I am one of the few people I know with the rather chilling distinction of having birthed 5 children, separately in the last 7.5 years. For this reason, I’ve also had the unique opportunity to experience first-hand, most of the common possible methods of childbirth: natural with no meds, natural with an epidural, natural with an epidural that came too late, natural with an epidural and episiotomy and a C-section.
For those who are curious, the most painful by far is not natural without meds as everybody seems to think, but an episiotomy. In case you weren’t aware of this barbaric practice, an episiotomy is when your child’s head is too large in the final stages of birth, and the doctor snips your perineum (the bit between your vagina and your anus) in order to avoid having your bits tear wide open on their own. Sound horrific? Yes. Yes it is… even if you’re totally dead from the chest down when it happens, you have to live with a stitched up under-carriage for however long it takes to heal afterwards. It’s EXACTLY as sore as it sounds. I remember asking my doctor on more than one occasion if I’d given birth through my anus.
So when I decided to have my fifth and final child via elective C-section, I was going in with my eyes wide open. I had four other small children to worry about, and the logistics of having them cared for while I gave birth were complicated. In addition, I was tired of not knowing when it would happen. I was tired of having nurses shove their hands in there every hour while I laboured for most of a day… after 4 natural child-birthing experiences, I wasn’t up for the indignity of the whole thing. I’d paid my dues and felt I’d earned a break from the whole messy affair.
It was exciting to have a date that I could bank on. It was a relief to arrange for the other kids in peace and pack my hospital bag… it was wonderful. So when I got my date, I immediately took to social media to announce it. What a mistake! I wasn’t aware that the birthing methods of other people was such a hot topic. I got an endless barrage of people gently (and not so gently) trying to warn me off it… “It’s sore…” – well yes, after an episiotomy, I’m like the guy from Gladiator… bring it on! “Natural is better” – well yes, I’ve done that. Lots. “There’s danger for the baby” – Oh, you mean like the natural birth of my last child where the stress of being squeezed out gave her a tear in her lung? No matter how many times I tried to explain that I had made this decision for many reasons, the social-media monkeys would not let up.
Hilariously, my body and the condition of my vagina had not featured in my decision at all, but this seemed to be the general consensus among my critics. After several frustrating days of being trolled, I eventually let them believe whatever they wanted to believe. I didn’t care anymore. Because the fact is, even if it had been my first baby, and my reasons were entirely vain and unfounded, it would still have been my decision. I don’t go around pointing fingers at people who elect to birth their babies in blow-up pools in their bedrooms, do I? No. To each his own. And the same goes for breast/bottle feeding, the age at which a woman chooses to potty train her child and everything else.
Nobody’s business. No need for excuses. No need for explanations and if you have the nerve, unfriend people who think they have a say!
Have you experienced any backlash about your decision to have an elective c-section?