While I was surfing Facebook last week, I came across an article on my newsfeed by Sanctimommy that was about a photographer refusing to document a woman’s birth because it was a C-section. It was captioned as: #tmw your #birthphotographer dumps you for having a csection. The photographer claimed that because she had a C-section, she did not actually give birth. The photographer claimed that because the woman “opted” for a C-section, she took the easy way out:
“A surgery isn’t birth, my dear. You aren’t giving birth.
You are having a surgery to remove your baby from
your abdomen. That is not birth no matter how you
swing it and I for one don’t want to be there to take
pictures of it.
If you decide to give motherhood a go from the get
and have an actual birth, let me know and we can
schedule your session.
Motherhood is hard, if I were you I would think
twice about starting such a job by cutting
corners so early in the game”
I was floored when I read this, which is why it took me until today to actually write about it. I shared the post on my Facebook page with a small caption, and left it. I didn’t know how to respond. I couldn’t imagine someone saying that to me after what I went through with my own C-section. I couldn’t imagine someone belittling me to that degree, making me feel worse than I already did both physically and emotionally.
I had an emergency C-section with my son. It was the worst experience I could have gone through. I was ten days overdue and couldn’t wait to get the baby out. I arrived at the hospital for my scheduled induction on a Friday morning. I was induced three times over the period of 26 hours and it wasn’t until Saturday morning that my water finally broke. Even then, I was only able to dilate three-centimeters.
My son’s heartrate dropped and the scheduled OB had to insert a monitor on the baby’s head, meaning he had to reach inside of me to get it there. The pain was unbelievable. The second time my child’s heartrate dropped, they removed the monitor (again, crazy pain) and told me they were prepping a room for an emergency C-section. There was no choice. I had no choice. My husband had no choice. And while my mother and my sister held my hands as I cried, ensuring me everything would be ok, I couldn’t help by fear the worst.
We were rushed into a room and I was immediately pumped with drugs and an epidural. It wasn’t until I heard my son’s cries that I was able to breath again. The nurse let me see him and my husband got to hold him.
Once we were in recovery, I was scared to hold my son because I was still shaking from the drugs. It wasn’t until around twenty-minutes later that I felt safe to hold him for the first time. Twenty minutes. That is a long time. But when I did hold him, I knew we were going to be okay.
After four days in the hospital, I was ready to leave. I was still in a lot of pain, but I wanted to be home. I’m claustrophobic and I hate hospitals and I needed to get out. They removed the staples and we discovered that one staple didn’t take and I had an open wound, a hole. Since they couldn’t do anything about it at that point, they put a bandage on it and sent us home with supplies to clean and care for it. It took roughly two weeks to heal. Two weeks feeling like an invalid, hopped up on medication, unable to move around without feeling pain and discomfort. My husband had to clean the dressings and my postpartum depression started kicking in.
To the photographer that made the above comment, I say this:
I did not opt for a C-section just like your ex-client didn’t. I did not opt for anything. It was a matter of life and death and I chose life for me and my son. I did not take the easy way out. If anything, I feel like I was forced into a harder way out. I was physically unable to get my son out “naturally”, as you call it. What I went through felt like a horror story and I still remember it as if it were yesterday. I also have a lovely scar to remind me of my strength and that is something no one can take away from me.
Birth is birth. A child comes out of your body, therefore you birthed it. It does not matter whether the baby exited from the vagina or the belly. The point is, you carried a baby for roughly forty weeks and then it came out.
Shame on you.
It’s time we stopped criticizing mothers and start lifting them up. It’s time we stopped shaming mothers and start praising them for their hard work. Whether you plan a C-section or have an emergency C-section, give birth at home or in the hospital, you are a superstar.
For my response to the fake news this piece was based on, visit: I Wrote a Piece on Fake News: My C-Section Story