11:28 AM EDT, July 15, 2010
This is a difficult topic for me. Not because I have a tragic story or a huge stake in the matter. In fact, the problem is that I end up siding with everyone. How c-sections are at an all time high and home births are the way to go. Doulas, midwives, doctors, drugs, meditation. I think it's all valid.
I mean, I don't think women should be choosing c-sections for scheduling reasons, or because they're afraid of the pain, but beyond that, I believe everyone has the right to their own birth experience. If you want to have your baby in a bathtub, that is awesome. If you feel more comfortable in a hospital, that is fine, too.
I fell into the latter category, and ended up having an unplanned c-section at Yale when my daughter was born in September of 2008. Despite the fact that I was in labor for many hours and a surgical birth was not what I'd wanted at all, it was, quite honestly, a lovely experience. Shortly afterward, I wrote about Nora's birth on my personal blog. The post includes the whole story (nothing gross, I promise) if you'd like to read about it.
Strangely, I didn't experience any of the guilt or regret over having a c-section that many women claim to feel until now, almost two years after the fact. And to tell the truth, I don't feel much, perhaps because I believe I received excellent care while in the hospital. I trusted my doctors.
But still, there are moments. I wonder to myself, "You know, if I'd skipped the epidural, I probably wouldn't have had a c-section." Or, "Maybe if I'd just pushed harder."
I realize, on a practical level, that none of it is true. I waited a long time to have an epidural and I pushed as hard as I could. But even if I hadn't, there are more complicated factors at play, and those factors had everything to do with what happened. Nora was face up and stuck under my pelvic bone. Maybe I was one of those people who really needed a c-section. Maybe I wasn't - I definitely believe that too many c-sections are performed unnecessarily. The truth is, I'll never know.
More importantly, worrying about it serves no purpose. Going forth with confidence and peace seems a much better idea.
There is a lot of writing out there on the subject, from every viewpoint imaginable. I just read this piece in SELF's July edition, titled, "Who Controls Childbirth?" and wanted to share it here. It's one of the best articles I've read on the whole childbirth debate, especially as I identified strongly with a lot of what the author said.
People tend to get really up in arms about this subject, which - I must tell you - I find ridiculous. Railing against each other for not only our choices, but even our thoughts about childbirth? Come on, people. So please read with an open mind.