Why You Shouldn’t Feel Cheated If You Deliver Via C-Section

My eldest child is nearly 22. She was born long before the days of challenging doctor’s opinions the minute they utter the word “C-Section.” When I was told she was breech and we would need to schedule a Cesarean for several weeks into the future I never thought to ask if we could try to turn her. Nor did I question whether having a C-Section to deliver my first child would mean that all of my future children would need to be born the same way. I was young and primarily freaked out about half the hospital seeing my lady parts, so I easily agreed to the doctor’s recommendation, silently relieved that I wouldn’t have the chance to find out what a contraction actually felt like.

Twelve years later, when I became pregnant with triplets, a second C-Section was easily decided on again. I had no desire to try pushing not one but three babies out of anywhere. By my third and final pregnancy we were fully in the age of challenging doctor’s opinions about pretty much everything to do with childbirth. I felt like women everywhere were insisting on natural births in bathtubs in their living rooms with 20 of their closest friends there to catch the baby and rub essential oils behind their ears.

I was questioned over and over again during that final pregnancy whether I was going to ask my doctor if I could have a vaginal delivery. My answer each and every time was an absolutely confident “no.” After two C-Sections I knew what I was in for and felt no shame in wanting to deliver that way. Choosing to have a C-Section again didn’t mean I couldn’t wear my baby to the farmer’s market or buy him vegan moccasins; it just meant I knew my options and was comfortable with the choice I was making for my body.

True, I was not up and walking the labor and delivery halls hours after birth, and I may have been more groggy afterwards than my friends who experienced a vaginal birth, but, I feel no sense of loss from missing hours of pushing. I fully remember every detail of meeting my children for the first time. I fed them and changed them and learned the value of the nurse call button just like any parent of a newborn.

As women do, I’ve shared birth stories and recovery stories and, “Oh my gosh, what is happening to my body now?!” stories with my closest friends. I have to say there are some long lasting effects of vaginal delivery that I’m fully okay with missing out on as a C-Section veteran. I have no horror story of what happened during pushing. My ability to pee from a sneeze did not occur until much later in life. I have zero episiotomy stories to share. In fact, my lady bits remain largely unchanged, even though I’ve delivered five children, a fact that my friends who’ve had vaginal births have a hard time comprehending.

Because a C-Section is surgery, my recovery time was definitely longer than if I had a vaginal birth and my stomach muscles took a while to find their way back together. Those after effects are not only a distant memory but a great excuse for skipping out on sit ups for the first year or 10 of your child’s life. The only lasting imprint I have from my C-Section is the scar and it’s not nearly as scary looking as it was in the early months after delivery.

I feel absolutely no regret for having C-Sections and “missing out” on the experience of a vaginal birth. In fact, I’m not even sure what I’m supposed to feel like I missed out on. I know that many women have a hard time coping with the loss of the vision they had for their delivery when a C-Section is necessary, but I found that the sleep deprivation and sheer craziness of those first few years of motherhood is the perfect combination to make you forget whatever pre-baby plans you had anyway.

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