Did I Need a Cesarean?


This week, someone on the ICAN list posted a question about whether their C-section was really necessary. I ask myself that question every day about my C-section. My son was a footling breech... could I have birthed him vaginally at home? Maybe. Could I have birthed him vaginally at a hospital? Maybe. Was a C-section the best way to go? Maybe.

The truth is... I'll never know the truth. But when I look at that question from a different angle, a much deeper and long-lasting answer starts to stir...

Did I need a Cesarean?

Well, maybe I did in fact NEED it, although not for the reasons you might think. Here's my opinion on that question, 18 months after the fact.


"I had a c-section, even though I'd planned a homebirth, done prenatal yoga religiously, taken hypnobirthing, tried every breech turning strategy known to woman, read birthing from within, ina may, and about a billion other books, yada yada, etc.

When I look back on my c-section now, I see that there was some other force at work... it had nothing to do with what I knew and didn't know. It had nothing to do with what I wanted and didn't want. It had nothing to do with the position of my baby... or the skill of my midwife. It had nothing to do with my tolerance of pain, or my willingness to relax, or my threshhold for uncertainty during labor.

My c-section is guiding me somewhere... I just don't know where yet. But I do know that if I'd had my homebirth - like I planned - I would have seriously judged other women who had c-sections.. . I would have thought they weren't strong enough, educated enough, relaxed enough, dedicated enough, natural enough, etc. At least, not as strong, educated, relaxed, dedicated, natural as me, Ms. Homebirther!

And , before I had my c-section, I also would have thought (mistakenly, of course!) a C-section was the 'easy way out.'

But now that I've had a c-section... despite all my planning and self-educating and hoping and dreaming, etc.... well, now I just sigh in respect to what I now know and hold in my heart... and in the scar on my belly.

There's depth in that heart and belly scar... depth that wasn't there before the c-section.

There's a humility and a curiosity about other women's choices and feelings that weren't there before the c-section

There's a compassion for women - of all birth plans and birth outcomes - that wasn't there before the c-section.

There's a desire to speak... and write... and help... that was there before, but which has been strengthened since my c-section.

I've also found that the c-section and resulting PTSD and PPD have been a landscape on which I've been able to work on all of those "THINGS" that I've been trying to work on my whole life. Those parts of me that I didn't like, that I wanted to change. My perfectionism, my rebel side, my controlling nature, etc. All of those pieces of me came out around my birth... they were highlighted and magnified by that event... and they have been easier to work on now... because I can work on them in relation to birth. Somehow, it makes them more concrete and accessible. And the work doesn't seem quite so overwhelming now.

That's why I needed my c-section. To bring out and open the parts in me that were hiding... and to give me a way to work on and let go of the parts of me that no longer serve me."






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