Monday, October 22, 2012
I've seen this imaged shared on several birth blogs and facebook pages lately and it really, really bothers me. What good does this bring about? Does it bring about a lowering of the cesarean rate? Does it empower women? Does it bring about any form of positive change? Or does it do the opposite? Does it make women feel as if their surgery was unnecessary? Does it make women feel like they were taken advantage of? Does it make women feel like they have somehow failed? Does it do more good or more harm?
I can't seem to find anything positive in this image. Is our cesarean rate too high? Does 1 out of every 3 mothers truly need a cesarean? Most likely not, but is this really the best way to bring about awareness to this issue? Apart from the fact that it contains wrong information about the World Health Organization and their recommendations for cesarean rates, it's also insensitive. As a cesarean mom myself, I can see how this image would make many mothers feel a million different emotions - none of which are good. Do I feel guilty about my cesarean? Do I feel it was unnecessary? I used to..... I was induced due to a life-threatening complication called HELLP syndrome. I had extremely high blood pressure and my liver and kidneys started shutting down. My induction was very necessary. I was on magnesium sulfate to keep me from having seizures and mag sulfate is actually also used to stop preterm labor. Mixing mag sulfate and pitocin to induce labor sometimes is a recipe for disaster. Pitocin works to put the body in labor and the mag sulfate counteracts that. Unfortunately after a very long labor I was deemed failure to progress (probably because of the mag/pit issue) and my sweet girl was delivered VIA the sunroof. Was I bitter? Was I sad? Did I feel like my body had no clue what to do? Did I feel like I had failed? Yep, yep, yep, and a huge yep. Should I have felt that way? Absolutely not. I've since worked through so many emotions surround the birth of my daughter and now can look back and be thankful because it has taught me so much and led me to research, research, research. Would seeing this picture during that sensitive postpartum time have done anything but make me - or any post cesarean mom - feel even more upset about the entire situation? Without a doubt.
We can bring awareness to a steadily rising cesarean rate without tearing moms down and causing them to feel like failures. Let's work together, build each other up, and be encouraging. Let's go about this the right way.