In Solidarity with my C-Section Mamas

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Recently, I heard a story about a young mom who was looking to hire a photographer to document the birth of her first child. For medical reasons (not that it should matter), she was having a planned c-section. A particular photographer came highly recommended. Upon request of the photo shoot, the photographer told the mom that she would not be able to take pictures during the birth. The photographer believed that a c-section wasn’t a real birth and asserted that she only documents actual child birth. I know this story sounds crazy, but it’s true. There are very real stigmas around having a c-section. In fact, even people I know have alluded that I took the easy way out – never mind having nearly died the first time around.

For a long time after my daughter was born, I felt guilty that I couldn’t birth her the “right” way. I felt abandoned by my own body. I felt like a failure. During my pregnancy with my son, I lived in fear that I would die on the table. Anytime my doctors asked me if I had any questions, concerns, or requests, I would plead with them, “Please don’t let me die.” A c-section wasn’t my choice, but for both of my children, it was the ONLY choice.

Even as I write this, I feel myself going on the defense, as I often do when talking about my birthing story or c-sections in general. I’ve been working hard on helping myself realize that I don’t owe anyone an explanation. I did what was best for myself and my babies. Even though my experience was one out of necessity, I know there are women out there who chose to have a c-section. That’s ok, too. It shouldn’t matter how one chooses to birth their child. Having a c-section does not make one any less of a mother. Having a c-section doesn’t mean that your body gave up on you or that you aren’t good enough. Moms (and parents in general) have enough pressure on them, without needing to be put down for how their children arrived in this world.

So, to keep this post simple and focused, I want to say to all the c-section mamas out there – hell, to ALL moms out there who are struggling to live up to societal norms – I see you. It’s ok. You’re ok. Most importantly, you’re not alone. It doesn’t matter how your kids got here. It doesn’t matter if you had a home birth or a natural birth. It doesn’t matter if you used an epidural. It doesn’t matter if it was a planned c-section or an emergency one. It doesn’t matter if your kids were adopted or born through a surrogate. What matters is that you love your children. What matters is that you’re committed to teaching your children love and supporting your children on their life journeys. What matters is that you continue to help lift each other up, instead of putting each other down. We’re moms. We’re strong. We can do this.

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