Are Cesareans Second Best?
Cesarean Surgery. Something our culture has hot debates over on the regular. Something I, myself, often talk about with a negative undertone, mistakenly. We all get judgy about different things, but for women who experience cesarean surgery, they get the brunt of the birth world's rudeness. With comments like "well at least it wasn't a c-section," and "nothing terrible, like a cesarean section, happened or anything.." But what if that's the only option? What if, for some women it seems to be the only thing that will allow them to give birth in a way that is good for them?
When I started off as a Doula, one of my very first clients was a mother who chose what was her best available option at the time, a cesarean surgery, because of her persistent breech baby. I remember sitting in the waiting room with her at the doctor, a few weeks before the birth, watching her deflate as time passed, starting to let the reality sink in. She had so strongly invested in preparing herself for a natural, vaginal birth, and was certain that's what she needed to have. To my horror, after a few moments of silence, she said to me, "There isn't really ever a good reason for a Cesarean Surgery, right?" I was pretty speechless at the time and so badly wanted to hug her and just yell at every person who had made her believe that. That reality she was living with was so far from the truth, and wasn't helpful to her in anyway. We had gone over the few options of doctors who would deliver her baby in israel, discussed how she couldn't afford to go private with a doctor who would agree to deliver her breech baby, (for a ridiculously large sum,) she'd attempted an ECV which failed to make that baby change his mind... We discussed all the other options; she attempted spinning babies positions multiple times a day, she tried moxi, accupuncture, a chiropractor, and various other forms of treatments to help her change her baby's mind. There was no other option that looked right for her or her baby's safety and yet she was still walking around with this endless narrative playing in the back of her head. Without the proper support, cesarean surgeries can be hard physically, but even more so, emotionally, for a mother. Especially a mother who is set on something else, from the start. It's important for mothers to understand real, valid, medical reasons for cesarean surgeries and then in turn, understand that just because there isn't a medical reason, it still might be the right choice for them, depending on what they want and believe.
Statistics of cesarean are indeed showing us they happen much more often then they should, but our negative view on them, when they do happen, aren't helping the women who do actually need or want them. Advocating for birth rights also means supporting women who want cesareans, to have them. While I do think it's important to discuss in depth and length the reasons a women is interested in a cesarean section, I also think that when and if she comes to a decision, or is backed into a corner with one, we need to be there to help her understand why, and to help her fully own it, when there is no other option. Our best chance at having a society with empowered, happy, mothers and in turn, empowered, happy, children, who turn to adults, is by being there for mothers in every moment.
As a Doula, I'm taking it upon myself this month to keep an open mind. To remember that mothers come first, and that even in cesareans, there is so much for Doulas to do. From supporting the mother after birth, while she rests in recovery and her baby is halfway across the hospital, to redirecting her family member to be sensitive about not seeing and touching the baby before the mother has gotten her proper chance to, there are endless lists of things Doulas do for mothers and partners who experience cesarean birth. Often times, the processing before and after is the majority of our job, and yet there is still so much to be done, in the moment.
I hope that you'll join me on this journey of spreading awareness and giving support to all mothers, with all types of births!
Your BirthBuddy Doula
Dina Devora Jacob
If you want to discuss how Dina can help you with your cesarean birth, or inquire about different options on how to work with Dina, reach out to email@example.com