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Entries in obstetric fistula (1)


Extract This

Sara, of Flutterby Butterfly, wrote a post entitled, “Do You Judge or Support the CSection Mommy?” wherein she says, in (large) part, cesarean moms looking for support online will find: (emphasis Sara’s) 

“Instead of congratulations, you're more likely to get note of sympathy, like you lost someone. You'll be told that it was probably not really not needed. You will be told that the cascade of interventions caused it. You will be told that the epidural was responsible. You will be referred to ICAN and the Unnecessarian (sic). You will be told that maybe next time you can try for a VBAC. You will (be) encouraged to try an HBAC.  If you refer to the c section as a birth, you will be corrected and informed that it was just an extraction. You will be told that your bond with the baby isn't as good as the bond that is created by vaginal birth. You will be told that you should have trusted birth more. 

“If you give your reasons for the c-section, you will be told that whatever it was (pre-eclampsia, nuchal cord, breech, transverse, high blood pressure, twins, big baby) was just a variation of normal. 

“In other words:  The amazing and joyful experience of bringing your child into the world will be torn apart and judged as not good enough.  The wonderful moments of meeting your baby for the first time will torn apart and judged as not good enough.  The reasons that you had a c-section in the first place will be torn apart and judged as not good enough.” 

What Sara says is so true it makes my stomach turn. What the heck is with women that they have to terrorize new moms, making them second (and third and fourth) guess what happened during their labors and births? Why is it so important to make women feel like crap about their births? Who does that serve? Certainly not the healing mother. 

Yet, in the original thread in Facebook, other women said: 

“I experienced the opposite of what this blogger describes. After my c/s, I was depressed, angry, and bitter. I so so wish someone had told me that it was ok to feel this way. Instead, I got the ‘at least you have a healthy baby’ and no one seemed to understand why I felt the way I did. This made me feel even more alone, even more guilty for the poor bonding, and pushed me further into depression. I was ECSTATIC when I found out that there were people that felt the way I did after my c/s and that I wasn't alone or crazy-- I sought them out, not the other way around.” 


… finding (virtual) support at long last, I also learned that my hellish-induced-labor-turned-c-section-and-eleven-days-at-NICU was not a birth. Nothing's perfect in this world, I suppose.” 

What the heck is this “extraction” crap? I suppose I’m not supposed to contradict another woman’s perception of birth, but what Sadist started this “extraction” crap? 

Can I tell you how sorry I feel for the child born of a mother who says she didn’t give birth to the kid? That s/he was “an extraction,” like an infected tooth or a cancerous mole? What is that going to do for his or her self-esteem? Has anyone thought that far ahead yet? What a horrible set-up for loving parenting, starting out thinking your baby was “extracted” from your body. 

Birthing occurs in far more places than the vagina. We birth ideas. We give birth to ourselves as understanding occurs through introspection. We’re reborn when we embrace a new religion. Birth is a beautiful metaphor for many aspects of our lives on earth. Can’t birth via cesarean at least be a metaphor for the beginning of a new life despite the baby not coming via the vagina? 

Women in many places around the world would give their lives to have a cesarean birth… and do, by having vaginal births that kill them. Do you think that women in Somalia have a remote belief that a cesarean isn’t a birth? Puh-lease. What an amazingly arrogant luxury it is for a woman in our culture to pick apart the way/location/method of birth, designating a cesarean as a non-birth when so many women are dying in other regions and countries. And for the women that die, there are many others who would have killed to avoid the trauma of an obstructed vaginal birth. Ask the women who are now non-persons because of their obstetric fistulas whether they believe a cesarean is an “extraction” or not. Or the women who delivered dead babies vaginally when a cesarean would have saved their babies’ lives. 

Quit being dramatic, you Extraction Queens. Find a way to get over your selfish belief your birth wasn’t real because of the location the kid entered the world from. That doesn’t mean mourning a vaginal birth isn’t warranted (if that is your inclination; not all women need to), but it does mean to knock it off about the desire to use shock value to get pity from others.

Enough already.