I gave birth by cesarean and I’m proud of it.

:a cesarean birth story:

I gave birth by cesarean.

It’s taken me 638 days to claim my story publicly.

I know women, like me, are waiting to celebrate their rite of passage. That’s why I write this blog today.

And let me say:

Your birth story is worthy, mama.

Please let me take a moment and ask you to place your hand on your belly and say:

I am worthy. My story belongs in the greater fabric of LIFE.

(This goes for you mamas who became mamas without giving birth. I pray you celebrate your becoming a mama story, too).

I hid claiming my cesarean birth for a long time in a sea of grief and shame, while also feeling immense joy and pride brewing deep inside.

But, I felt conflicted to share anything, so I didn’t.

Here I write to you, a bit of reflection on why we do what we do around cesarean births.

You see, I thought if I never told anyone I had a cesarean birth, they’d think I just had a tough vaginal birth – which gets praised way more than cesareans in our culture.

I thought if I stayed quiet, I was still allowed in the natural mama club.

And, oh, what an exclusive club that is.

I thought that by hiding my story, I wouldn’t be judged as weak.

Things I’ve heard whispered from woman to woman, (that were also taught to me becoming a birth doula) about cesarean births include:

She should’ve given birth at home, a cesarean birth would have been avoided if she was at home. 

She just didn’t have the right support. _____ would have helped her birth naturally.

The system is out to get women. Doctors are knife happy and want the convenience of a cesarean birth. 

She wanted it to be easy. Cesarean births are easier than vaginal births.

Does any of this sound familiar to you? It does to me.

What is happening here is, well, a lot of things.

May I offer a few thoughts on how we can be with what’s uncomfortable, and serve the women around us – through all cycles of life.

1. Remember: birth, like everything in life, has it’s own path.

When we try to figure out something as mysterious as birth we are acting like we are God, the unknown, the higher force.

Ya’ll, we don’t know how any of this is going to turn out.

We really know nothing, but that makes us scared, so we try to stop the future from happening with planning.

And, I guarantee you, without a freaking doubt, no woman has ever chosen to go under a knife because she thinks it’s easy. Sure, it may be the path of least resistance, but you don’t know what’s going on in her life. Which brings me to my next thought…

2. Try to pause when caught in the loop figuring out someone else’s life decisions.

When we talk about our sisters without them being there, it’s painful. Who does it hurt? You.

In reflection on cesarean births, why people choose them or don’t choose them — we must acknowledge that there’s much we don’t know.

Start to be gentle with yourself and you’ll see…you won’t need to figure out other’s life decisions.

3. Culturally, we examine the past too much.

We’ve got to stop picking apart our past in order to reconcile our present. 

I’ve done a lot of work around this looking back thing. I did it to move forward in my healing with a birth story listener. Doing this in a contained way helped me to move from where I was stuck: the past.

4. The binary-ism of categorizing things is tearing us apart.

Like, vaginal birth = good /// cesarean birth = bad.

Birth without assistance = strong /// birth that needs a team of 20 = weak.

These binary thoughts, unfortunately, are taught to us from the minute we begin learning about how to birth.

So, of course, when a cesarean birth happens to us, there’s a feeling of bad or wrong that comes up.

I felt like I did birth wrong for a really long time.

Let me remind you, if you feel the same:

There’s nothing wrong with you.

Living in the grey places makes us more gentle and compassionate beings, starting with ourselves.

There are so many other areas of life this will serve us to do, too. Don’t you think?

A reflection:

Do I grieve my cesearean birth? Some days.

Do I feel shame sometimes admitting I had a cesearean? Occasionally, but it’s diminishing slowly.

Do I feel proud of my birth story? Hallelujah yes. It’s how my son came into this world. It’s equally his as it is mine. Not a day goes by where my life is not improved by him being here.

I gave birth by cesarean and I’m proud of it.

My birth story is sacred. 

I’m not even going to go into the details of why I had a cesarean. It’s not anyone else’s business, really. But, here’s what I will add: I labored for 60 hours through complication after complication. My intuition told me when it was time to get help. That voice was LOUD, thank goodness.

I realize, now, that I needed to be cut open to become whole again.

We can need help and be the strongest versions of ourselves.

Sometimes, our wounds are reminders of our greatest strength.

Tell me, do you ever feel like the most challenging parts of your life have made you a stronger person?

Embrace,

Rose

::A few shout outs::

My husband Jason Moore for being my fearless partner throughout our son’s birth, in that operating room that forever changed us, and during our first 21 months of parenthood.

To Elizabeth Harris, for being my doula and support throughout my labor, and for reminding me of my truth as I healed.

To Molly Levin Rouse, for being my birth story listener, allowing for great healing to take place in my story.

To Chama Wodyak, for teaching me that cesarean birth is beautiful. I cried through that entire class but now realize why.

And so many more of my tribe who were there with me through it all, especially my Mom & Dad.

Thank you for supporting me to share this story.

📖

If you need perspective on a situation that didn’t turn out how you expected, I’m here for you. Check out this latest offering to allow me to help you get to the heart of the matter here

8 Comment

  1. I have never understood the stigma around cesareans. I gave birth to 5 children vaginally (but I won’t call them all naturally as I had an epidural with three of them), and it was hard. It was painful. With the epidural it was still hard work. And when in labor with my first, the possibility of needing a cesarean was mentioned. It was terrifying, mostly because if they are discussing that option with you, then something isn’t going well. I cannot imagine going through hours of labor, being that physically and mentally exhausted, and then having to handle all of the fear and emotions that you’re going to have major surgery. Then healing from that surgery while caring for a newborn with hormones still trying to regulate, sleep deprivation, etc. It doesn’t seem like convenience or an easy way out to me. It seems much harder. It seems being supportive would be more helpful instead of saying things to make moms feel guilty or less than.
    People say things like, “Women have been giving birth naturally for hundreds of years without medical intervention,” and it makes you feel like your body failed in some way. What they are selectively forgetting is the infant mortality rate, the number of mothers (or both mom and baby)who died in childbirth. Now, we have ways to help prevent that. Bringing life into the world is beautiful. I think it’s a positive thing to help that along.

    1. Thank you so much for sharing your story too, Amy. I love how you say “bringing life into the world is beautiful. I think it’s a positive thing to help that along”…so true. It’s really important to remember how we communicate to one another about such delicate + unique to each person things: like birth! I’m happy this reached you and resonated today. Blessings!

  2. Beautiful and real! I too took Chama’s class ready for a vaginal birth and my son was breached. I was told I had to have a cesarean or try and turn him. I opted to try and turn him first. It was an awful experience and unsuccessful. I had a scheduled c section. It was not my birth plan, but it was what was going to bring my son into the world healthy! I feel a little loss on not having a “natural” birth, but I am thankful for modern medicine that connected my son to me!! xo Rose thanks for sharing

    1. Thank you so much, Nan, for sharing your journey…what a journey! I think that loss or feeling of wondering will always be there – that’s the mystery of it all. The outcome (our children!) is the beautiful, real, and transformative part of it all. Wrapping you in a big hug!

  3. I really enjoyed your article. My birth was very complicated and shifted my thinking a lot. I was one of those “natural moms” and held judgement until the hospital saved my son and my life. What a journey. Thank you for the reflection on being caught in the past- very helpful. Hope to meet you and G someday- I am one of Jason’s sax students.

    1. Hi Cristal – I hope to meet you one day, too! I’m so glad this helped you and gave you perspective today. Birth really changes us and our beliefs, for the better, I believe. Thanks for sharing your story.

  4. Thanks for sharing. I had 2 c sections. First emergency and second planned due to a pregnancy complication. It’s not what I would have wanted. But not because of other people’s judgement… because it fucking sucks!!! The recovery takes forever and it’s more expensive. Not to mention the fear and stress of the births and pregnancies having complications that required the c sections in the first place were terrifying. That’s what I thought anyway. So anyone who
    Wants to judge, they can go ahead and be the bitch that they are. No birth is easy. Don’t judge someone else’s situation or choices. Without c sections. I would be dead and have no children. Just saying.

    1. Dear one I’m wrapping you in love, thank you for sharing your story. One of my greatest lessons from hearing to others judgement, or my own, is to realize it’s not true and to refocus on what is true in my life: love filled relationships, mothering the best I know how, and staying as present as possible day to day.

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