In the old days, I used to subscribe to a whole slew of magazines. These days, I am more selective about my subscriptions and my time. With so little free time since Elliott’s birth, I had to make my parenting magazine selection carefully. I couldn’t fill my time with Parents, Family Circle and Better Homes and Gardens. So, I chose my favorite mag-called Mothering. It is published semi-monthly, and when it arrives I usually read it cover to cover.
The cover article for this issue was on Cesarean births, the articles title is Cesarean birth in a culture of fear. The opening paragraph went something like this-Cesarean births are on the rise and are increasingly being performed even when they are not medically necessary. When I (the articles author) ask women why they think this rise is occurring– they may give a variety of reasons, but they will always justify their own need for a c-section as medically necessary…
I read the entire article, and thought it was a well researched article, and I dont wholly disagree with the author. When I finished reading it, I felt bad about my Cesarean and it made me begin to question again our birth choices. I felt like the author and therefore the magazine put a black cloud over my birth because I had a C-section. The opening statements of the article insinuated that women who have C-sections think they are necessary, even when they are not medically needed. I think the author is missing the point.
If a woman has a C-section, and felt it was necessary, isn’t that a short coming on the medical establishments part for misinforming us about the actual need, versus the alternatives? The fear is on the part of the doctors, yes. They are trying to avoid liability and lawsuits. And if that is the point of her article, I felt the author should be standing up for our rights regarding informed consent, looking for ways to educate us on how to avoid feeling pressured into a C-Section, and teaching people how to make more educated decisions while under the pressure of labor, fatigue, and pain. She should not be pulling the rug out from under us that have had a Cesarean birth. She devalues those women who have had C-section births by making a generalized comment like her opening statements.
The result, again, was me feeling judged by the author. And, at a time when I was almost emotionally healed…I am now questioning once again the necessity of my surgery, and therefore my proposed inability to deliver natural. I did all of the right things (and still failed). I was under the care of a Midwife. I took great care of myself during my pregnancy. I was low risk. I had a doula. I didnt take drugs during my labor (pain killers, an epidural, etc.), and labored naturally all the way to 10 centimeters. I pushed with all my might…for 3 hours! I followed the natural child birth prescription, and I still had a C-section. I had an abnormal labor condition-arrest of descent.
Was mine necessary? Was it medically the right thing to do? Could I have delivered my baby vaginally, without surgery? Was it safer for the hospital to suggest the surgery, versus risk an assisted delivery (which comes with a whole list of risks to the baby)? Did I make the right decision for both Elliott and myself? The tricky part about all of the questions and uncertainty is that I will never know for sure if the surgery was necessary. What the article doesnt tell you is when a C-Section is necessary. Or under what circumstances a Cesarean birth is suggested for the safety and health of the mother and child. I will always wonder if I could have pushed Elliott out, with a little help from pitocin and an epidural.
Everytime I use the restroom, I look at my incision. I feel my stomach, where it is still numb and sore to the touch and wonder if I could have avoided having a surgical delivery. I dont think a magazine that is supposed to support women, honor them as mothers, and hold them in high esteem would want their readerships take home message to be one of alienation and judgment. I am therefore very disappointed after reading this article that more thought was not rendered before delivering such a harsh blow to woman kind. I am also disappointed that an article that is calling our birth ritual ‘a culture of fear’, is using the same tactics to ‘educate’ its readership about the nuances of a Cesarean birth using a step by step diagram of the surgical procedures, with a header “so you want to have a cesarean?” Women and especially Moms already suffer from a tremendous amount of guilt. Should we be adding to their load by now questioning the way they birth?
While I cant change the course of events in my own life or their outcomes. I can say that I feel like in my case, a cesarean was the best option for us. If the author of the article wants to question that, I would encourage her to research and publish an article on how to avoid one, rather than one that instills fear in those first time Mom’s before they deliver.