CBAC moms need a safe space to talk about CBACs.
There are few safe spaces for talking about CBACs. The “it doesn’t matter how the baby is born” crowd doesn’t want to hear it; the natural birth crowd doesn’t want to hear that birth doesn’t always work; the VBAC hopefuls don’t want to hear that CBACs really do happen sometimes; and family members just want you to get over it already. It’s important to have a safe space where a CBAC mom can talk freely.
CBAC moms need to tell their stories fully.
Often, CBAC moms feel hesitant to share their stories, like their story isn’t “good enough,” or feel they have to apologize for having had a CBAC. Many CBAC moms are afraid to tell their full stories, lest they discourage/scare someone else in their own births. All too often, they self-edit their stories and never get a chance to emotionally process the whole birth.
CBAC moms need a space free from judgment.
Too often, others judge or analyze the CBAC mom’s experience for her. CBAC moms have enough self-judgment. They don’t need armchair quarterbacking from someone else.
CBAC moms need validation.
Many CBAC moms need others to acknowledge the work they did towards their CBAC, to recognize that they worked hard for that birth, even if things didn’t work out the way they wanted. Too often this validation is missing.
CBAC moms need to process their ambivalence.
Many CBAC moms will have ambivalent feelings, loving their baby but being disappointed at having yet another cesarean. Women need to process all their feelings about their CBAC, they need to know that it’s okay to be ambivalent, and they need multiple chances to process their story as their feelings evolve.
CBAC grief is unique.
Having multiple cesareans is different from having only one scar. The first time could have been a fluke; the second time feels like a pattern. The “brokenness” feels confirmed, and the bitterness and sense of “failure” digs in even more deeply.
A VBAC later on is not a cure-all for a CBAC.
Having a VBAC is healing in many ways, but it never completely takes away the CBAC. That pain, that frustration, that element of doubt is always with you afterwards. Even after a VBAC, there may be more processing to do.
CBAC moms are all unique.
CBAC moms are not all alike. They have different experiences and needs. Some will go on to have VBACs, while others will not because of medical indications, fertility issues, or family size choices. Some may have more than one CBAC; some may have a VBAC and then a CBAC. A few may have catastrophic complications and must grieve the injury or loss of a child, a rupture, or a hysterectomy, while also grieving for their birth dreams. While many share the common bond of a CBAC, our experiences and future realities may be quite different, and we need to respect those differences.
CBAC moms may need to take breaks from birth groups.
It may be too painful for CBAC moms to constantly be around VBAC/birth groups, and it’s overwhelming to process grief continuously. It’s okay to take breaks as needed.
CBAC moms need other CBAC moms.
Sometimes only other CBAC moms really “get” how a CBAC feels. CBAC moms need to dialogue and help each other heal. Join a CBAC support group, or make a personal connection with another CBAC mom to help support each other.
CBAC moms need the gift of time.
Often the lessons from a CBAC don’t become clear for a long time; the anger and grief can be too overwhelming at first. CBAC moms need time and space to vent that freely, and reassurance that in time, they may begin to understand their experience in different ways or even to find more peace with it.