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A Word from K, Our Senior Adjunct Section Correspondent

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Guest Post by “K”, Senior Adjunct Section Correspondent (SAS-C)


Guest contributor’s note: Fans of The Unnecesarean have expressed dismay that a “pro-cesarean” post would ever appear on this site. Let it be stated, for the record, that my contributions here have never been intended as “pro-cesarean” — but rather, pro-individual choice. I support the choice of each individual woman to birth how she chooses, and yes, (gasp) to view her birth experience as warm and wonderful if that’s how she sees it — be it in a birth center, at home in a tub, or on an operating table. I’ve been invited to provide guest posts here before, because Jill and I met in person at a birth conference (OH GOD, REALLY?! Yes.) and she deemed me somewhat intelligent enough to have a sharable opinion. Bless her heart.


And now, on to the post:

NPR: I Had A C-Section And I Loved It


The picture with the post says everything that needs to be said. A wonderful birth experience has just happened. And I’m glad that NPR decided to include as a follow-up to their Baby Project.

I, too, had a planned and medically-indicated c-section earlier this year. But before it happened, I shared my story here on The Unnecesarean. That post generated a lot of support as well as consternation, as well as a few people who threw up their virtual hands and “left” the Unnecesarean community. And it added a lot of stress and tension to the final months of my pregnancy - which was the only reason I regretted posting it.

Fast forward to the day we met our son. As I held him in my arms and reflected on the significance of that post, wondering if I would write a follow-up, I thought to myself, “Good grief. That’s so in the past, and now he’s here. Moving on….” As Barrie so perfectly summarized, I was ready for the baby experience. And I’ve never looked back.

It’s worth considering that we all have the right to frame our experiences as we see them, as we’re the only ones with the perspective to do so.



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Reader Comments (26)

K, you're so SAS-C. Thank you for picking that marvelous title.

September 28, 2011 | Registered CommenterJill

The problem I had with that post was not that the author wanted and got a C-section, it just seemed she made a decision based completely on a fear of birth and without seemingly any research into the pros/cons or risks of the surgery. It all ended well for her, she apparently bounced right back and without any pain and her baby was able to breastfeed with no issues. From what I have seen with friends & family, this is absolutely not the norm. It also felt like, though she said homebirthers and elective C-section moms have more in common than we realize, that she was reinforcing the stereotype that natural child birth advocates care more about the birth than the baby.

September 28, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterElita

This is a tricky one. Yes, it's critical that women choose the birth environment and method that is most appropriate for them. No doubt. And there is no room (or need) for guilt in any of this--none of this is ideological (although some try to make it so). If a woman is pleased with her birth experience, she is entitled to feel pleased, and her reaction/emotions are no one else's damned business. No such thing as false consciousness when it comes to birth. What concerns me, however, about choosing unindicated surgery is a) it contributes to a context that undermines our collective faith in women's bodies and women's ability to give birth without intervention, and is connected with beliefs and policies that malign women's abilities and the integrity of our bodies (and this undermining/maligning context hurts real women, every single day, all over the world); and b) in a system like Canada's, where our medical care is publicly funded, it costs a lot of extra tax dollars to do c/s than to attend vaginal births. Call me petty if you will, but I'd like to still have a public medical system a decade from now, and at the rate we're going--not just because of unindicated c/s, but because of burdens on the system from a variety of angles, mostly to do with people living longer and with more chronic disease--the whole thing is going to implode if we don't make some changes. Women choosing c/s aren't the only ones to blame for this of course, but every dollar saved is a good one, and if we can both save money and encourage birth choices that are as low-risk to the woman and baby as possible (a c/s without medical indication introduces risks that just aren't present in a non-surgical birth), then from a health systems perspective, that is a good thing.

But I do still feel twisted up about how all of this maps on to the rhetoric of individual choice. It's tricky. And, of course, I have biases as I absolutely detested every second of my c/s and "recovery" and am now an ICAN leader...

September 28, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAlisa

I would argue that a blessed c-section that a woman feels happy about and ready for can be as research based and fantastically well-informed as a lovely homebirth with a midwife. Anxiety and stress from being in a situation you don't want is definitely enough of a factor that women MUST be able to choose their birthing situation and be given support in their choices. Triumphant necesareans of any variety can be so joyful. Focusing on positive necessary c-sections is just as important in getting the c-section rate down as bringing the unnecesarean epidemic to light. If we must have c-sections, which of course we must for a variety of reasons, we need positive examples from which to draw. Everyone deserves their best birth.

September 28, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterCaitlin

I also think that it may not be the norm, but, I think, preparation, education, and empowerment are the key factors in any woman's success during and after her chosen birth experience. I'm not really a fan of the title of the article as it encourages elective C-section with no background information. Some women look for an anthem more than they look to be educated, and although the message about being happy with your personal choices is a good one, it would have been great to see something more thoughtful, even if less marketable. I think it is degrading to a good article to just go for the controversial punch-line title.

I am a Doula and Childbirth Educator, and nothing makes me happier than to see a woman have a wonderful, natural, non-interventive birth experience and an easy slide into post-natal life-with-baby. Unfortunately, it is an ideal and under-supported by our current health care system. Equally as important as a healthy birth experience, is a confident mother's entrance into motherhood. Despite circumstances where we feel WE would have made other decisions regarding our birth experience, we should support each other as mothers and watch out for each other. In our lifetime experience as moms, we make plenty of our own regrets and guilty burdens. There is no need to start life with our little ones feeling that we are already being judged for our mothering decisions. Kudos to K for her healthy experience and feeling confident about her choices. Moving on to Motherhood...

September 28, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterShannon

Alisa, your comment shows that you've thought about the potential health implications (positive and negative)of having major surgery without medical indication critically and are well aware of how your biases/experiences impact your opinion. That is a starting point for any respectful discussion on the matter.

September 28, 2011 | Registered CommenterJill

Elita, I agree that the implication is that "vaginal birth" is synonymous with "experience" and all of the inferences within, yet choosing a cesarean is choosing the experience of having a cesarean. It's a red herring to try to pin wanting a specific experience on a specific group of people. Even providers choose the cesarean experience when performing one for medical indications or to avoid being sued. Whether averse to experiencing vaginal birth (patient) or averse to experiencing a lawsuit (doctor), it's important to keep in mind that one experience has simply been swapped for another. With wanted pregnancies, everyone typically shares the end result of wanting a healthy mother and healthy baby. To try to frame that for someone else isn't possible because, as K wrote, "we’re the only ones with the perspective to do so."

Another way to put that is that vaginal birth is viewed as process and outcome, whereas cesarean birth is mistakenly perceived as cutting straight to the outcome. There is still quite a process involved. Some (patients and providers) value that process, others are neutral, still others hate it. The same could be said about vaginal birth.

September 28, 2011 | Registered CommenterJill

I had a c-section for my son and had a great experience!
I made the choice that was best for me at the time.

I will be trying for a vbac this time but will not be hugely disappointed if I cant have one. My doc is willing to let me try.

September 28, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterDebbie

Debbie, that's very cool that the option is on the table and that you can make the decision. Congrats. :)

September 28, 2011 | Registered CommenterJill

Brilliant comment on the Facebook page: "I hope we never cut health care enough that women are forced to birth a certain way to "save money." Remember folks, it goes *both ways* once you start making a woman's birth a political statement."

September 28, 2011 | Registered CommenterJill
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