Editor's note: This article was originally published on Mama in the Now. It has been republished here with permission.
Dear Mom Scared of a C-section,
You are now faced with the reality that your child may be delivered via C-section – and you are naturally scared! Your carefully scripted birthplan will need to be drastically modified, the childbirth prep classes were hours you could have spent napping at home, and your dreams of natural labor may never become a reality – at least not this time around.
I know that having a C-section is not the preferred method of delivery for many moms. It is probably not how you envisioned welcoming your baby into this world. Personally, I was never given a choice in the matter, as going through labor would have been too dangerous for me. Even before we had children I knew that I would be a C-section mom, and I was at peace with it.
I am now the mother of four boys. I carried each and every one of my children in my womb for as long as my old saggy uterus could hold them. Our children are of Viking descent, so they are all freakishly large at birth – but that's no fault of their own – it is just part of their genetic makeup.
My body lovingly cradled the babies, carried and grew them each for 39 weeks. Due to one of my own medical conditions, the babies were all brought into this world with the help of an incredibly kind and supportive team of surgeons. My children were lifted from my womb, with my husband at my side. I heard each of their first cries, was one of the first people to ever see them, gave them their first kiss and was the first to feed them.
I have always been at peace with my four C-sections because delivering a baby is a part of the parenting journey. It is one of the first experiences in the journey, but it is not the most important one. The way I see it, when you travel to Europe, it certainly matters how you get there. You wish to arrive safely and in the quickest way possible. However the most important aspect of the journey is seeing Europe and feeling well enough to enjoy the sights and sounds. It matters that you had a good flight, a positive experience, but whether the plane was a Boeing or an Airbus is not something that will color the rest of your trip. That is exactly how child birth is to me – an important fascet of the parenting journey, but it is not everything.
Dear mom worried about having a C-section, let me tell you – you WILL bond with your baby. Your child can breastfeed without further issues or concerns. Having a C-section is not the end of your child birth career, nor does it mean that you have failed at motherhood before you even really got started. _Having a C-section means that you are doing exactly what your child needs from you._Delivering in an operating room means that your particular situation called for added measures and your job is to ensure that this baby is brought into the world in the safest way possible.
I know the decision whether or not to delivery via C-section should not be taken lightly, and right now it may take up a lot of your thoughts and attention. But trust me, years from now, no one will ask or even care how your child was delivered. You will never hear _"your child bit someone at day care today! Let me ask you, was he delivered via C-section?" "Your kid is mastering these sight words incredibly well, he must have been a vaginal delivery!" or __"Wow, common core math seems like a breeze for you kid, surely he was not a C-section baby."___ You MAY hear, "Look at that perfectly round head on the baby, clearly he was a C-section delivery" – but even those comments fizzle out after a few weeks.
Fact of the matter is, once your baby has arrived the only person who remembers every single detail of his delivery is YOU – his mother. You will bear the scar, you will be able to relive the hours leading up to his arrival in fine detail, while the rest of the world will marvel at his presence in the here and now. Relatives and friends will oooh and ahhh over all his great achievements as an infant, baby, toddler and child without giving it another thought whether he was delivered in an operating room, in a birthing suite or in your living room.
So for today, please know that I am not trying to minimize the magnitude and the importance of this decision. But please know from someone who has been through your "worst case scenario" four times, the end result is beautiful. The "finale" is full of indescribable happiness and it is actually the beginning of a lifetime of even harder decisions.
Tove Maren is a Danish-American mother of four boys, ages 8 and younger. She is a freelance writer and translator. Tove reports live from the trenches of motherhood where she writes about all things related to life love, laughter and LEGOs. You will find her encouraging, as she empowers you to parent by intuition and with confidence.