April is the Cesarean Awareness Month.
As a natural birth supporter, c-section mom and as well mom of 2 wonderful VBAC babies, it is very important for me to vehiculate the right message.
Cesarean section is a very important, life saving tecnique we are grateful for. Thanks to modern surgery, aesthetic damages and recovery are far better than before. Yet it is a primary abdominal surgery with considerable side effects, on both physical and emotional level.
There are tons of articles in the internet talking about medical side effects of the cesarean section, I won't bother you with those (at least for today!) I will focus on the emotional part instead.
I had a life saving (?) c-section with my first child. I knew nothing about childbirth as in my family anything possibly related to sex was and still is a biggest tabu. My knowledge of birth was very limited: I knew I would have been a beautiful pregnant princess, who would have been giving birth to a rainbow of happiness smiling and not shouting at all (oh, so gross!), and our life would have been the happiest ever.
I lived the whole pregnancy weighing calories intake and working out more than ever. I went into labor believing that half an hour of menstrual cramps would have been more than enough. C-section was not contemplated. "Well, it's ok. As long as the baby is healthy". Hearing this still on pain killers through a cold laptop. That was the maximum of post partum care I have had from the same people who carefully avoided any reference to blood, menstruation, pain, birth, vagina, sex and pleasure for my entire life.
"As long as the baby is healthy". Baby. Full stop. And how about the Mother? Who will care, nurture her, cuddle her, giving her a warm soup? Who will dry her tears? Yes, tears. An ocean of tears.
Tears have been shed every given day, for months. Of course I had to put make up on before any laptop conversation. Yeah. At that time I was lucky enough to have a caring friend and a loving husband (who I then discovered how amazing as a Father he is). I still remember that time when my friend left the equivalent of a wedding buffet by the door. Hubby went on therapy in order to find a way to help me out. I discovered it once my post partum depression was over. This was the only support I received. I am not saying it was not enough. My husband was just indescribably great, and while I was giving him the worst part of me he was still giving me his best. I am saying that post partum depression is underrated, underestimated, under. It is under. In any sense. And it takes a lot of effort and support to pass from under to over.
I still remember how I was treated in the hospital. The lights, that cold table, loud voices all around. And loneliness. The spinal which paralized my legs, did paralized my soul as well. I asked for help after birth and a nurse came after a while, squizzed my sore boobs and left. I am not questioning whether my c-section was necessary. I do question how I was treated, the feeling of uselessness I was experiencing for the first time in my life in a moment when everyone else expects you to be the happiest. The care I received after was... well, wasn't. Don't even think I should have asked for it, because such a great shock can leave you speechless, breathless and with a will to live close to zero. I experienced being ridiculed and my feelings being minimized from medical staff and close ones. "You'll be fine!" You can bet I will be fine! I will be fine for my children, my lovely husband, my dearest friends and all the Mothers out there.
We as Women must be aware that a cesarean must be performed as a life saver surgery, we do not have to be scared or shy to ask for information, seek a second or third or fourth opinion. Surround ourselves with positive and supportive team who will be at our side always. Push for better care!
And you as medical care providers must bear in mind that the emotional side is not separated from our body. And most importantly please follow the WHO Guidelines!!!