Did you have a natural birth? If there is one question since my children were born that continues to irk me and sometimes I will admit upsets me every time I hear it it’s this. I see this time and time again in parenting forums, articles, social media, birth announcements etc. Those who ask it at times have left me surprised.
It’s other mothers in the main asking other women and I often wonder why do they feel the need to ask it?
One friend suggested maybe people don’t like to say the word vaginal, Ok it’s not the prettiest word in the world but really? If they were lucky they got to push multiple babies out and now have reverted back to framing their experience in a different manner?
I am more so concerned and if I am honest annoyed that there are a small minority who consider my Section to not be a natural birth. Let me take you to the minutes leading up to my twins’ birth and see what conclusion you come to.
I was in hospital on rest for 2.5 weeks prior with an exciting scheduled section planned for 36 weeks, as excited as anyone can be about major abdominal surgery but our focus was we would finally meet our babies. Six days beforehand at 7am my waters broke “naturally “, just me on my own in my hospital bed after a very uncomfortable night. I put this down to the Chinese meal myself and my husband had went out for the night before, little did I know the warning signs were there , those strong Braxton Hicks were in fact contractions!
My consultant arrived minutes later and the prep began for my section, no major panic but everything moved quickly given my son was in a breech position (twin 1) and my daughter (twin 2) was transverse nestled in my ribcage, so they needed to appear quickly once my waters went.
I sat there on the edge of the theatre bed so still, akin to a statue, whilst my body fought against my stillness with all its might as the epidural needle was inserted into my spine and a contraction steadily let itself be known. All the while I am praying my husband would make it on time for our first childrens birth and be there to hold my hand as truth be known it was a scary experience being in a brightly lit theatre with all these strangers around you when you are at your most vunerable.
8.02am and 8.04am my amazing consultant lifted twin 1 and then twin 2 over the surgery sheet so we could see them as they emerged from my body and with that came the joy of discovering their sex. We were left discover this ourselves and it was a moment we will treasure as long as we live. Our family was complete, two gorgeous little ones, a boy and a girl.
Why anyone would choose to say this experience wasn’t a natural birth is beyond me, there was nothing fake about my delivery or my childrens’ birth . C Sections happen for varying reasons, this isn’t a medical article where I am going to quote statistics ,they vary from hospital to hospital all for different reasons ,the overall reason in most cases is for the health and safety of the child and the mother.
Whatever the reason that lead to a C-Section to deny a woman who has nurtured and grown their child and kept them safe for their pregnancy the simple congratulations afforded with the miracle that birthing life is nothing short of a lack of understanding and disrespect. I personally from the day I discovered I was pregnant hoped to have a vaginal birth, as do the majority of women. Of course there are some who for personal reasons choose a section but who are we to judge, is it really any of our business?
No-one decides to have major abdominal surgery lightly.
Surgery which leaves you with a Catheter and all that unpleasantness.
On poo watch from the midwives.
Having a wound may end up getting infected – like mine did -cue horrendous pain whilst tending to newborn twins.
Trying to protect the same wound from hurting as you attempt to get comfortable to breast feed your babies.
The inability to sit straight up after birth and then being dragged up out of bed 1.5 hours after birth to show you can walk across the room even though you have literally been cut in half.
5 days approximately in hospital and every time you bend, lift, turn sideways you feel your stomach will never recover due to the pain
Being restricted to your house for 6 weeks or dependent on others to drive you and your babies everywhere.
* I should state some women who have a section experience none of these after effects and are very lucky to do so but in the same regard are aware of these possibilities before heading into surgery and ready to accept anything once their children arrive safe.
For me when we discovered we were having twins and from early on their positions were breech and transverse my consultant was very open in saying a C-Section would be how my children would enter the world. I was disappointed all the way through my pregnancy and still at times I get notions of experiencing a vaginal delivery but two and a half years later do I care how they got here when I see how healthy and full of life they are? Not a bit!
So the next time you meet an expectant mother or congratulate a mother on her new child, do just that, congratulate her. Does it really matter how the child came into the world? Will it make a difference in your day that you have the knowledge of their birthing method? It won’t I’m sure but you may unintentionally drag up a little memory of a time when that woman had a decision on her child’s birth taken away from her for a good medical or otherwise reason .
And if you must insist on knowing what way they gave birth be prepared to answer about your sex life, because should you bump into me in the supermarket I have been known to ask what method you engaged in in the bed last in retaliation!