Oh caesarean awareness month...back again.
Every year I dread caesarean awareness month. Ever since I worked out that it's not really about awareness, but just about trying to make us feel better about our caesareans.
Almost every year there is an image that is shared EVERYWHERE that is all about telling us caesarean mums how we are brave and amazing and so so so special. Because we lay down and put our lives on the line for our babies.
And every year it makes me want to puke.
If caesarean awareness month did as advertised and raised awareness of caesareans (you know...the risks, benefits, and how so many women are lied to about them) then not so many of us would need to put our lives on the line.
This year we are implored to see our scars as sacred doorways through which our babies were born.
I find this interesting. I mean anytime I talk about vaginal birth or natural birth or homebirth as "sacred" I get told: "It's just a birth. Horribly undignified and risky and awful and just a means to an end." But caesarean surgery? No no no no...that's sacred. (Or maybe it's the extra money generated that is really what's sacred...)
The reason I ended up with 2 caesareans was largely because my birth plans (normal physiological birth) were NOT treated as sacred. I was not treated as sacred. And by extension, neither was my baby. So why should I view the surgery, cold and impersonal and done by a surgeon that I never saw again, as sacred? Because the system values surgeries more than physiological births?
Every year caesarean awareness month reminds me of what is "wrong" with me. Not that I had caesareans, but that I'm a terrible person for not finding beauty in my caesareans. That I'm ungrateful. That I'm weak. Because if I was strong like all those other caesarean mummas I wouldn't have cried myself to sleep, through flashbacks, every night for 6 months after my first caesarean. I wouldn't have been so desperate to avoid another.
Why can't I just love my scar and my caesareans?
Well...like so many other women I felt like shit in the lead up to them. I was treated like nothing more than a vessel. How can I feel amazingly human emotions like love and acceptance when I was not treated with humanity? I was left feeling helpless, abandoned, violated, and traumatised. In the moment of my first daughter's birth I hated her, for what I felt that she had done to me. If she had just cooperated and come before the arbitrary time limit imposed on us I wouldn't have needed to be bullied into an induction. Or an epidural. Or a caesarean.
I wouldn't have felt like such a shit mother.
Why should I feel that that was sacred?
All women should feel able to celebrate their births - regardless of mode of birth - ANYTIME they like (if they want to). If someone makes shitty comments about your birth story they are a dick. But if you want to celebrate go ahead.
But can we keep caesarean awareness month to raising awareness about caesareans?
Like the post I saw a last week showing the damage that can be done to babies during a caesarean. Articles about placenta accreta. Information about the impacts of caesareans on future reproductive health. Emerging evidence about long term health implications for the babies born by caesarean.
Oh wait...no we can't...because that's "judgemental" and mean, and why can't we just accept that caesareans save lives, Drs only want what's best for us, and my baby wouldn't be here if it weren't for caesareans?
It doesn't seem to matter what time of the year - sharing factual information, emerging evidence, and stories highlighting horrible caesareans is just being mean to those who loved their caesareans, felt informed (whether they actually were or not), and want to see their caesareans as sacred.
No-one is saying that you can't celebrate your caesarean. But you are saying that we can't share information about caesareans. Or share our stories of caesareans gone wrong.
This caesarean awareness month I implore you to share awareness about caesareans. Awareness of women's rights in regards to caesareans. Start imploring your care providers to ensure that they are skilled at things like breech and twin vaginal births and fight for real support for VBAC. Argue for the rights of women to birth at home if they wish. Access midwifery care, if they wish.
Let's fight the system rather than each other! After all...for most of us the system is the reason we had a caesarean to start with!
Much love to you all this caesarean awareness month. Whether you are celebrating your caesarean or crying through flashbacks in the shower. Whether you feel brave and strong or not - YOU MATTER.
PS: If you would like to gain my knowledge of caesareans and avoiding a second (or third, fourth etc) please subscribe to my email list and grab my free ebook The ultimate guide to boldly busting birthy bullshit.
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