.
    Thank you!

    Tuesday, January 7, 2014 at 2:28 pm | Permalink
  82. Melissa wrote:

    Some of these comments are so shallow and callous. Every woman has the right to feel the way she needs and wants to about her birth. Human dignity does not end where birth begins. You don’t have to understand that woman’s feelings in order to have compassion for them.

    When we place judgment where compassion belongs, we are moving backwards in our attitude and understanding of birth trauma and difficult outcome births. To pretend mom isn’t affected by her birth just because she may have a healthy baby is a terrible and harmful fallacy.

    To tell a mother “in the end all that matters is a healthy baby” is equivalent to telling her “you and your feelings don’t matter.”

    My son was born via emergency c-section, I was strapped down to a table while they began cutting me open before the anesthesiologist got there, then put under last minute general anesthesia with no family allowed in the room. I felt the burn going into my iv to knock me out while listening to doctors discuss the “possibile fetal demise” (cause he wasn’t a “real” baby yet, right? “Just” a fetus… ), and then my blood pressure and heartrate soared and my heart stopped on the table while my cesarean baby was delivered vacuum-assisted. (So much for those perfectly round little heads that “all c-section babies have.) I almost died. I didn’t even meet my son the day he was born.

    Go ahead, Tell me the only thing that matters is I have a living child, that I should be happy for that and forget all the rest. You won’t be the first or the last to tell me so. You can tell me how to feel all you want but it won’t change what I went through or the scars I bear, physically and emotionally, for it.

    Birth trauma is a very real problem that is only growing. The indifference and intolerance of others, especially fellow mothers, to this problem, serves to worsen the problem and deepen the wounds of those suffering. We can only change this when enough of us understand and care enough to do something about it.

    You do not have to suffer it yourself to become part of the solution instead of the problem.

    No mother should ever have to consider her child’s birthday the worst day of her life. That’s not a feeling one just chooses a perspective for, it is borne from great pain, and worsened when others reinforce it.

    The next time a mother shares her feelings about her cesarean or difficult outcome birth with you, I urge you to choose compassion. The world has enough critics and I can guarantee you this woman has met her fill of them too.

    Tuesday, January 7, 2014 at 2:53 pm | Permalink
  83. SarahC wrote:

    Being a Mother of two boys who were both born from C-Sections, this post bothers me. I had NO CHOICE about the C-sections.

    With my oldest son I had Pre-Eclampsia and Hellp Syndrome. I was on hospital bed rest, woke up one day in severe pain and constant vomiting. I was rushed into the ER and knocked out (I was not even awake for my sons birth.) Both my son and I died on the table twice. He was born at 28 weeks, and weighed 1 lbs 7 oz.

    My second son was a similar situation. At least (yes I said it) I was awake for his birth and my Husband could be in the room for it. He was 29 weeks and weighed 2 lbs 2 oz.

    For my oldest son, we spent 86 days in the NICU before we could bring him home. My second son was 64 days.

    We counted their weight gain in grams (not ounces,) watched them go on many different O2 machines, have multiple tubes and leads on their bodies, get many different medications, and had two cancer scares.

    We are extremely fortunate that both boys are 100% healthy now. They are 7 years old and 4 years old.

    Not once, NOT ONCE did I ever say “Wow I wish it was a “NORMAL” pregnancy, and wah wah to me.” We are so blessed that they are both in this world, and healthy that we don’t give a damn how they got here.

    Considering all of the trouble you had to bring your child into this world, you should be one of the “At Least” people. I have no regrets and no shame about how my boys came into this world, and you shouldn’t either.

    Tuesday, January 7, 2014 at 3:04 pm | Permalink
  84. Kimber wrote:

    Thank you for this! I did not have a cesarean but I did have to choose between a Vacuum and Forceps. ( For those who dont know a Vacuum has higher risk for the baby and forceps have higher risk for the mother) I choose forceps and have issues to this day now that my daughter is 16 months and healthy. I also had a vicious pregnancy and I am not exaggerating by any means. From Hyperemeisis (cant hold any food down, to morning sickness my entire pregnancy where I could hold very little food down, Ovarian cyst that caused a torsion that after 2 surgeries ended in a loss of 1 ovary, and a 3rd surgery a little later on in the pregnancy that ended in the loss of my gallbladder. I love my daughter and would do anything for her but I dont like the experience through pregnancy or birth. I did not realize that until this article.

    Tuesday, January 7, 2014 at 3:11 pm | Permalink
  85. Amanda wrote:

    While reading this through empathetic tears I can relate to every. Single. Word. My experience with people’s unknowingly insensitive and downright ignorant words resignates within me still today. My daughter is two. I planned a natural birth at a birthing center. I felt so strongly that our bodies are built to deliver babies naturally without being hooked up to wires and monitors, drugs to enduce labor and alleviate pain. I anticipated feeling all the intensity that each contraction had to offer. I wanted to feel alive and feel myself lose control and allow my mind to submiss to the incredible strength and power of my body and its ability to create and deliver a human being.
    36 hours into labor and three trips to the birthing center we were finally instructed to transfer to te hospital as my daughter was in distress. That was the breaking point for my husband. The point when feelings of defeat set in. That moment for me came later. Everything I didn’t want began to happen. Iv’s, heart rate monitors on me and the baby, an admin in my face who could care less about my contractions that began to come on top of each other while the baby’s heart rate plummeted because she needed her papers signed. Bright lights and a circus of people coming in and out of my room as if it’s just another day at the office. To them it was. For me, my dreams of conquering what I knew would be the biggest challenge and most rewarding event of my life were slowly dying. My inner peace I worked so hard for was shattering. I was losing control but not in the way id hoped.
    I knew I had options for an assisted delivery and a c-section should and would be the absolute last resort. The doctor came in and told me I would need an epidural to endure an assisted delivery. Even after 36 hours of hard labor I still asked if there was any other way. Why was my body failing me? Why couldn’t i do this on my own? Little by little I felt I was losing a piece of myself. Surrendering to THEM. My moment of defeat was during the actual epidural. As I laid on my side in the fetal position mid-contraction i met eyes with my husband and mouthed to him “it’s ok”. But it wasn’t. That’s when I truly felt Id lost the battle.
    Ready for an assisted delivery the nurse returns to inform us that the OR is being prepped. The last ounce of adrenaline flooded through both of our veins. My husband flew out of his chair in outrage and I can’t even imagine the horror on my face. Thankfully we were prepared to not roll over to the words “it’s best for the baby.” I won’t accept that so easy. They don’t know who they’re messing with. (That’s how I felt at the time) I demanded the doctor at once and the nurse looked stunned. Who argues with the doctor? We do. Anyway, ha came in with a perturbed attitude as we insisted on at least trying an assist before they slice me open. I could care less where you have to be right now. This is my life! Our lives. He looked at me and said, “you get one push.” With a kiwi assist and one big push after 40 hours of labor we delivered our baby girl.
    I cry to this day when I tell the story because it is a story of mixed feelings. Disappointment, defeat but also a feeling of gratefulness that we do have medical intervention available to us. Not being dramatic, one us would not have survived without it.
    But like you said it is all about the journey, not just the end result. Of course we are happy about that. To hear “at least you have a healthy baby” is nails on a chalkboard. It also sends, to me anyway, a message that you somehow I am ungrateful because things didn’t go my way which is not it at all. My own mother, unfortunately, to this day gives me grief for allowing the labor to go on for so long and not giving in to a section. How insulting. It’s as if they believe I would allow my child to be in danger for some selfish desire of mine. Or that my ego or vanity somehow got in the way.
    I will end here. I just wanted to take the opportunity to let you know your voice has been heard and that there are other women who can understand exactly what you’re feeling.
    I wish you and your family all the best :-)
    Amanda
    San Diego

    Tuesday, January 7, 2014 at 3:55 pm | Permalink
  86. Baby H wrote:

    After several ultrasounds it was clear that I was not going to have my son vaginally without tearing and having him get stuck (9lb 15 oz.. huge head) I chose to have a C-section and do not feel that I lost out on anything as far as my birthing process. My husband held my son right by my face after delivery. They didn’t have to leave the room. They were both there the whole time I was being stitched up and I got to hold him once I got back to my room which was about 40 minutes after delivery. I loved my c-section. I understand where you are coming from.. but this article makes it seem like all c-section mothers missed out on something. Each person is different. And those of you saying how horrible it is for someone to choose a c-section should back off. I made the best decision and got to see my son a lot sooner than if I would have tried to push him and I healed very quickly. Much faster than I would have if I delivered vaginally.

    Tuesday, January 7, 2014 at 4:46 pm | Permalink
  87. Emily R. Bacha wrote:

    I have been trying to find the words for the past (almost)18 months since my son was born via emergency csection.So many people have said well at least he was born healthy and you still have him… It enrages me every time I think about it.He was born at 29weeks, 4 days and was a 2lb 5oz baby that was 15 3/4 inches long…He was not your typical preemie, he is considered a micro preemie.One of the smallest sets of preemies; they are not as rare as people believe…52 days in the hospital and it was 45 minutes away…Anyway, the birth I was panning and wanting was a completely natural, medicine free, epidural free etc. birth.You get the idea.I love my son more than anything.He is my world.I am glad he is healthy and thriving but my birthing experience is no where near my ideal birth.Now next time I will have to fight for a VBAC and find a Dr. that will help.Florida has a law that you cannot have a VBAC in a birthing center.So it is either a home birth (which makes my hubby nervous)or find a Dr. to help me have the birth I desire…Not easy to do by any means…We as women should not have to be ridiculed for the difficult decision to save our babies lives or to birth the way we want.This article is amazing.Truly states how we as women feel.Thank you so much :) – Emily R. Bacha

    Tuesday, January 7, 2014 at 7:42 pm | Permalink
  88. Heather Blanchard wrote:

    It does matter. For 40 weeks and 1 day I planned on a natural birth. After my doctor had to break my water at 6am, the wonderful night nurse left. After a couple hours, the daytime nurse came in (once I really started feeling contractions) and needless to say, it was impossible for me to remain calm in the care of this woman! She was awful, she made me feel completely ignorant. So after a while of wanting to jump out my bed and knock her out, I finally opted for an epidural. Hours later, David wouldn’t drop any lower and we decided on a c-section. I really think being so tense and on edge because of the nurse is why I my experience ended the way it did. But at least he was healthy.. I was very disappointed though!

    Tuesday, January 7, 2014 at 7:44 pm | Permalink
  89. Tanya wrote:

    I have had 4 children, 4 sections. I never went into labor with any of them, not one of them ever dropped, no false labor, nothing. I grew up knowing all I wanted was to be a mother, to be able to experience giving birth in all of its glory. I was cheated. Yes, I have 4 beautiful healthy children, and I live every day for them, but yes, I was cheated. I can not tell you how many people have told me how lucky I was to not have gone through the pain of labor, how lucky I am that my babies heads were perfectly round because they didn’t go through the birth canal, all sorts of things have been said to me. And while it may all be true, it doesn’t change the fact that I was cheated. I in know way love my children any less, they don’t disappoint me because of my loss, but yes, I feel cheated. I missed out on the greatest experience a woman could ever go through, a life changing experience. My children changed my life, and the experience of seeing them and holding them for the first time was incredible, but not being able to feel to feel that immediately after given birth was extremely sad, disappointing, hurtful. And having people tell me how lucky I was and the “at least” made me feel worse. To this day I despise hearing people say those things to me.

    Tuesday, January 7, 2014 at 8:16 pm | Permalink
  90. Lyndsey wrote:

    Thank you so much for writing this post. I just had my third c section in October. My children are my world but I wish my birth experiences were different. Thank you for putting words to my feelings.

    Tuesday, January 7, 2014 at 8:53 pm | Permalink
  91. Melinda wrote:

    I planned to have my son as “naturally” as possible and labored at home until the contractions came very close together. We called my doctor and went to the birthing center, as planned. I was met by a doctor I didn’t know who told me I had waited too long and would not have time for an epidural. He chastised me for not coming sooner and told me I would just have to tough it out. He sent my husband out of the room and continued to tell me to calm down and stop crying when I was calling for my husband. My son came very quickly and they took him away to clean him up and weigh him and all that before I even saw him. I felt like an empty shell. It was awful. My own doctor didn’t arrive until after my baby was born.
    I have always felt sad and very cheated by my birth experience, even though it may seem selfish to say it out loud. I think it’s ok to grieve the anti-climatic ending to a life-changing experience. It’s not as if you give birth 1000s of times. It’s ok to expect it to be special and be disappointed if it’s not.

    Tuesday, January 7, 2014 at 10:11 pm | Permalink
  92. Jessica wrote:

    At Marian and all who are hating on this article…
    I am an American who gave birth in a third world. I lived in a village (read that as no running water, no store, no electricity, no real transportation, etc.) a real village. I had a baby who was born by emergency C-section a month early due to complications. I almost lost him because of the situation. I am so thankful for that he is healthy and here with me today. I have no regrets at all for what happened and am grateful that I was able to get to a hospital that was able to give me the surgery and take care of my baby. That, however, does not lessen the fact that I was sad that I did not experience any part of the birthing process. I hated that I did not get to see my son for 45 minutes after his birth. And I know for a fact that many “third world” women are saddened by the fact that they have emergency situations like mine or give birth in the middle of the night with no help or have a C-section. They grieve for the fact that they did not get to give birth naturally. In some places, they are looked down upon because they were not “woman” enough to give birth naturally. I have lived there, for six years. So don’t spout off about how other people in other countries don’t care how their child comes as long as they come and are healthy. You are ridiculous and ignorant. You should keep your mouth shut and stop hating on other women.

    Tuesday, January 7, 2014 at 10:58 pm | Permalink
  93. Meg wrote:

    This is a touch crazy.
    I have delivered 5 times to 6 kids. I have 3 living children. One of those living deliveries (where I got to the hospital in zero pain, dialated 6-7cm, ready to push within half hour) ended up being an emergency c-section. Was I scared? Definitely. Was I upset? Not even a tiny bit. They were going to get my healthy child out so I wouldn’t have to bury another baby.
    Birth is about getting a baby into the world the safest and healthiest way possible.
    Even though it was literally the furthest thing on my mind during pregnancy and labour, I am so grateful for my section scar. It represents my healthy and happy little girl.

    Tuesday, January 7, 2014 at 11:21 pm | Permalink
  94. Jill wrote:

    I was sad that I didn’t hold my baby immediatly and I had complications, so didnt see him for quite a while and I think it affected me I had some ppd but I do think its ok to feel like “at least he’s healthy” 50 years ago we both could have died so I’m ok with it. I’m happy to have a healthy baby. I think it is a bit selfish to be upset that YOUR plan didn’t work- the plan is: get a healthy baby out! My doctor told me that from the beginning, it’s gods plan not ours and there are a lot of things you cant plan being a mother..this is just the first.

    Tuesday, January 7, 2014 at 11:49 pm | Permalink
  95. kaitlyn wrote:

    i had a c-section and when people say oh my thats horrible i just say im thankful i made the choice to do a csection my doctor didnt know what he was doing i told him my daughter was sideways and he kept saying no until the op was done and had said thank god i choose seeing she came out side way weighing 9’12 csections are tuff but at the end you will have a happy baby which makes a happy mom

    Wednesday, January 8, 2014 at 12:10 am | Permalink
  96. Laura wrote:

    Thank you very much for sharing that, I’ve never had C-section and hope I never do for that exact reason. I have always felt strongly about it and do not understand these who chose to have a C-section in the beginning for no reason.

    Wednesday, January 8, 2014 at 12:29 am | Permalink
  97. Ashley wrote:

    I think this blog post echoes how many of us feel. If some feel differently…ok…but this is how probably the majority of us who were really wanting the natural experience feel. Also I want to make it clear…recovery is dependant on many factors including size/weight and if you avoid infection. I was not huge…but I wasn’t skinny…so my recovery was slower…as well as I got severe infection. On top of that my c section was emergency and very traumatic. Recovery took months and was excruciating…while some healed much quicker. So lets not get it twisted..its not less painful or a quicker recovery than natural birth for everyone. Nor is it selfish to feel robbed of the natural birth experience. Shame on a few of you for your rude and insensative comments! To the lady who had a stillbirth…your comment is out of line..although I get where your coming from.While I feel sad for your losses…its not fair of you to say because we had children who did come through ok, we shouldn’t be allowed to have emotions and frusterations over the experience. We are humans..and thus allowed human emotions! My daughter was early…on top of the c-section…she almost didnt make it. I will not apologize or be told I am selfish for feeling unsettled about not being able to have a natural birth! Its shameful that in a bunch of comments from mothers…we cannot respect each others feelings and emotions if we don’t share them! And shame on those of you who are calling us selfish and what not for feeling the way we do. Really really disappointed in some of the commentors…shame on you!

    Wednesday, January 8, 2014 at 1:55 am | Permalink
  98. Bobbi wrote:

    Thank you for writing this because now I know why I would get upset every time someone told me “Atleast… ”
    My story: I had difficulties staying pregnant. We had two miscarriages before finally figuring out I had MTHFR. I finally had my son and I planned a natural birth at the hospital, with a doula and had Bradley method classes. I was ready! Well after 35hr labor, I gave up! I couldn’t do it anymore. I opted for c-sec because he was OT and I was in horrendous back labor. I was so sad! No one truly understood that though. Then in 2012, I got pregnant with a girl. I had an amazing pregnancy with her. I was going to have my home birth that I always wanted. At 37 weeks she stopped moving. At that moment, I felt as if my world ended. People would say “oh I hope they highly medicate you and take her by c sec so you won’t have to feel anymore pain” … I knew in my heart that’s not what I wanted. I wanted to feel her and what it’s like to experience such a beautiful journey. To finish my physical journey with her. It was the most peaceful birthing experience with her! She gave me the gift of a vaginal birth even though dr’s and family said I shouldn’t. I had (by the grace of God) got pregnant 3 months after her passing and now we have a beautiful baby boy. People still say “At least…”

    Wednesday, January 8, 2014 at 3:22 am | Permalink
  99. “At least….” I hate those words to begin with. Nothing good comes after those words because they are an attempt to minimize whatever had gone wrong. Your house burned down? Lost all of your possessions, your 3 children, your spouse and your goldfish? AT LEAST YOU DIDN’T BURN UP TOO!

    ^ so, that IS actually what people say to me. Our house burned down when I was in my 25th week of pregnancy. I had my baby from stress and shock at 30 weeks and while it was “natural” there was nothing natural about it. My contractions were literally killing him and the environment was ready to spring into action. I was one push away from a c/s and I gladly would have taken it. Total nightmare. I have heard “at least…” re everything. …at least he’s healthy NOW. at least you weren’t home, you would have died. You lost everything but you still have your lives. Yes, all this is true.

    It annoys the daylights out of me. I sat in NICU for two months waiting for them to find my dead cats in the rubble.

    BUT. It’s been nearly three years and I can say that often these comments come from a good place. When faced with such a horrible situation it’s hard to know how to respond. People want to gravitate towards the silver lining. I get it. Some just say ‘that sucks’ and I prefer that because it’s more of an acknowledgement that NOTHING went as I planned or even imagined in my wildest worst scenarios.

    I’m sorry you didn’t get the birth experience you wanted. It hurts.

    Wednesday, January 8, 2014 at 10:06 am | Permalink
  100. Kim wrote:

    I feel very sad for your caesarian experience. I also prepared myself for a natural birth with my mum and husband present and no pain relief but because of foetal distress and a failed induction I ended up under the knife.

    Our stories go separate ways here, though. My surgical team were warm and friendly and the midwife and anesthetist were particularly great. My son was given to me while they stitched me up and the priority was skin to skin contact as soon as possible.

    The whole team made it as joyous a birth experience as possible.

    Do I regret that I didn’t get the life affirming ‘real’ experience I wanted? Absolutely. I cried. A lot.

    But because such effort had been made for the emergency section to be a proper birth event and not an operation, and because my husband and mum were so supportive, it was easier to pick up and dust off.

    A little acknowledgement that the journey matters goes a long way – even when the journey ends in a rainstorm.

    Wednesday, January 8, 2014 at 3:27 pm | Permalink
  101. Kylie wrote:

    I was born as the result of my mothers 39 hour labor (vaginal birth). It was an absolute nightmare, as were the births of my grandma and great grandma. So when she found out she was pregnant with my brothers (twins) she scheduled a c-section, they were popped out in a matter of minutes, safe and sound.

    Not sure why so many of these comments and the article see c-sections as a “failure”, I see it as a way to save lives. My mom said if she could do it again she would have definitely had me via c-section.

    So stop making birth out as some magical, spiritual, “experience” that has to be “just so” in order for you to be satisfied, that is disgustingly selfish. I will be absolutely thrilled to have children one day as long as they are healthy and free of defect. I could care less how they arrive :)

    Wednesday, January 8, 2014 at 6:11 pm | Permalink
  102. elfanie wrote:

    Kylie – I absolutely agree! And how insensitive would someone need to be to look at your mother who had an absolute nightmare birth (vaginal) and say, “It’s selfish of you to complain…at least you had a healthy baby.”
    I’m not sure where in my blog post you read anything about birth needing to be a magical spiritual experience that has to be “just so”….some of these comments REALLY sound like this was posted somewhere and there was a c-section scar pictured and you are commenting on c-sections, not on what the blog post actually addresses.

    If you have ANY birth experience that is disappointing to you for WHATEVER reason….telling you “at least you have a healthy baby” can be hurtful and dismissive to that person’s feelings of disappointment. Period. Has nothing to do with birth choices.

    Wednesday, January 8, 2014 at 7:19 pm | Permalink
  103. melissa wrote:

    I had a csection due to my daughter being breach and to this day am still heartbroken I didn’t get to experience the birth of my daughter naturally from water breaking to labor I wanted to experience it all. I am so very glad she is healthy but knowing I will ever have that one special experience hurts. Some tell me I’m lucky that csection is the way to go but I say bs I hated being cut on…

    Wednesday, January 8, 2014 at 7:41 pm | Permalink
  104. Melissa wrote:

    I don’t understand the insinuation that to have disappointments means you are not grateful. Disappointment and gratitude are both very real and valid emotions that can and do co-exist.

    I can be disappointed in my traumatic birth and grateful my son and I are alive.

    I can be disappointed that my heart stopped on the table and grateful that it started again. 

    I can be disappointed that I spent my first day as a mother in a medically-induced coma and grateful for every day as a mother since.

    I can be disappointed that my bladder and uterus fused together after my c-section causing incontinence, discomfort, and painful sexual side effects, further resulting in another painful open abdominal surgery and grateful I am now continent and able to enjoy sex.

    Wednesday, January 8, 2014 at 10:53 pm | Permalink
  105. dbcanada wrote:

    I worked as a nurse in maternity for over 25 years. When a woman is pregnant she envisions her labor and delivery and her perfect child. When live throws a curve and she has to have a c-section or baby has problems she has to grieve the dream. Grieving means sadness, so even though she is happy about her healthy baby she is sad as well. Family and friends need to give her the support to grieve not just brush it off with comments as those mentioned in the article.

    Thursday, January 9, 2014 at 1:29 am | Permalink
  106. RBC wrote:

    I kid you not. I had an unplanned c-section after laboring. I cried and cried when the decision was made. The surgery came with complications and I had to be knocked completely out without being warned that is what the anesthesiologist meant by “I’m fixing it! It’s almost over!”I woke up while still in the OR, baby and husband already gone. I, of course, immediately started crying my eyes out. Not only had I just completely missed the birth of my child and his first cry, he wasn’t even in the room! Plus, I was still quite frightened by what had happened during surgery. The first thing out of the anesthesiologist mouth when he saw I was crying was: “What is wrong Honey? Do you have a little postpartum depression?” Yep. My baby’s first cry was replaced by that question! There are no words for how much it still angers me! I can literally still picture and hear him asking it 3 years later! I’m not even going to go into the countless “At least he is healthy” remarks.
    I have 2 beautiful boys. My 2nd c-section went smoothly other than the blinding, mind-numbing fear I felt while on the table because I feared a repeat of the first times, but the fact remains that I’ll never get back my first birth and I’ll never enjoy the memory of his first cry. Instead of holding my sweet babies after delivery, I sat in recovery alone, waited impatiently, and sobbed while everyone else enjoyed watching them be cleaned up in the nursery. C-sections are awful. I’m tearing up right now just thinking about them.

    Thursday, January 9, 2014 at 2:37 am | Permalink
  107. Crystal wrote:

    This made me very sad for you but also very sad for those that are facing an inevitable Caesarian who read this and are scared to death by it. With my first child, I was told that my hips hadn’t widened enough to ever be able to birth much more than a 6 lb. baby. I was terrified of Caesarian and tried to talk to as many people who had had them and find their experiences. I got very little information or got very negative, saddening information. Terrified doesn’t begin to describe how I felt especially right before surgery (my dad actually said they must have really upped my meds bc I was losing it). Once I got in there, though, everything was just wonderful. After the fact, no one commented saying “at least you have a healthy baby.” Instead my mother-in-law, who I adore, said “you are lucky, your vagina is still in great shape so in 6 weeks the sex will still be great!” I loved it and it’s so very true. Yes, I originally wanted a vaginal birth. I wanted my mother-in-law to be able to see her first grandchild born. No one could have possibly been as excited as she was and I was devastated that she couldn’t be, but she was elated either way. Two more cesarians and still my vagina is intact and my husband and I are very happy. Yes, I feel bad that your journey didn’t go as you had planned and that sucks. But I feel very sorry that you can’t look at the positives and wrap your head around the reality of what was rather than focusing on what was a fantasy for you. Yes, you give other women their fantasies of birth all of the time and that is wonderful, but that isn’t for everyone and it doesn’t make the miracle any less miraculous.

    Thursday, January 9, 2014 at 8:55 am | Permalink
  108. Heidi wrote:

    As I read it i thought OMG I have sad this. I had a C-section on 12/16/2013. After two unmedicated vaginal births i never ever ever thought i would have a csection. this pregnancy was so different….I greieved not being able to stay in midwifery care do to Gestational diabetes. I greived when i developed Pre-E. Then that day I grieved when my OB came and told me he thought I should have a c-section. His fear was that my son was more then 12 pounds and would cause severe blood loss or shoulder dystocia, his heart was also struggling in utero. I asked to wait for my fiance and made the decision with him. But I cried as though something had been ripped from my soul. I knew it would disrupt breastfeeding and boding, but yes i wanted my son to have a good chance. he was born 14lbs. he began having breathing problems and after being snuggled nexy to my face for all of two minutes he was whooshed away to another hospital with a higher level NICU.

    So yes i was glad he would be cared for, I layed there helpless in a bed unable to do anything, trying to maintain my myself. then i sat there for another two days in the hospital crying…..

    My son is home now and I am trying to breastfeed the one thing i also counted on but now doubt my abilities(but i know i can do it)….

    i am still Wombyn!! And am so happy my lil boy i s healthy and look forward to a VBAC one day maybe…..So thank you for writing this and sharing!!

    Thursday, January 9, 2014 at 12:40 pm | Permalink
  109. Laurie Snyder wrote:

    I agree 100% with Megan Clifton’s comment. (#38 above) I had to have 2 C-sections, and those were 25 and 28 years ago. My first was an emergency C_section due to the baby not being able to flip in the right direction and therefore not come out. Having a C-section shouldn’t take away from the “journey” of experiencing having a baby…that’s just RIDICULOUS. A precious baby is born…THAT’S ALL THAT MATTERS! It isn’t about us and our missing out on going all natural or feeling the crowning of the baby…it’s about the BABY…and that they were born….PERIOD…no matter how they got here/arrived. A new life has come into this world…CELEBRATE!!! Don’t have a pitty party for yourself…let it go and move on with it.

    Thursday, January 9, 2014 at 1:35 pm | Permalink
  110. Becky wrote:

    I struggled with these feelings after the birth of my first child. I was a week late, had severe pre-clampsia, kidneys were failing, gaining weight like crazy. Labor was not even remotely close to starting. I did not have one contraction. My body was not progressing at all – baby never dropped, nothing. I had to have an emergency c-section. I didn’t really have a choice. For the months after my daughter was born, I did feel somewhat cheated. I experienced pregnancy, but nothing else. I never, ever had a contraction. Eventually, however, I realized that the c-section was a blessing. My situation had really become critical. My body was on the verge of shutting down. I was not a candidate for induction because of all the other problems. I had to have a c-section. It took me a while to be okay with that. With my second daughter, we talked about VBAC. Although I didn’t have the blood pressure and kidney problems, I still never progressed in terms of delivery. Never had a contraction. Looking back nearly 10 years after my second child, I know that a c-section is what has afforded me the opportunity to have my girls, and I am grateful for that.

    Thursday, January 9, 2014 at 3:34 pm | Permalink
  111. Ina wrote:

    I think I had a similar experience. I had a beautiful pregnancy with my baby boy. I was exercising eating well. Just everything was so perfect!!! I got into labor and went to the hospital. I fully dilated after being 16 hours in labor. I don’t understand these American hospitals and doctors. For 16 hours in labor my doctor never checked on me. She came when my baby fully descend and was about to come out. She checked me and told that his head and something else were coming out. She right away called all anesthesiologist and nurses to do a C-section. It might sound selfish to some people but I was begging her not to do that, I was begging her to ask for second opinion. I still don’t believe that my baby was in wrong position. These American doctors don’t even try to do anything naturally if there is even slight deviation from perfect delivery. They just want to cut you. More money for them. After surgery she came and told me also that I should be happy since I have a healthy baby. I was so traumatized and devastated. For two months I was like in shock and was not able to focus on my baby. My boy is 4 months old now, nut I stilly cry every day when I am thinking about my experience or see pregnant women. Before I wanted 3 kids and now I am scared…

    Thursday, January 9, 2014 at 9:56 pm | Permalink
  112. Hannah wrote:

    Thank you for this post. I cry every time I think of my delivery. I had an emergency c-section and couldn’t stop crying. Nobody could understand why I was so heartbroken. I have anxiety of my second birth being like the first. I have one picture from my sons birth and wasn’t able to hold him up for a while after delivery. I had a girlfriend who gave birth naturally tell me that she thought my recovery was easier than her vaginal birth. If she only knew how it felt to have an unplanned c-section.

    Thursday, January 9, 2014 at 11:46 pm | Permalink
  113. helene wrote:

    I’m glad you feel that way but you nor anyone else has the right to invalidate anyone’s feelings.. period. Every woman is entitled to her journey.

    Friday, January 10, 2014 at 3:41 am | Permalink
  114. Amy Hartman wrote:

    Thank you- articulately said Stephanie! This phenomenon is pervasive in our culture: Being uncomfortable validating sadness or hurt in general. And it starts young: How many times have you seen a child fall down at the playground and get hurt and the parent picks him up and says “Your ok, don’t cry, you’re fine.” Actually, he’s not ok, he is experiencing fear and pain. The empathetic response would be some derivation of A: That sucks and B: I’m sorry. This is a message to all humans to make our race more evolved: Practice empathy.

    Friday, January 10, 2014 at 12:33 pm | Permalink
  115. Betsy wrote:

    It IS insensitive to minimize a woman’s feelings after birth. There are so many feelings to which only a mother can relate after the birth experience.

    I think that the “at least” phrase is typical of our culture in America where we are encouraged to be happy regardless of what life brings us. I wouldn’t demonize anyone for saying it. They probably–though somewhat thoughtlessly–meant well.

    It is little understood that there is more to mourn in life than the loss of life. Distanced from my births as I am (my kids are 30,28 and 24) I can relate to the caesarean as well as the vbac involving a cord-around-the-neck, although-gratefully-the latter resulted in my daughter’s live birth. All my births were in hospital as I had no negative associations with hospitals, my dad being a doctor and my mom having birthed 10 children, 8 of them live, in hospital. It just wouldn’t have occurred to me to have my babies at home.

    That being said I was entranced by the idea of a home birth when I learned my SIL was planning to have her first child at home. It sounded so romantic. Sadly, her birth resulted in brain injury for her daughter and I felt dead set against the promotion of home birth for years.

    Now, I’m not about any one way to do things. Only to offer a kind ear and support to young parents. I have experienced and understand loss (miscarriage), I’ve experienced a caesarean birth as well as vbacs. But I’ve never regretted having my children in the hospital.

    I think as humans we often set ourselves up for disappointment when we raise our expectations too high. As peri-birth professionals we can and should encourage and support choices our parents make but we should also try not to demonized the hospital, even the caesarean experience. It’s not a failure–a loss, surely but not a failure. And if sadness over the birth experience lingers over months then we’re talking post-partum depression and mom and dad need help addressing it.

    Mourning is deeply personal and is never COMPLETELY gone…especially over the loss of a child. But it should get more bearable over time. And one way to help with that process is to encourage the mourner to share, share, share whatever they are feeling. Let her embrace her sorrow but with the hope that she will live through those feelings and eventually move on. It’s not up to us to offer the solution, much less a “silver lining” but to validate those feelings and encourage the sufferer to feel them and work through them.

    I think, though, that we need to achieve some balance in our thinking about birth experience. My own experience was that, with my first, I was in labor 14 hours after the water broke, the doctor said I could go 24 but he also played the “brain damage” card (questionable, maybe, but I trusted doctors remember). “Then open me up” was my response. I was fortunate in that I didn’t have any particular expectations of the birth. I just wanted my baby and I was thrilled with him. Would it have been better for him had I waited out the labor (I was only 3 centimeters at 14 hours) or worse? No way to answer. They say going through the birth canal is critical to the baby’s life experience. But I’ll never know if it would have been better for him. For me, it felt like I’d done a gazillion sit-ups but I healed so fast, I was so thrilled with him. The first “baby-blues” I experienced was when I had to temporarily bottle feed him because of jaundice. So, personally, I’m glad I didn’t have detailed expectations of that birth experience. Down the road I experienced vaginal birth, first with my daughter and I was grateful for the internal monitor that indicated the cord was around her neck because I knew to stop pushing until I was ushered into delivery and the doctor could help get her out faster and ease the cord from around her neck. My third I could have delivered at home, he came so fast.

    But we can’t know how it’s going to go. Today I’m grateful to have had such a variety of experiences in birthing my children. As a post-partum doula I would encourage a new mom to cry out ANY feelings, soothe her, reassure her and encourage her to look ahead to the next moment we share with her newborn. With a bereaved mother I would remind her of all she did RIGHT, that sadly birth loss does happen and would encourage her to speak and write her feelings, write a letter to her precious baby, anything that would help her to process such a terrible loss. Meantime, I’d take care of light household tasks, feed, massage, sing to her, encourage her to walk outside and try to find first acceptance then hope. No one can get inside the mourner and feel everything they feel as they feel it and that’s a good thing. Because with life experience, we can empathize with the feelings while not being overwhelmed, thereby enabling us to be a lifeline for the mourner back to life.

    Friday, January 10, 2014 at 1:58 pm | Permalink
  116. Shelli wrote:

    Thank-you… this encapsulated all of the feelings that I had about my birth experience. I had a C-section. I so wanted to hold my baby first but never got that opportunity. I also had a reaction to the drugs I was given and ended up being really groggy so my first moments and day with my new little girl was a blur. I have never told anyone that this made me sad.

    Monday, January 13, 2014 at 10:28 pm | Permalink
  117. Amy wrote:

    I have not had a c-section, but what you have written really speaks to me. I had hyperemesis gravidarum with each of my three pregnancies, my last pregnancy being the worst. I was vomiting before I knew I was pregnant, delivered my baby 25lbs lighter than my pre-pregnancy weight, was taking antiemetics every three hours, on a good day I only vomited two or three times, and the longest I ever went without IV fluids was 10 days. It hurts everytime I hear “At least you can get pregnant.” or “At least your baby is healthy.” I am so very grateful that I have been able to conceive and deliver three healthy children, I don’t take that for granted as I know so many women are not. However, I am still sad that I have never been able to experience a joyful pregnancy. Pregnancy is supposed to be a wonderful, magical time when you first get to know that special life you are bringing into the world. For me pregnancy brought misery, worry, physical and emotional pain. Would I do it again? Absolutely, I would be sick again and again for my children, I would endure anything it took to bring them here healthy. Just as many women need to be able to grieve the birth experience they lost, I need to grieve the pregnancy experience I’ve lost. I’m sorry that so many of us are made to feel guilty for our feelings. Thank tou for sharing your story. While I’m sure most individuals are well meaning in their “at least…” comments, hopefully, some will read this and unserstand that albeit unintentionally, they do more harm than goos.

    Tuesday, January 21, 2014 at 12:53 pm | Permalink
  118. Fiona Payne wrote:

    Thanks, that really helped. I am an obstetrician and had an emergency caesarean at 36 weeks because I had a bleed. (We tried for a vaginal delivery with a syntocinon drip for 12 hours first). Gutted just does not cover it. Fingers crossed for my VBAC. I will never use the ‘at least…’ line again.

    Thursday, January 23, 2014 at 5:07 pm | Permalink
  119. Tammy wrote:

    My son was born at 26 weeks due to pre-eclampsia. I had no choice but to have an emergency C-section. He stayed in hospital for 12 weeks and 6 days when he came home. I have mourned the loss of my pregnancy, the fact I never got to push my son out, fulfil my job as a woman and a mother. I have been told on so many occasions “at least he is here and safe” or “at least you never got to experience a contraction” and “labour really sucks, you’re lucky” and I never could phrase why this upset me so much, but your post sums this up completely. Thank you so much for summarising why having a C-section is not the “easy” option, I am not “lucky” I missed one of the proudest, most wished for experience that a lot of women want, and I dreamed of. I am proud of myself and of my now very healthy baby. I never EVER lost sight of that fact, but it does not stop me feeling guilty and like a failure. I think a lot of women who had a natural birth that went as well to plan as any birth could, take this for granted. Thank you once again.

    Friday, February 28, 2014 at 6:27 am | Permalink
  120. A. Clifford wrote:

    Wow… The only reason I was able to read this entire post through was the fact that I was clinging to the hope of it making sense in the end. You want for people to realize how ridiculous the words “at least you have a healthy baby” sounds, but then compare a c-section to someone’s home burning down with there children and spouse inside! Really? What you rambled on about for way to long could have easily been relayed in a few short sentences. You want to be allowed to grieve for losing your right to choose. Fine, noted. You didnt get the birth experience you wanted. Okay..Often when people say things like “at least you have a healthy baby,they are trying to be comforting. Not everyone knows what to say or how to say it but the fact that they care and want to try to comfort you should be appreciated. You have the right to your opinion. Just keep it a little shorter, don’t exaggerate it, morn you loss and move on. There are people truly suffering through unimaginable things and a successful c section is not on that list. We absolutely SHOULD be looking around saying wow I am fortunate. Things could have been worse. Not to mention the fact that you imply woman that have had to have c sections are some how less involved in the birth, less aware of the experience, less of a mother. You’ve been offended by a lack of sympathy and understanding but then turn around and offend others. Seems condescending and thoughtless to me. The very thing your accusing people of being toward you. Makes it seem like a waste of time when it’s all said and done:(

    Wednesday, April 30, 2014 at 9:13 am | Permalink
  121. Amy wrote:

    Thank you so much for writing this. I keep coming back and rereading it. I might as well have written this myself. I planned a midwife assisted birth for my first at an independent birthing center. After a near perfect pregnancy at 37 weeks I developed severe preeclampsia and was transferred to the hospital. They tried softening my cervix and inducing me (those things by themselves were traumatic enough) I was on magnesium to keep my blood pressure down and was at high risk for seizures. Magnesium actually stops contractions. So after 38 hours I had gone from nothing to dilated to a 1 back down to a tight one. Finally, concerned for my babys health,in anger, desperation, frustration, feeling like a failure, and everyone very concerned for my wellbeing, I consented to a cesarean. It was incredibly traumatic. Right before they started cutting me open I was laying on the operating table (having never experienced a surgery any bigger than wisdom teeth removal) gently crying while my arms began shaking uncontrollably. The anesthesiologist looked down at me and harshly asked, “Why are you crying?!” I said, I’m scared. She asked, harshly again, Why are you scared? I just shook my head and said you dont understand. Many many times in the four months since I had my beautiful, healthy baby people have reminded me how blessed I am to have a healthy baby while completely dismissing the horrible experience I went through to get to that end. I would rather them not say anything if thats the best they can come up with.

    Sunday, May 18, 2014 at 4:38 pm | Permalink

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