Our readers respond to an article published called "Birth photographer shames mother for having a c-section".
Militant birthers, back off!
"I have just read the contribution of a mother who was shamed for having a c-section. Our twins were born by c-section 17 years ago, and today we are blessed with two normal, intelligent and healthy young adults. Very recently, a young couple we know went the conventional route (also with twins, a boy and a girl), and the event turned into tragedy, when the second twin did not survive. A young couple now has to deal with an unimaginable loss, and severe physical trauma to the mom.
"Now I am not saying every birth should be a c-section, but listen to your obstetrician, and err on the side of caution. And the militant, sanctimonious birthers should be chased out of town with pitchforks, no less!"
"My daughter-in-law had a c-section because my grandson was so big, 4.8kg, and she is about 5 foot 5 inches and weighs about 55kg.
If she insisted on natural birth, she and her son could have died. Would like to ask the photographer if she was wrong in taking a "shortcut " to safeguard her life and her baby's life.
"From a very proud grandfather of a #NotBorn grandson."
- Darryl Pearce
We both could've died
"I cannot believe people like this feel they can detract from the day a child comes into the world.
"I had 2 c-sections, both of them emergencies with my children being born 4 and 5 weeks premature respectively. I didn't have a choice but I can tell you now, if I had to choose between having a healthy baby and a c-section vs a potentially unhealthy baby and natural, I would do a c-section every time.
"Oh but wait, I forgot I never actually gave birth to my children, because they were just cut out of me and I took the short way out, never mind the fact that we both could have died."
- Leanne Allers
Vaginal birth backlash
I chose to give birth vaginally, but was constantly being told how crazy I was to do so because we have new medical technology to our disposal, "why would I choose to go through such a painful experience?"
I personally don't care at all what people think, I won't say that I was discriminated against, but I have received some very unwanted opinions and remarks on the subject.
Just wanted to share from a natural birth perspective.
- Danielle Garrett
Too posh to push?
I am just responding to an article about being shamed for giving birth by c-section.
I always wanted a natural birth. But leading up to my due date, my baby was lying the wrong way around. The doctor tried to prepare me and we talked about the option of a c-section. I was very disappointed and emotional about that option and tried everything, short of standing on my head, to try to get my baby to turn. During that process I somehow made peace with the idea of a c-section.
On my last doctors visit, she told me that all my crazy antics had worked and my baby is in the right position. If I want to do a natural birth, it will be fine. At that moment I realised that I had changed my mind and that I would not mind doing a c-section. We then scheduled the procedure for that afternoon. It was not planned but I was excited to meet my baby.
As I was being prepped for surgery, the anaesthesiologist came to me to ask all the important question around health issues etc. She asked me if there were any issues with the baby and why we are choosing c-section. I didn't know what to say to her because it wasn't planned. Her response to me was... "are you too posh to push?"... It blows my mind that a medical practitioner would be so unprofessional.
Well, that is my story. It is best not to judge. You never know why people make the decision they do.
- Alet van Niekerk
I did not have the option of natural birth. My son was born at 36 weeks. I had pre-eclampsia and if I didn't have a c section that day I could have had a stroke. With the second pregnancy I was considered high risk so my daughter is there also #Notborn!
Let's not bash birth choices
As General Manager of Origin Family-Centred Maternity Hospital and an Advanced and Clinical Accoucheur (male midwife) Specialist who has been involved in over 24 000 births, I would like to comment on this. It is utterly unacceptable that a woman should choose to shame another woman over the birth choices she makes (or has to make – some women having to have a caesarean section for medical reasons).
I absolutely agree with the author of the article that the birth photographer in question has a very high horse, and worse than that a horribly judgemental and offensive attitude. Does this photographer not realise the damage she could do to this woman, including sparking the onset of postnatal depression?
At our maternity hospital, which is known for its support of natural birth in the manner of the woman’s choice, including water birth and vaginal births after caesarean section (within specific criteria) – if a woman chooses to have a caesarean we will support her in her choice. Our standpoint is that informed decisions must be made, so if a woman makes this choice, it is her right to do so and we support her.
We have a full operating theatre complex for both elective and emergency caesarean sections (we just choose to call them sensitive sections) – and these babies are most definitely born! They go straight back onto mom’s chest as soon as the paediatrician has given their OK – usually within a minute – and we also carry out delayed cord clamping to benefit the baby, if circumstances allow.
Let women not bash each other over birth choices. Birth is a sacred event, however it manifests. A healthy and happy mother, family unit and newborn is after all the result that we all want – and one that this short-sighted photographer could have done well to capture.
- Sydney Grove
My c-section was a beautiful experience
I had a C-section with my first and only child. It was an incredibly beautiful experience. My husband filmed the whole thing with a GoPro on his head!
This kind of discrimination towards C-sections is unacceptable. The person who sent that hateful message needs to know that 90% of all birth and neo-natal complications is associated with natural birth. If the safety of your baby is your main concern (instead of some misguided earth mother rubbish) a C-section is the way to go.
I gladly share this picture. The birth was not sore or traumatic. It was incredible and real and I think this is clearly reflected in the picture.
PS: I never breastfed either
- Cath Radloff
I wanted a natural birth
When I was pregnant with my daughter I was adamant that I would have a completely natural birth.
I carried my daughter for 41 weeks and went for a last check up to see if everything was okay still at my doctor. My doctor took my blood pressure and literally went pale and proceeded to take my blood pressure again, he then sent me for my urine test and informed me that my daughter is being taken out via c-section immediately as I had pre-eclampsia, my blood pressure was 180/100, he could actually not believe that I was still standing. Needless to say the rest of the day was a bit of a blur, my daughter was born 2 hours later via c-section, all 3.94 kg's of her.
Not being able to give birth naturally was devastating to me, but I would not sacrifice the safety of my child for one second. If I hadn't gotten a c-section when I did both me and my baby would have died.
I am really so tired of people (not only women) being so judgemental when they hear that someone either chose or had to get a c-section. Giving birth is a beautiful experience that should not be muddied by other people's biases.
At the end of the day our children's safety and health should be our foremost responsibility and pleasure.
I am proud to say that I have delivered two beautiful, healthy babies via c-section and no one's negative remarks can take that away!
- Tanja Janse van Rensburg
Natural birth is the pot of gold at the end of rainbow
I read the articles around the #NotBorn issue with absolute disbelief, disbelief that in this day and age there is so much JUDGEMENT around the process of a child being brought into this world.
The mom in question (who was rejected by the photographer) I would assume was in the privileged position of having one or all of the following:
- Private medical aid, and by merit thereof
- Affordable access to a private clinic (Mediclinic, Netcare etc); and
- A private ob-gyn
Good for her, she would have had access to superior healthcare, advice and birth education. Her choice was a well informed one.
I was also in her privileged position, I made a different choice and I am grateful that my ob-gyn “allowed” it. However, that said, “natural” child birth comes with its own challenges which are not to be glossed over – it is not the easy choice (and not very natural either, truth be told, it’s ugly). It was a choice that worked for me but I would not necessarily recommend or “insist” on it as the photographer does.
A “natural”, vaginal birth is the pot of gold at the end of rainbow for so many, many women and it always strikes me that the people who criticise c-section births are those that had the well informed, privileged choice available to them but chose what they thought to be the moral high ground.
Consider please the dead/traumatised mothers and damaged children that have resulted from our government’s “pro natural at all costs” approach (and don’t even get me started on the ”breast is best” thing). It is the township women, the poor and ill-educated who need better informed and more accommodating midwives and doctors.
C-Sections are not the devil’s work, unnecessary deaths and damage are.
- Jennifer Luiz
Shame on me for failing
My preemie beautiful daughter, Ella Grace, was born via emergency C section on the 3rd of December 2014 at 34 weeks.
If it wasn't for Doctor's perfecting the Caesarean she would have died as she was breach and weak from going through 6 days of preterm labour (as was I). As is she was ventilated and spent 21 days in NICU but yes I guess she was #notborn and I was #notstrongenough to actually have a natural birth and shame on me for failing the world!
- Joelle Paul
Even though I gave birth I was still judged
I gave natural birth but your article so hit home about high society people or judgement against the norm.
I gave birth in hospital with my first child. My child wouldn't latch and I had no milk. The nursery was chock a block full and only my child had a label on her cot saying 'bottle fed'. Next morning after all dics etc visit a lady walked into my room introducing herself from a breast feeding clinic...and then proceeded to say 'oh I see you have given up' clearly reacting to my card on my babys cot saying bottle fed. Unfortunately for her I'm Taurean, one look and she left my room in a hurry. What the fudge, going through birth is tough enough let alone being a new mother. Who are they to judge or utter stupid rubbish. Both my kids were bottle fed, well adapted and healthy
- Meloney Knaap
Sometimes you don't have a choice
People like to judge people without knowing the reason, everyone has the right to choose how to give birth and remember sometimes you don't have a choice,and they want our children to feel like they not like other children ,or they don't belong in this world because they didn't born through the vagina.
It's all the same vagina or c section we breath the same air.
- Grace Krombe
Judged about birth method
I chose to have vaginal deliveries and was fortunate enough to be able to do so for both my sons. I've never heard anyone judge me personally for my choice. But I have heard implications from some women that had elective c-section (i.e planned them with no medical necessity) to the effect that choosing natural childbirth is putting your baby at some kind of risk. To judge a woman for having her baby as nature intended is as wrong wrong wrong as judging a woman for choosing a c section!!
- Helen Robinson
How can people be so vicious?Goodness me, that in this day and age we are still capable of judging fellow mothers so viciously!!! Thanks to an emergency C-section 45 years ago I was #notborn and my mom's life was saved. My sister too was #notborn.
Now Ma'am photographer, when you spend years going through hell just to fall pregnant or taking out loans amounting to the value of a new home, then trust me, if you could just experience the miracle of a successful pregnancy, you would find that giving birth naturally or giving birth on top of Mars, will matter not one ounce!!! It would be a miracle!!!
My joy, my miracle, my everything was not carried by me for 9 months. Nor did I give birth but he grew in my heart. I shudder to imagine what she thinks of that.... so get off lala land, smell the roses and find an ounce of understanding in your cynical brain.
- Michelle Gedye
The way I birth doesn't define me as a mother
I have to beautiful girls who were "not born". Everyday I thank God for them, because the fact that I could have a pregnancy is just grace.
I was in a terrible car accident 6 years ago. I broke my pelvis real bad. I had reconstruction surgery and after a few months I had a hip replacement, I was 20 years old.
Without any struggle my husband and i fell pregnant with our first only a few months after our wedding. Two years later I our youngest was born, who is 5 months old at the moment.
Physically I wasn't able to give birth naturally. I needed a c-section.
The way I had my baby does not define the type of mother I am. I breastfed my oldest and currently still breastfeeding my youngest. I work from home, which means I take care of my children while a make an income.
If I could, I would have loved to give birth naturally, but I am thankful that I am able to have children.
I love my two "#notborn" girls with ALL OF MY HEART.
- Elizma Booysen
I was young and stubborn and even had dreams of a tranquil water birth and all the jingles and jangles that went with it. But my natural birth turned into hell. The stories you hear on TV: hours of labour and blah blah blah. Eventually after 10 hours I wanted to push but had to have 3 episiotomies and still tore into my history and my future. 47 stitches. Pain! Nobody even blinked an eye when I said I am not even trying breastfeeding.
The pain never went away. For years! It was a blessing that my second child was born by emergency C. I might have had bigger problems. Shortly after that I found a wonderful old doctor who cared for my tale of woe and realised that the student who stitched me after the 1st birth made such a mess, I had to have a complete vaginal reconstruction done. 67 stitches later after 9 years of pain was a small price to pay. Three more emergency C's and no one ever dared asking about breastfeeding.
I don't know if anybody thought I was lazy or too fancy or whatever, but they sure kept their thoughts to themselves. My doctor even honoured my decision every time to not have the standard tests done to detect abnormalities.
My body! My babies! My births! If you don't like it, get yourself pregnant and try to push a pineapple through a banana skin and smile and glow! The way you give birth does not effect the quality of mother you are. Does it matter if you unlock the steel gate first or the wooden door first when you enter your house? No. As long as you can get in and enjoy the love that is waiting there for you!
Have you ever been shamed about how you chose to give birth - whether vaginally or via c-section? Send us your letter to firstname.lastname@example.org and we could publish your story.
And while you're at it, why not send us pictures of your kids who were #NotBorn and we could include them in a gallery.