C-Section Moms are People, Too

So a while back, I posted a picture taken of me during my c-section on a birth-focused facebook page. I’ll admit I was tweaking them a bit with the caption, “Me and my daughter while they were sewing me up during my fabulous planned c-section!!” See, I really love this picture, and I think it shows that a lot of things Natural Childbirth Advocates ™ like to say about c-sections simply aren’t true. My hands weren’t strapped down, my baby wasn’t taken away from me for hours, etc. This wasn’t even in some crunchy organic-food-serving hospital in Portland *cough*OHSU*cough*, but at Riverside Hospital in Columbus, OH, home of the much-maligned-in-NCB-circles show “One Born Every Minute.” It really was a fabulous birth experience. But I digress. Anyway, I was tweaking them, but I never expected to get this response:


I suppose I should have expected it.  My introduction to the nastiness brought on by NCB rhetoric came early on in my career as a mother, in the livejournal pregnant community after I posted my son’s birth story. It was immediately arm-chair quarterbacked, with most commentors implying that I should feel terrible about my failure. I’ll never forget being told that I wouldn’t be a “real woman” until I pushed a baby out of my vagina (so… does that mean nulliparous women are sitting around waiting to become real??).

Any time I’ve mentioned it since, the NCBer I’m talking to claims that never would have happened; no one would really say that. But they do.  Someone recently brought to my attention a thread on Joyous Birth to my attention.
The OP posts, complete with a “trigger warning” (WAT? LOL) that she is traumatized that her friend is going in for an emergency c-section. She mourns the loss of the friend’s natural birth and blames her for choosing an OB to care for her and not taking care of herself “properly” during her pregnancy.



So let’s see. We have an apparently necessary c-section (high blood pressure, swelling, headaches…), and the sanctimony here is STILL so thick you could cut it with a knife. But that’s not all.  After many condolences and (((hugs))), she worries that something has gone wrong, since she has not heard anything for three hours. Finally she announces that the baby has arrived safely. And THEN Janet Fraser herself has something to say:


Bahahahahahaha. Really? It almost seems that Janet thinks it would be better for babies to die from pre-eclampsia than be delivered via the sunroof.
See, the NCB movement wants to make sure you know that c-sections aren’t really birth. From this idiocy to the oft-posed-on-NCB-websites question “Do c-sections count as birth” to the NCT refusing to cover c-sections in their birth classes, they’re attempting to denigrate both the method of birth and the women who have one.  The latest iteration of this attack on c-section moms is a little more subtle than telling them they’re not real women, but it’s just as hurtful. It’s telling them that they haven’t really given birth. This attitude is all over the internet and permeates the hardcore parts of the natural birth community.


Doulas say it:


Natural Childbirth websites discuss it:


Even women on mainstream websites feel the need to talk about it:


Last but not least, there are actually forums dedicated to telling women that they have not given birth unless their children came out their vajayjay:


I used to feel hurt and angry when I read statements like these all over the internet. Why do other women feel the need to diminish the birth of my children? Or the births of anyone’s children? What is the purpose of saying anything like, “Cesareans are not really birth,” to a woman who has had a cesarean (or even to anyone who may need a cesarean in the future!!)? Is it a need to feel superior? To inform them of their supposed stupidity and gullibility in listening to their doctor? To warn them that they have somehow damaged their children? What is actually being done with this ridiculous assertion is to make her feel inadequate, feel like less of a woman.  She starts to feel defensive. Maybe it has even contributed to her postpartum depression or helped to create feelings of animosity toward her care providers that didn’t exist before someone’s fat, blabby mouth opened up and spewed out that filth.
So let me make it clear. The way you give birth not a referendum on your worthiness as a woman, mother, or human being. The way our children came into the world has NO BEARING on our abilities as a mother. It’s wonderful that there are those women who have the good fortune to give birth with little to no intervention.  But, really, in the scheme of things, birth is only a short moment in the lives of our children.  We have so many opportunities to be amazing mothers throughout our children’s childhood and even as they become adults. Let’s not get so hung up on a 3-inch difference in the location from which they emerged.

143 thoughts on “C-Section Moms are People, Too

    • How so, by breaching other women’s privacy and trolling other web sites for the express purpose of mocking, It’s not like any of these women ever did any harm to her.

        • The sites she posted on have guidelines that ask members to respect privacy of other members as very sensitive topics could be raised. He sole reason for joining was not to seek help or information but to troll and use the writings of other women as fodder for this site. I fail to see how this sites claims of working for better birth can be helped if women who chose to birth naturally are ridiculed. Maybe this site is only about birthing better if its a planned c/s.

          • So, these sites are so sensitive because you guys on JB want to bash women in the privacy of your own internet?
            Newsflash: JB wasn’t private when this stuff was posted.

          • I do think it’s hilarious that you are so embarrassed by what was said on these sites, and yet you’re mad at Heather for simply reprinting what passes for reasonable comment there.

          • Wait, so it’s A-OK for some snot on Joyous Birth to bash her friend for not doing pregancy “right” and avoiding a planned c-section… but it’s not OK for Heather to share comments made about her and other c-section moms. That seems a tad hypocritical.

  1. These NCB advocates are obviously just showing their own insecurities. Probably due to guilt over not being better parents themselves.

  2. Great post. Those kind of nasty, judgmental comments make me fume. Especially the woman “grieving” for her friend’s c-section. How incredibly self-centered and over dramatic! I don’t know why they get such pleasure in putting others down and making wild assumptions.

  3. This whole concept is so insane. So I guess adoptive parents aren’t really parents, then? What about dads? They don’t even have vaginas! Stupid, stupid, stupid.

  4. @ Rebecca: DINGDINGDINGDING We have a winner folks!

    The absolute WORST armchair quarterback of my homebirth-attempt-turned-csection was a doula who made a baby with a guy who told her in no uncertain terms he didn’t have any interest in being a father. at. all. but she promised him she’d take care of the baby completely on her own and he wouldn’t have to do anything. Kinda like how a kid negotiates getting a puppy? “I promise I’ll feed him and clean up after him you won’t even know he’s here!” Only – its a baby. Raised with a father who doesn’t give a crap about him. On purpose. ON PURPOSE. Yeah, and *I’m* the failure as a mom because of one stinking day. pleeeeze.

      • No wonder she felt the need to be SuperMom. She intentionally deprived her son of a healthy father-son relationship… I mean, I feel for women whose partners turn out to be jerks with no interest in their offspring, but this guy was upfront and honest about it. “I don’t want to be a daddy.” “Well, will you father my child anyway?” “Sure, as long as I don’t have to be a “daddy” How sad.

  5. My first baby was a c/s. My second and third babies were both VBACs. Guess what? I love all my babies the same and I am just has bonded to the c/s baby as the VBAC babies. the smartest and sweetest 4-year old I know. C/S baby is just as healthy as my VBAC babies. She is also

    I can tell you personally that I give birth three times. And for the record, the birth that felt like I give birth, was the c/s. The VBAC were nothing compared to my c/s.

  6. I guess right after I pushed my son out 6 weeks early because I was starting to have seizures from a newly discovered brain tumor, I could have pushed the tumor out my ear or nose or something, right?

    NO ONE has yet been able to tell me that it would have been safe to have delivered vaginally at that point. AND this was at a hospital that had previously encouraged me to consider a VBA2C.

  7. Oh my God I am so pissed right now! That anyone would say that on a beautiful picture of a mother kissing her baby, that a friend would be that self righteous, that JANET FRASER has anything to say after she let her baby die rather than go to the hospital. The point of getting pregnant is…HAVING A BABY!!!!!As long as both mother and baby are safe isn’t a c/s preferable to death? Not that I think that every baby should be born via c/s but if it happens, it happens. Get over it and stop insulting women who have them!

  8. how do these women feel about adoptive moms? do they feel superior to them, or sorry for them? where are the threads denigrating adoption, because you didn’t give birth? and how about dads, do they not have a child, feel love and bond? insanity. it’s not how my baby got here, it’s that she/he is here, safely.

  9. Beautiful photo. I have a similar one of me, my husband, and my baby in my arms while they were sewing me up after my c-section, and I used it in a blog post about the NCM for the same reasons – to dispel growing myths about c-sections: http://humanistmom.blogspot.com/2011/07/natural-childbirth-under-skeptical.html. A CNM was helping me nurse my little girl as soon as they got me out of the operating room. (I have a picture of that, too.) I can’t imagine it would have been any more memorable experience had I succeeded in delivering naturally. Shit happens. All that matters if that the end result is healthy for mom and baby. I don’t understand why so many other people are so judgmental, but it does seem to stem from their own insecurities.

  10. Hey. I really liked this article. I’ve often heard women try to one up each other with the whole, “Well I had five kids, no drugs, no C-sections. It’s like some sort of badge of honor. I really can see how such comments might hurt someone’s feelings, especially the business about you “Not really giving birth”. I believe you gave birth and it was nice of you to stand up for all those other women too.

  11. The hateful wankery about c-sections makes me so angry. It’s just so ugly and irrational and ridiculous. And I mean, the “friend” wanting to violently admonish the new mom for “not eating better” as though that could prevent pre-eclampsia? I can’t even think of anything to say that doesn’t involve screaming.

    One thing I have noticed a lot in the homebirth/natural birth communities is a lot of bad boundaries. It’s endemic. That’s how you end up with midwives saying they “love you” and ending every prenatal appointment with an unsolicited hug, and how you get midwives and doulas blabbing all over the internet about their clients’ birth stories. It’s also how you end up with women going around acting like THEY are “traumatized” by their friend’s c-section and people actually validate them instead of telling them to MYOB and shut up.

    When my second was born by c-section (which I readily consented to because it seemed like the best option to me, too) my doula contacted me a couple times after the birth wanting to ~process my disappointment~ even though I had tried to tell her that I was expecting this and wasn’t disappointed, just anxious since I had never had surgery before. I’m still not disappointed. That baby would have been damaged or even killed by a natural homebirth and I am thankful every time I look at her (now almost 3) that I had her “excised” from me. But at the time she was born I was just emerging from the homebirth world and the people I knew who were still in there were all very disappointed in me. It makes me so angry.

    I do like to tweak the extremists though by saying my c-section babies are both better behaved than the homebirth baby. 😉 Though they probably would counter it’s because I killed their spirits or something.

    • Your pore little c-section babays never got over the shock of being cut out of their momma, pore little thingies…It would make such a great country western song,don’t you think?

  12. Oh that poor woman who had the c-section and her own friend couldn’t support her. And now she’s going to be fed all the NCB garbage and be made to feel like a failure and then she’s going to end up another “birth rape” victim. Well, I guess I better go try to see if I can have some sort of relationship with that possible spawn of mine that was ripped out of me before he was ready.

  13. Coming from a woman w/ 1 epidural birth and 2 natural births. I must say those people are stupid. I even had planned births. I am very grateful for my OB who was willing to deliver me early. That truly saved my babies life.

    Ok onto my point. I myself was saved by an emergency c section. These people are idiots. I wonder how many of them have had c sections. Or how many of them would rather die themselves and/or lose the baby. That is what happened to me. My mom put her own life at risk by keeping me inside for 6 weeks after the doctor told her to abort. I was an emergency c section. My mom and I could have both died. I repeat that this was an emergency csection and doctor wanted to abort. I am very happy and lucky and praise God that I will be 30 next Tuesday .

  14. Coming from a woman w/ 1 epidural birth and 2 natural births. I must say those people are stupid. I even had planned births. I am very grateful for my OB who was willing to deliver me early. That truly saved my babies life.

    Ok onto my point. I myself was saved by an emergency c section. These people are idiots. I wonder how many of them have had c sections. Or how many of them would rather die themselves and/or lose the baby. That is what happened to me. My mom put her own life at risk by keeping me inside for 6 weeks after the doctor told her to abort. I was an emergency c section. My mom and I could have both died. I repeat that this was an emergency csection and doctor wanted to abort. I am very happy and lucky and praise God that I will be 30 next Tuesday .

    You chose to make sure that you had all your support there and that none of them were taken from their jobs, and that there were less 2am trips.

  15. I am a mum of 2 boys – both born by c/section. The first was rather traumatic for me, because I really wanted a vaginal birth and I felt that the doctors didn’t listen and the midwives were unsupportive. My c section was not an emergnency, but I was bullied into taking the step before it did turn into an emergency. I was tired and worn down. It was awful. My second birth was a VBAC attempt, and the scar on my uterus started to come apart. Once again – they didn’t listen to me, but I knew something was up. Eventually I was taken for a c/section, but it wasn’t becuase of my abnormal pain, it was becuase I was taking too long. Thank God my baby was not harmed with this delay. I wasn’t traumatised by this section cause I knew it was necessary. Simply assuming care providers know best is not the wisest choice in my book. Not once did any natural birth advocate tell me I wasn’t a real woman because of my experiences, but I did recieve lots of help about how to recover. I think medical help is fantastic when you need it, and I am glad I live today when we have the option. But for all those women who don’t need it and it is forced upon them, are you saying they can’t have a voice because you feel offended somehow and feel they are saying you are less of a woman? I went and joined up that site to have a look, and I feel you have judged unfairly and taken a lot out of context because you are not open to a different viewpoint. Proud of your choice to have a c/section? That’s great – I don’t have a problem with your choice. But I would appreciate less rudeness and ignorance about what natural birth activists are actually saying. And joining a forum to copy and paste and discuss it ELSEWHERE, OUT OF CONTEXT and not join in the discussion on said forum itself is just plain rude, ignorant – and I am not sure if it is against any laws, but it is against the forum rules AND unethical. How about you reveal yourself to the forum?

      • What the hell does that have to do with how these women are talking to other? All of these exapmle were in public forums and you people need to get over it. We teach out kids not to put pics of themselves online. How about you mamas pull up your big girl panties and admit you’ve been smearing your crap all over the interntet and now someone is using your words to show what hateful crow-monkies you are? Or shall I just call you A Waahhhhhhhmbulance? Cuz I got them on speed dial (doing what I do, I use them a lot)

        And we tried to join the forums but we got kicked out. Enjoy the freedom you have here because we were not given it elseware.

  16. There’s nothing illegal or unethical about posting non-privileged, non-protected information (or chatter) from one internet chat forum onto any other internet forum or blog.

    About feeling “forced” into a c-section. I’m sorry that the way it happened felt rushed or confusing. The problem here, where we start speculating that it was “unnecessary,” is that even hindsight isn’t 20/20 when our view is colored by what we *wished* had happened. If someone is exhausted to that point during labor that she can’t go on and can’t discuss things, how is she going to go on to push a baby out? Perhaps the exhaustion was the precursor to the catastrophe, and so the doctors chose to intervene *before* disaster struck instead of playing russian roulette with your and your baby’s life. Exhaustion *is* an emergency. I’ve experienced that level of life-threatening exhaustion, and stupidly stayed home too long. The stress caused my son to pass meconium and all hell broke loose from there. I only wish that I had been in a hospital, where the doctors could “bully” me into a c-section for exhaustion or “taking too long.” Even natural, spontaneously-occurring labor can and does stress a baby out terribly when it drags on for 12, 18, 24, 36 hours or more. Some babies can’t tolerate very much at all. When we’re in labor, we’re not the ones who can judge what’s going on with the most important person in the room: the BABY. Was it disappointing not to have your birth plan go through as imagined? Yes. Was it tragic or criminal? No.

    • I wasn’t forced – I was bullied. And I was. And no – the baby was fine when he came out except for the damage the forceps did to his head and face – you see he was so far down they had difficulty bringing him back up!!! And I have researched this heavily since – what was needed was simply rest, hyradation and nutrition, proper support. I don’t for one minute claim that ALL c/sections are unnecessary, so why do you feel you have to discount others experiences and claim that they ARE all necessary? I am very researched on this, have a sister who is a midwife and a best friend who is an OB – an both say my c section was unnecessary. And you conveniently ignored the info about my second birth that I was asking for a c/cestion and they ignored me until it was nearly too late.
      As for it being unehticial an immoral? certianly is. It is like gossip. This is a private forum – as in you have to sign up to see it and post. I know, cause I couldn’t go on there and check it all out until I had signed up. It reminds me of school children who hear some gossip, take it out of context and spread it around, but never have the guts to join in the conversation, clarify and challenge if necessary. YOu really think that is not unethical?

      • Actually, at the time these screencaps were taken, everything on Joyous Birth was public. Some links to some of their more egregious discussions were posted on the Skeptical OB, and when they realized that everyone could read how horrible they were, Janet Fraser locked the place up.

      • Respectfully, I think you missed the point of this post. It isn’t about whether C/S are necessary, it’s about women who have them are treated like the bastard child of the childbirth world. Which, by coming here and discounting Heather’s experience, you just did. You just proved her point.

        • I am not sure how I discounted Heather’s experience? I challenged her that not all NCB supporters say these things, and that I beleive she took things out of context – I said nothing about her experience. And I have not been around on that forum long enough to witness any nastiness – though I am sure somewhere it exists, because people are people aren’t they?
          The level of hate in the above posts is alarming to me. YOu are claming NCB supporters say hateful things – what is the point of all this hatred coming back?? I do not condone nastiness on any level, no matter what you beleive. I was merely pointing out that some women are indeed traumatised for one reason or another, and to make fun of it is nasty. Same as it is nasty to denigrate your births. I just don’t get why you are all putting so much energy into mean comments. Truly – I feel sorry for you all

  17. I think one of the reasons people support NCB either moderately or to a more extreme degree, is because they feel that pregnancy and birth is being boxed in by medical parameters – ie. this is normal, this isn’t normal, we have a procedure for this and a procedures for that.

    But I think what some of them – the extremists, in particular – are missing, is that they are placing just as many conditions and expectations on it.

    Why on earth is it necessary to have a definition of birth that is any more specific than ‘the baby was in, and now he’s out’. Isn’t that what birth is – the transferal of the child from inside the womb to outside the womb?

    And even if you do have your own views about birth and its meaning – I, for example do believe there is a very strong spiritual, primal aspect to (any kind of) birth – why on earth do you feel that you need to apply this as an objective definition for any other woman.

    Heather, that picture is absolutely beautiful. You look like every brand new mother I’ve ever seen, with an expression that says to me “I worked damn hard to get you here, my precious darling, and I’m just so grateful and relieved to finally meet you”.

  18. I’m a member of JB and had a medically necessary csection in Jan of this year and the women of JB provided me online and IRL support above and beyond the ‘thinking of you’ that comes from mainstream online parenting communities. Your assumption that Janet would rather babies die then be delivered via csection is untrue and unfair.

      • Are you serious? It’s the most supportive group I’ve ever come across. I’ve never felt judged or that I had to justify myself or the births of my children. My son’s csection birth was just as celebrated by these women as it would have been if he had of been born at home.

        You want support and respect for your views but you are being incredibly disrespectful and judgmental of a homebirth forum.

        • How’s that? By posting exactly what they said about a woman who was having a c-section and didn’t even know they were talking about her? I didn’t change a thing about it. Those are actually things that were said there. They were CLEARLY judging her.

    • “Your assumption that Janet would rather babies die than be delivered via csection is untrue and unfair….”

      Ahem. This is Janet Fraser? Who famously said her dead baby’s birth was less traumatic to her than her hospital birth? The same one? Amanda, look AROUND there. That is one nutty female.

  19. Meh, c/s are not all wonderful, neither are all natural births. But admittedly, we were designed to give birth, so the babies body and health generally rely on this – that is why many post c/s babies are nurseried. Simple first knowledge for Mat Ward OR nurses. But with todays medical assistance, its not a huge issue. Still an issue, just not one that registers for most people when there is other issues at the time.

    What i do have an issue with is the mocking bullying tone of this post. You seem to be demanding respect for your choices, but shit kicking the choices of others. You are acting very smug, but do you have the guts and conviction you show here, to go there and state your case? they at least seem to have a backbone, wonder if you do?

    Because what you are bashing them for, is exactly what you are doing!!

    Neither of you are very mature in my opinion, and you just lost a reader. Grow up all of you.

    • I have not “shit-kicked” any choice at all here, except the choice of a woman to comment with horrific things on a picture of mine, and the choices of women to demean others who’ve had c-sections. You are only seeing “bashing” because you disagree. There is nothing here about women who have choose natural births or homebirths or anything. I have only published pictures of offensive comments made by women to demean other women.

    • Post c/s babies are nurseried? When were you last in a hospital? Most of them don’t have “nurseries” any more. NICUs yes, nurseries no.

      • I retired from nursing 5 yrs ago – we used Nurseries as well as NICU (different areas). In all hospitals I worked in, 95% of all c/s babies were admitted to the Nursery or NICU. “most” as you said don’t, “many” still do. Or do you work in all hospitals worldwide?

        Blessed Be.

        • Well, apparently you don’t work in any hospital, so you might want to qualify your statements as being 5 years out of date…

        • Maybe a fair number of c-section babies end up in NICU not because of the section, but because whatever medical problem made the section necessary ALSO caused problems that needed treatment after birth. Some of those babies might have been in much worse shape had the c-section not been performed when it was. Correlation is not causation.

    • How is it bullying for Heather to post images of things people said? If they are so ashamed of what they said that they don’t want it repeated, maybe they should think about why they are saying it in the first place.

  20. I’m saddened by the massive breech of trust you have committed with this post. Please know that I am a woman who has been directly affected by your post and have had IRL friends confront me over some of the things you have posted and mocked. I’m a mother who lived through two c/s and still suffer the trauma of one as does my child. You have been the cause of much pain. You have not helped to make birth better at all, you have made it worse.

  21. ‘Birth (calving in livestock and some other animals, whelping in carnivorous mammals) is the act or process of bearing or bringing forth offspring.’

    You chose to have your child removed via surgery, it was not birth by definition but by your emotional reasoning. I have 4 children my first an elective cs. Unlike you I was strapped down, I was butchered and even had a massive bleed as the OB punctured something. He cut so deep my son has a scar across his forehead and needed 2 stitches. So I have had my other 3 at home just fine.

    Each woman has the right to chose how and where she births and should not expect any sort of a pat on the back for it is simply a part of what we do. I’m sorry for how others responded to your FB comments but remember with this post you have done no better. You have done to other women what was done to you and are no better. you belittle, mock and ridicule just as others did to you.

    I sit back to see if you allow this comment.

      • By the dictionary definition you posted a cs STILL is a birth. Should my children have removal certificates issued to them than a birth certificate? Better dead than sectioned seems to be the mantra for many in the NCB movement.

        How DARE you call my daughter’s birth not a birth. You must feel so superior than us stupid sheeple who don’t know any better than to have sections. I would NEVER think to insult someone else’s birth, but people like you do it all the time! Why you need to feel superior to me is unknown, but seriously, take your birth snob attitude and shove it.

  22. So you think the way to be a real woman is troll other web sites and mock other women who have never done anything against you. Do you see yourself as any different to any other hater? Only difference is people were up front with you, you breech peoples privacy without them knowing it.

    If you want to make birth better the get other there and do something constructive that will actually make an impact. Im happy if you want to come on board with ICAN, we have 100’s of women helping to make birth better for ALL women.

    • Mock women who have never done anything against me? Did you even READ the post? Do you see the comment that someone made about a picture of me and my baby?

      • Yes I saw the comments and I agree that they are just plain awful and mean, there is no call for that. But the women who’s posts you have posted here are not the people who hurt you, they have done you no personal harm yet you breached an inherent moral trust that was placed on you when you joined these forums.

        I know the pain of birth both c/s and normal. I can’t help feeling that underneath this all your hurting and I’m honestly sorry you experienced such horrible comments on your birth photos. I can’t help feeling that your doula work will be severely hampered by the anger you seem to be carrying around.

        Im a doula too and have studied with Gloria Lemay and I know this sort of attitude is not helpful in our field as birth workers.

        • Aww, poor Heather must have severe issues because she couldn’t possibly just be sick of the crap she sees all the time! Perhaps the women who make the comments to her have their own issues that they are pushing on to her!

        • Gloria Lemay is a baby killer. I don’t know why we should be impressed that you studied with her.

          FYI, I am not hurting emotionally from my section, instead I am pissed at th attitude you are displaying. There is a difference.

    • ICAN is one of the main groups out there telling women they are inadequate if they haven’t managed a VBAC. They encourage women to take dangerous risks like VBACing at home. How is that making birth better?

      • ICAN is an awful group. If you are at peace with your sections, you have no place there. They only want you if you are wearing sack cloth and ashes over your section, and are willing to fight to the death (yours or the baby) against any future sections.

  23. Im very confused. I thought this blog was about science and nature bringing them together? but all this is about is bitching about someone who doesn’t think the same way you do.. especially as your personal blurb heather states you dont care what others do as you wont demean other parents, yet this is all about demeaning other women. 🙁
    Shame on you for not being truthful to your personal cause.. i was hoping to find some real facts about C/S

    • Ahhhh, see. This is not bitching about someone who doesn’t think the way I do. That is what YOU are doing here. This is about calling out women who are unbelievably nasty to women who’ve had c-sections. That’s it. There is nothing demeaning about other birth choices at all.

  24. That particular discussion really hurt me because it sounds so similar to a friend of mine who ‘mourns’ MY birth experience, and still brings up things I should have tried in order to avoid the pre-e. After a lot of discussions we’ve reached an impasse but that discussion hit really close to home.

    It is MY birth experience, and my daughter’s. Not anyone else. Discussion about looking after oneself and BS like the Brewer diet and acupuncture and meditation are no excuse for attempting to own my experience in a really intrusive way. Not to mention bootstrapping to the nth degree. The whole ‘trust birth’ BS has a lot to answer for, since it presumes a level of preexisting health and wellness, a similar continuing level, and no complicating factors. My body is not trustworthy, it does stupid shit like get tumors and calcified bits and pain and screwy things like that.

    I understand that my friend is looking for a way to control her experience and by blaming me for the pre-e she allows herself to believe that if she just thinks right she will be okay. If she says the right magic words, she can wish the high blood pressure away.

  25. I would love to know how many of these ‘natural birth extremists’ have gone through difficulties and/or trauma in actually getting pregnant. I myself went through 3 years of undiagnosed illness, 4 years of fertility treatment and almost died from ovarian hyperstimulation in the process. I could not have cared any less about how my child was born, as long as she and I were safe, and I have absolutely no interest in going through labour and delivering vaginally, it literally does not register on my list of important life experiences I must have. Once I got pregnant I made an educated decision that I felt safest GIVING BIRTH via c section, my OB left the decision up to me, and I had a very similar experience to Heather-it was beautiful, intimate and utterly amazing. But even so, it didn’t define the type of mother I would be, I was responsible for that myself. The horrible women who were so condescending in those comments about c sections should be ashamed of themselves. They are either complete narcissists, or have such low self esteem they use the martyrdom of extreme birthing to validate themselves. Either way they are pathetic. Thank you for posting such a supportive and reassuring article for all those women who have GIVEN BIRTH this way, very well written, and very necessary.

    • Michelle, congratulations on your daughter’s birth after all that difficulty. 🙂 I went through 2 years of infertility, and it’s a difficult road to walk. I’m so happy it all worked out well for you in the end.

  26. Well, i guess your refusal to post my comment answers my question. Brave on your own blog, where you control your own world, too cowardly to actually stand up for your beliefs. Makes me question your beliefs to be honest. At least those on Joyous Birth seem to have the courage to voice their opinions. And while i have your attention, your post brings to mind those rants of one faith of another – closed minded and narrow. If i posted a similar blog, but changed birth to faith (ie christian/muslim) there would be outrage.

    Lets just hope that this hatred doesn’t come back on you threefold!

    Blessed be!

    From someone who could care less about how babies enter the world!

    • ahahahahaha, sorry to disappoint, but we don’t censor comments on this blog. We do, however, get a lot of spam. So comments from people who have not commented before are moderated. The people on Joyous Birth certainly have the courage to voice their own opinions, but they don’t have the courage to allow people who disagree with them on their forums.

      • It was very interesting that you didn’t post my comment until AFTER I posted this one. Even though all the posts I can see were up. Hmmm?

        Anyway, regardless, as I said, I really don’t care how people birth their children, I am not affliated with Joyous birth (only learnt about it today on your blog) I merely took offence to the tone of your post. You say you are simply responding, but I disagree. You have taken an extremely offensive FB post and linked it to a forum and run with it.

        Anyway, here’s hoping that you can see just how similar you two are. You are offended by them, I guess (reading that bit you posted) they are proberbly offended by you – so you two are the same.

        Interesting that.

        Blessed Be.

        • Are you really that dense? People make this accusation all the time, and we’ve never NOT posted a comment. I could have just not approved any negative comments and no one would know they were ever made. Like I explained, the posts you could see were people who have commented here before. I don’t sit around waiting for people to comment so I can approve them. I get to it when I can.

  27. Eh, 80% of the world is made up of assholes. I had three vaginal births and yet don’t feel superior to women who have had sections. Shocking, I know.

    You had a beautiful birth and that picture is precious. Screw the judgmental mommies and go on with your bad self.

    • Ah, yes. Making up something I never said and using it to attack me. I believe that’s what is called the straw man. I certainly don’t hate women who want to birth naturally! Most of my clients are indeed women who want a natural birth and I fully support them in that. The thing is, I support women in ALL kinds of birth, unlike many doulas, who refuse to support women who plan c-sections or epidurals.

      • Your post if filled with assumptions that are far from being positive. what would you call it then? I call it hate as you lump a group of women together and only pick out what you see as negative points.

    • Im on JB. I have had two c/s, both unplanned. I found JB when trying to work out why I was still feeling so down 6 months after my first child was born. It was the encouragement and support of JB that gave me strength to go and get some help for Post Natal Depression. I have never birth normally or at home yet this site never turned me away. I even met up with other members in real life and have made some great friends. I had my third child last year in a birthing center it was a VBA2C.

      Im sorry you got such bad comments about your child’s birth, I hope that when once you have let go of your anger a little you will see that some the strongest support a woman can have is from another woman. Your post does little to help bring ALL birthing women together regardless of experience. It seems to only flame the divisions that already exist.

  28. Just let me reiterate to all of you coming over from Joyous Birth (yes, a friend told me there was an 8 page thread over there about this! Thank you for all the hits!)…

    At the time these screencaps were taken, everything on Joyous Birth was public. Some links to some of your more egregious discussions were posted on the Skeptical OB last fall, and when you all realized that everyone could read how horrible you are to other women, Janet Fraser locked the place up.

    Not only that, but the names of your forums are still public, so we can all see how you really feel about c-sections.

  29. First, I LOVE this picture of you and your daughter! I always enjoy seeing pictures of moms with their new babes, and this perfectly captures the sweetness and love that you feel when you first meet your child.

    I find it amusing/sad that so many people come over here and claim that the comments that you are posting are not representative of the extremist NCB movement. THESE ARE ACTUAL COMMENTS THAT PEOPLE HAVE WRITTEN ABOUT C-SECTIONS!!! That’s proof that this attitude is relatively common among the fringe NCB circles.

    Those who are accusing the author of “violating trust” or being “unethical” for posting screencaps sound like embarassed whiners. Here’s a hint: if you’re not comfortable with being called out for what you say, maybe you shouldn’t be writing it on the internet. You all SHOULD be embarassed for writing crap like this.

    In closing, I’ll simply say this. C-sections are life-saving procedures for mothers and babies. Prior to the advent of modern obstetrics, 1 in 100 women died during childbirth, as did even more babies (I believe the number is around 30% of infants died before they were 3 months old). A c-section is only unnecessary in retrospect – the doctor needs to intervene BEFORE the baby is in serious trouble. A pink, screaming c-section baby could just as easily wind up a blue, brain-damaged or stillborn baby if the doctor waits to allow a vaginal delivery. It boils down to this: how long do you want your doctor or midwife to sit on a bad strip?

  30. FWIW, only an unethical doula would act like that. Cesarean births are wonderful, life-saving procedures. They do carry risks, but in most cases the benefits outweigh the risks. There are a whole host of physical and even emotional reasons why a woman would choose a Cesarean. That choice is between the woman and her healthcare provider. A doula should be there to support her in whatever kind of birth she has.

    • Agreed, Olivia. A doula should be there to support her in whatever kind of birth she has. And so should we all! That IS the point of Heather’s post.

      • Then why can’t I find a scheduled cs positive doula? All I find is doulas wanting to save me from a section, acting like I should be sad over the pending section, or telling me they are not comfortable with hospital births or scheduled sections.

        • Too bad you aren’t near me! I too support planned c-section moms! I think sometimes they need the *most* support to protect them from the backlash they so often get! I fully support and encourage VBAC moms and fully support and encourage planned primary or repeat sections. I have several clients right now. 2 primi’s, 1 primi with a scheduled c-s for a breech baby, 1 scheduled RCS, and 3 trying for VBACs. I support mamas no matter WHAT their choices are.

  31. Full disclosure – I am a Lamaze Certified Childbirth Educator and a Prenatal Yoga instructor. I am also a mom of 2: My 1st was born via C-section, my 2nd was an all natural, no drugs, minimal intervention VBAC. That said…

    I hear you that there are NCB extremists. It’s often what I call a “religious issue”. These are issues that for the believer, there is no other option, no other “right” answer.

    However, I’m disheartened to hear you lump all natural childbirth advocates into one extreme group. As a childbirth educator, and natural childbirth advocate I see both the extremist NCB women to which you refer, as well as the more flexible types of mothers, and I also see those who don’t know enough to know the real risks of c-section vs. vaginal birth. To your point on language – I use the term surgical birth to refer to c-section… or I just call it a c-section.

    In my classes (I am an independent instructor, not affiliated with any doctor or hospital) I teach a well rounded class. I offer my students the “buffet of birth options” – everything from non-pharmacological coping skills and pain relief techniques, to listing and explaining all of the medicinal options. I offer full information on how a c-section is done, how you as the mother can make it a better experience. How to talk to your doctor or midwife to ensure you come to a mutual agreement as to your best choices for you and your baby.

    For me, as an instructor, it’s about laying out the pros and cons of each option, and then giving my students the tools to make their own informed decisions. No one choice is right for every family.

    Please, when you talk about childbirth educators, do acknowledge that only some of us do a poor job. The rest of us really do want you to have a safe and healthy birth,and and experience you are happy with.

    Love and Light.

    • Deena, thank you. After reading all this you come across as the only person to raise the issue of spectrum, that there are those who are extreme at one end and those who are in the middle.

      Im a midwife and mum of 4 (all grown up). My husband and I spent time in the Congo where one of my babes was born and in Indonesia where 2 of my babes were born. In places like that women who I worked with were only lucky enough to birth in our clinics if they lived near by or could travel (often walking) to us. Most children were born at home amongst the day to day life and everyone got on with it. There were no internet groups or OB’s or hospitals. I remember one mother who laughed at me when I told her that I thought she should see a doctor. She said that she had had all her children at home and this one would be born there too otherwise there would be no one to look after the others.

      What Im try to say is that birth is a normal and healthy part of living in beyond the western world most women see it as such. I sometimes think that women in the west have gone of the track a bit. We talk about planning births and picking who will deliver our babe. We select hospitals based on location or religion. We are really very lucky to have so much choice. I think sometimes that young women today could do with understanding what it is like for their sisters in other parts of the world and just how hard it can be. You would find it a truly humbling experience.

      All women deserve respect and understanding regardless of how they have their babies.

    • Deena,

      As an educator, how do you present information to your class participants regarding when medical interventions are “truly necessary”? What are your qualifications for making and presenting those types of assessments?

  32. Oh – that picture! Squee! So beautiful.

    I looked like that the second go around with my planned repeat c-section. All smiles and happy good times. I may have looked like that the first time around had I not been laboring for hours upon hours upon hours and attempting to push a head (for hours) that would not budge through my pelvis. Damn that first c-section and its ability to end my misery and deliver me the child I so desperately wanted to meet.

    Wait, I mean, damn that medical procedure that was NOT BIRTH. Do you hear me? Not. Birth. I’m off to sneek into my sons’ rooms and stealthily kiss the foreheads of the survivors that may or may not be mine. I don’t know. I can’t tell. I struggle with this.

    Oh, pooh. If only I was in rural Asia or Africa. I could have had a beautiful, serene birth where my survivor’s head would have actually fit through my pelvis because it is just magical magic-ness there. Lucky, lucky ladies.

    • Wow Stephanie, are you saying that meeting your healthy child was your ultimate goal? Way to betray the rest of us womenfolk who see the bigger picture (days of pain and suffering in labour for all, live babies for most). I’m sorry you didn’t end up actually giving birth, and I hope your son can forgive you one day for having him extracted before he was ready to come earthside. Thanks for the tip about the ‘magic’ in rural Africa, I may birth there next time, at least they know how to trust birth.

  33. Heather, I wasn’t going to reply here, but it turns out I feel compelled to now.
    The comments you recieved on your facebook photo are absolutely disgusting, and I reading something like that after the c-section birth of my own baby, would have plunged me into the depths of despair. I am so sorry that people were nasty to you, and sorry for any other people that cast unwanted judgements over your birth experience.

    I am, however, a little shocked and saddened by the way you are approaching all of this. If you feel that your birthing choices, and are not being valued by members of society, by all means, write about it. Express yourself. Name and shame people who insult you with horrid facebook comments. But really, why do you feel the need to copy and paste, and then mock, a COMPLETELY unrelated post, from a supportive forum, by a woman who just expressing her own personal troubles at the time. That post had NOTHING to do with you, it was not nasty, nor was it a privacy breach. It was a heartfelt account of a woman worried for a dear friend, just asking for support and empathy at a difficult time. Posting under a user name and refuring to “my friend”, is not breeching anyone’s trust. It was not an attack on C-section mums. How on earth can you honestly think it is?!!

    If you want support for all mothers and their choices, don’t mock other women for expressing grief/concern/worry or any other emotions regarding their own births or the births of their friends. It is none of your business, and awful to attack kind compassionate women who have nothing to do with you. If you have been unfairly judged for your choices (and I’m sure you have at times) then take it up with the individuals, don’t attack a whole community.

    Your writing is irrational and completely defensive. You have replied to so many comments with the same old lines. It reeks of school yard bullying. Yes, I KNOW you have been hurt and unfairly judged in the past. Obviously. But NOT by the women you attacked for no reason. I think an apology is in order.

    This is what you said up there…… “Ahhhh, see. This is not bitching about someone who doesn’t think the way I do. That is what YOU are doing here. This is about calling out women who are unbelievably nasty to women who’ve had c-sections. That’s it. There is nothing demeaning about other birth choices at all.”

    “calling out women who have been unbelievably nasty to woman who’ve had c-sections!!!!????” Are you serious?! The post you copied was compassionate. It was motivated by a deep empathy. YOU are the one who searched it out, copied it, pasted it, made fun of it, ridiculed the woman who wrote it.

    There is something seriously wrong here if you don’t understand this.

    • Nastiness under the guise of compassion is still nastiness. Blaming her for not eating better and choosing the wrong doctor is not real compassion. Saying that c-section babies are sick and broken MERELY because of a c-section is not compassion.

    • “Your writing is irrational and completely defensive. You have replied to so many comments with the same old lines. It reeks of school yard bullying. Yes, I KNOW you have been hurt and unfairly judged in the past. Obviously. But NOT by the women you attacked for no reason. I think an apology is in order. ”

      I am completely confused by this accusation. How on earth is it “bullying” for Heather to repeat comments that someone made? If they’re so ashamed of their comments, maybe they shouldn’t have made them! If I tell you that a coworker told me I’m fat and ugly, does that make ME the bully for repeating it? No, I’m pretty sure that would still make my coworker that originally said the nasty stuff the bully. Same thing here. The bullies are the natural childbirth crazies; Heather’s just repeating what was said.

    • As someone who has had 3 c/s, let me assure you, I do not need nor want your “compassion” or pity. And if I found out a “friend” had posted something similar about any of my births, we’d be going toe to toe pretty quickly.

      Please, do explain what’s “compassionate” about stating you want to HIT SOMEONE because they didn’t eat the way you think they should have? What’s “compassionate” about claiming that children born by c-section merely “survive” their births and are irreparably damaged? Don’t kid yourself; there’s nothing compassionate about it. It’s a self-righteous, sanctimonious post from a nosy busy body with too much time on her hands.

  34. oh, thanks heather for editing my name, I aprieciated it. Could you please remove my second comment where my full name is used? I have never commented on a blog before.Obvously I have a lot to learn!

  35. Wow, and I thought I got grief just for having an epidural which meant, of course, I can’t be a “birth warrior” because I wasn’t trying hard enough.

    How about this – ALL MOTHERS ARE BIRTH WARRIORS. Including adoptive moms (I hear the adoption process is a BITCH).

    Screw this demand for our martyrdom in hours or days of pain and lack of proper medical attention in order to get any nod of approval from anyone. Pregnancy and birth can be difficult no matter how they are done and all moms deserve a little recognition, not just the ones who do it the way YOU think they ought to, NCB fanatics!

  36. Thanks for posting this Heather. I had an emergency CS due to pre-e at 36 weeks. I’m happy we are alive and healthy thanks to modern medicine. I will be having an RCS with my next child and don’t need a VBAC to prove I’m a woman.

  37. Pre-eclampsya is preventable. Women whine about all these horrible reasons why their c-section was “medically necessary” when 99% of the time, the diagnosis is something the mom could have prevented with something as simple as eating enough protein or regular exercise. Or not taking drug A, which led to event B, which the doctor gave you drug C, which affected the baby’s heart-rate, which *SURPRISE* “necessitated” the c-section. Wake up ladies, the insurance companies and medical industry are taking your body and birth for a ride!!!

    • Obviously, you have no medical education, as you can’t even spell pre-eclampsia. And then act as if you know a heck of a lot more about other women’s births than you do, and then you act like they should be justifying their c-sections to you, under your criteria. Who are you, again? A nobody? Uh-huh. You are obviously extremely ignorant, to the point that you don’t know what you don’t know, and extremely arrogant, to the point that you don’t think there’s anything else for you to know. Seriously, get over yourself and your judgey BS.

      And so you know, doctors don’t make more from a c-section birth than they do for a vaginal birth. So there goes that conspiracy theory. Also proves that you are not a doctor, since you didn’t know this, so that makes your assessment of a medical situation completely invalid. Uh huh. Dumbass.

    • Do you happen to have any peer reviewed sources for preventing pre-eclampsia?

      Because I would really like to see them.

      How about treating IUGR?

    • Yes please, uh huh, I’d like to have your educated medical opinion on how I could have prevented the fibroids that forced my baby into a transverse lie that necessitated a c-section? Or is that more of a “survival of the fittest/don’t dilute the gene pool” situation in your feeble mind?

    • Uh huh, you’re amazing! Thank you so much for pointing out that, in spite of eating meat at basically every meal and walking 30+ minutes every day, drinking boatloads of water, eliminating a heck of a lot of salt, I just didn’t do enough to prevent my pre-eclampsia! And thank you for knowing so much more about MY pregnancy and birth than myself. THANK YOU for knowing SO MUCH more than me without ever having met me or seen my medical records. You are so smart. You’re like a psychic!

      Also, from your comment, do you think all women who have pre-e have c-sections? Because it sure sounds like it. Color me surprised my baby came out vaginally. I guess I didn’t have pre-eclampsia after all! Again, THANK YOU for being so much smarter than me and my doctor!

  38. I also had a vaginal delivery and pre-eclampsia. They think my pre-eclampsia was caused by an autoimmune disorder. I guess more meat would have prevented that, although I couldn’t even keep water down for the first 4 months.

  39. Both my children were delivered by a drunk stork. To this day I am not confidant I have the right kids, given his level of inebriation, but I love my little guys anyway.

  40. I had to have my son c section. He was my first and only as of right now. They had to take him because I stopped dialating at 5 cm and his heart rate kept dropping. I was in labor for 22 hours and finally when I started getting a high fever and high blood pressure. They didnt find out he was breech until they got him out of me. They didnt let me hold him or see him until my fever dropped and he ended up having an infection due to staying inside me for so long after my water had broken. Although I did not have him natural as I had planned, when they pulled him out and i heard his little voice for the first time, it was the most BEAUTIFUL feeling I ever had in my life

  41. Not all NCB sites/curriculum malign C/S. One of the things I love about Birthing from Within childbirth classes – is the acknowledgement that C/S do occur. While most of the classes focus on pain management, and keeping the mother low risk to reduce the chance of C/S, BFW prepares mothers for the 1 in 3 chance of needing surgery. The majority of one of the classes is spent role playing C/S and how to remain “present” and connect to baby and partner during the process. BFW addresses the “birth of the mother” – facing her own fears and mortality during the pregnancy and/or birth (however it occurs) and encourages all mothers to claim the title “Birth Warrior.” C/S is not a cope out – it has it’s own risks, pain, and fears to be faced, just a vaginal births do.

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