Cesarean Myths: “A Healthy Baby is All that Matters!”

Guest post by Sheila Stubbs, originally published June 2009

Sooner or later, it seems every woman who has had her baby delivered by cesarean section hears those words. While we’re very thankful for our healthy babies, the statement can leave a mother feeling like she doesn’t matter. I’ve been trying to think of some kind of analogy but there isn’t anything that compares to giving birth. Becoming a mother is a rite of passage surrounded by such meaning and emotion, it cannot be compared.

There is one other very special event in a young woman’s life to which I have tried to compare the act of giving birth: your wedding. It is similarly an emotional rite of passage involving your close relatives and friends. It’s also expected to be a stressful but happy time and one that will certainly change your life. Now imagine after all your planning for the big day, on the way to the church you are involved in a car accident and have to spend the day in the ER.

To your surprise, the ER nurses don’t really seem to care that this happens to be your wedding day; after all, lots of people get married and lots of people get in car accidents. They agree it’s unfortunate but it’s the marriage that matters, not the wedding. They see this every day and think you are being ungrateful for their services and imply you are being rather selfish – a bit of a baby!

Your wedding guests hear about the accident. They’re concerned but they know you’re in the hospital and that you’re fine, so they continue to hold the dinner and dance without you. Your family and invited guests open your wedding presents for you. You hear how they “oohed” and “aahed” over how beautiful your gifts were and how nicely they were packaged.

Late that night, after the guests have gone home from the dance, you are released from the hospital and leave for your honeymoon. You’re very thankful that no bones were broken – it could have been much worse – but you are still badly bruised. You had a lot of activities planned but the pain puts a damper on everything you’d planned to do. Lovemaking is awkward and sleep is fitful. The view and the weather are lovely but you ache from your injuries too much to appreciate it all.

As your first anniversary approaches, you’re haunted by the memory of the accident. You recall the hours spent in the hospital worrying about the results of the X-rays and tests. Remembering vividly how horrible it was, you begin to feel angry and jealous that everyone partied while you were left behind. Then you remember that the nurse had said it was childish to feel that way and you’re overwhelmed with guilt. There’s a lump in your throat as you try to celebrate the happy occasion – a vague memory of signing a paper to make your union legal. You are married and have the rest of your life together, and well, that’s all that REALLY matters, isn’t it?

sheila-stubbsSheila Stubbs is the author of Birthing the Easy Way. Find more at her website here.

1 Comment

  1. Carol December 4, 2017 6:02 pm  Reply

    It is a blessing to have the support of women–midwives, doulas, nurses–that believe in the strength of women in giving birth. It is a rite of passage that can give a woman confidence as she begins motherhood. I liked your analogy with a wedding.

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