Guest Post- Cesareans Don't Just Scar Your Skin
(You can see the original post and website here)
This is a guest post (actually re-post) from one of Mama Birth's Facebook followers. I have long wanted to do something about the trauma of cesarean birth, but just have not felt adequate for the task. I think it is something that you really have to have been through in order to truly understand it.
Thank you so much for your beautiful words mama-
Enjoy this fantastic post with lots of resources for the cesarean survivor.
I have never taken a picture of my cesarean scar. I don’t look at it, I pretend it doesn’t exist. It helps that it is barely 4 inches long, and so low that it is covered by hair, and so pale that even if there wasn’t hair you could barely see it.
Being pregnant again has made my scar come out in more ways than one. I can feel it most every day. It gets little twinges and stretchings as my uterus is growing. As it does this, I am realizing I need to completely come to peace with my daughter’s birth, and the scars I hold on both the inside and the outside.
In planning an unassisted birth after cesarean, I didn’t realize how much fear and distrust I held against myself from the delivery and cesarean section. As I was trying to write the birth that I want to have, I couldn’t do it. I kept having visions of surgery, and general anesthesia, and a baby in the NICU. I put it all off, and finally last night realized what I needed to do.
Last night on twitter, one of my favorite people @shh_she_sleeps wrote and posted her cesarean birth story. I knew it was an emergency cesarean, but I didn’t know what happened. I clicked to her story, and instantly was in tears for her.
(You can read her birth story here, but make sure to have tissues handy).
I cried for the pain she went through, for the loss of what she wanted. And through the tears I realized, even more than I had before, that sometimes emergency cesareans leave much deeper scars than unnecessary ones. The knowing that this is how your child HAD to be born, and yet hating that it had to be that way. You can’t be angry at a doctor or midwife or nurse, you feel that it is your own body that failed you. Your own body that didn’t protect your baby so it had to be surgically removed from your abdomen.
This mother writing her story is so strong. She is amazing. It took me 18 months to write the story of my daughter’s birth. And then almost three years to even say it all out loud. She is doing amazing.
Healing comes from more than just pushing things away. When you have scars that run deep, such as from a cesarean section whether necessary or not, you have to deal with the fear and uncertainty of what that does to the future.
My cesarean caused my three miscarriages. It hurt my fertility. It made me angry and bitter for a long time at women that had vaginal deliveries. I still have rages of jealousy when women choose what I wish I had, and then had beautiful births. I am working through this all to let go of my fear and anger at what happened, but it is taking a lot more work than I thought it would. Coming to terms with a major surgery that could have been prevented is not fun.
There are so many women holding in scars from their surgeries. So many women that change the day of their birth of their child. So many women that don’t realize there is something better out there.
Around Christmas, my friend @babydickey was barrated into an unnecessary cesarean section. She nodded her head and the cesarean was done for no reason besides she was a little slower to dilate than the doctor wanted. She has already started to advocate for other women. She started an ICAN chapter, which she holds in her home. She is already miles ahead of where I was.
Another friend, @birthbabiesblog, has had two cesarean sections. One was pushed, the second was necessary. She has since advocated for women. She started an ICAN chapter in her area, is now a Regional Director for ICAN, plus she has a few blogs all over the blogsphere educating women about pregnancy, birth, and cesarean prevention.
Another friend, @sylkozakur had a cesarean with her fourth child. Ended up pushing for a long time, and the baby wasn’t descending. Even as necessary as it was, it can traumatize deeper because it feels like the body has forgotten how to grow and birth a baby.
My friend @devaskyla has had three children. Her first was a cesarean, and her next two were unassisted birth after cesareans. Her first ended up being a cesarean because her water broke before labor, and doctors are too scared to wait for labor to start on its own. So much pressure to do what is safe for your baby, and they pressure you into things that aren’t needed.
The most powerful story of all, if powerful is even the right word comes from my friend @Preparing4Birth. She had a cesarean with her first, a VBAC with her second, a CBAC with her third, and a VBA2C with her fourth. Such an amazing woman. She is now head of Preparing For Birth, teaches childbirth classes, is an incredible doula, and is President of ICAN. The story of her CBAC shows where her power came from. Shows that she truly is one of the best women to be leading ICAN.
So many of the scars from a cesarean are below the surface. They can change us so we are terrified of birth and schedule cesareans for the next so we have a sense or control, or they empower us to change what happens either for ourselves or others.
Working through the emotions left after a surgery where your child is born is so hard. So much has to be done to understand what is needed to finally be at peace with the experience. I wish I had the answers to it all. I wish I could help other women understand that it is okay to love your child but hate the day they are born. To help them prepare so they are less likely to even have a cesarean. To truly believe in their own ability to birth their baby.
It is your body. Work though all the scars how you need to. Take the time to do it. And most of all, remember that us other cesarean moms are here to talk to if you need it.