Since the International Cesarean Awareness Network (ICAN) created C-Section Awareness Month to promote Vaginal Birth After Cesarean (VBAC) and to support women who are recovering from the surgery, Kindred Bravely would like to take this opportunity to express our admiration and support for all the brave C-section Mamas out there!
No journey into motherhood is easy, but you’ve sailed through unique challenges that are not for the faint of heart. We wish you an empowering recovery – not just physically, but mentally and emotionally as well. You’re models of strength and courage to other women and to the children you’re raising.
What matters most is not whether you needed medication or whether the baby was pushed or pulled, but the fact that you loved your baby enough to do what needed to be done, and that you continue to care for your baby the best way you know how.
Life doesn’t always go according to plan, but your birth story is uniquely yours.
Perhaps you planned to use a doula, have a water birth, or use a natural birthing center. Part of healing from a C-section means letting go of what you thought your “ideal” labor would look like.
Bringing a child into the world is a unique experience for every woman, whether vaginal or Cesarean. If you dig deep enough, you’ll find that you need no more assurance of your personal strength and success as a mother than to look at your baby.
No matter what your birth plan was or how it turned out, don’t let anyone tell you that bringing a life into this world isn’t a big deal. You survived months of growing a baby and had major surgery.
Maybe you were scared, maybe you were relieved, or maybe you didn’t have time to think about how it would impact you. No matter what, you should be proud of yourself.
C-section Mamas know that Birthing a Baby is just the beginning.
Super Mom Ashlee Gadd penned a wonderful piece for The Huffington Post about the births of her babies gone awry. Her first baby, for whom she had planned a natural birth, came via Cesarean. Her second baby, for whom she had planned a Cesarean, arrived before the scheduled date, vaginally.
She summarized giving birth as
“… the very first day of a life-long commitment to raising a child. It is an important day, it is a special day, it is absolutely a day worthy of your best plans. But if your plans go awry....if all the water tubs are full, if your baby is breech, if your baby is early, if your baby is late, if you need the drugs after you swore you wouldn’t, I want you to know this: motherhood is so much more than the day your baby is born. Your birth experience does not define you; giving birth is not the endgame.
“…the only way our birth plan can truly fail is if we let the pressure of one day overshadow the miracle of an entire lifetime. This is only the beginning.”
C-Section Recovery: Slow and Steady Wins The Race. Be Gentle With Yourself.
Since a C-section is major surgery, you might have itching, numbness, open wounds, constipation, mobility restrictions, sexual discomfort, and delayed milk flow. Take it easy on yourself as you heal.
The women we know who have had C-sections offer these tips for recovery:
- “Talk to your partner in advance about helping you get the baby for middle of the night feedings. It can be frustrating when you hear the baby’s cries but can’t get there fast enough.”
- “Use a stool softener, eat foods rich in fiber, and drink tons of water!”
- “Believe the doctors when they say to move around a lot – even if it’s just to the snack pantry! You don’t want to end up with nerve pain and nasty bed sores.”
- “Buy new underwear and loose clothing for sleeping that won’t irritate your incision.”
- “Keep a pillow nearby, so you can hold it against your belly when you sneeze, cough, or laugh. Sometimes I worried I would split open!”
- “A nursing pillow is great for breastfeeding, as it keeps the baby’s weight off your incision. Practice breastfeeding in the side-lying or clutch/football hold Do not hesitate to ask for help OFTEN from the on-staff lactation consultant. Ask for a nipple shield if there’s even a hint of latch issues or pain.”
- “Use a c-section scar treatment cream on your incision, so it doesn’t itch.”
- “The hardest part for some is emotional – letting go of disappointment or guilt. I’m getting there, little by little. The more moms I talk to who have been there, the better I feel. In addition to reaching out to friends, you can find support on the International Cesarean Awareness Network’s website: ican-online.org.”
C-Section mamas are stronger than they know.
To us and to your baby, you are a superhero. Your scar is a testament to your love for your baby, and a reminder of life’s mysteries.
Birth Photographer Monet Moutrie said it most eloquently:
Kindred Bravely wishes you a healthy recovery, whether you’ve had your baby two days ago or two years ago. All the best in life is still unfolding.
Additional C-Sections Facts and Fiction Resources: