I had a c-section and I'm a real mom

Since getting pregnant, I joined way more online mommy groups than I probably should have and I’ve left a majority of them just as quickly. The ones I’m still in consist of three groups – those that provide interesting and scientific research; those that I’m a member of just because of sheer laziness to leave; and the very few that I’m completely in love with. Seriously, the moms and moms to be in that last subgroup are filled with some of the most amazing women I know. It really is a lifesaver knowing you are in a close group with people who are going through the same things as you. They are there when you have a question about bottle types, need some advice on poop color, amount, time-between, etc. (yes we talk about poop consistently), or when you just want to complain about the fact that your two week old will only stop crying if you are standing and swaying non-stop, even after five hours and when it’s 2 am and all you want to do is pee or just eat a banana. That’s when real bonding happens.

Anyway, recently a few of the moms-to-be in my groups have been opening up about being harassed about bullied about their birthing decisions – specifically, having a c-section. Once again, why do people feel the need to judge? And, more importantly, how do moms even have the energy. Right now, I’m bouncing a baby old on my left knee, petting a pup with my right foot, and attempting to drink my coffee before it gets cold (while blogging). And, if I had any more mental capacity, it would be used to figure out how to warm my coffee in a microwave so it tastes fresh and not like a layer of burnt espresso on top of day-old cold coffee. Seriously moms, how do you have the energy for anything else?

So, as someone who was berated before, during and following Abby’s delivery, I thought I’d share some insights about C-section judgments.

Here are a few things you may hear if you are scheduled for or had a C-section:

“You took the easy way out.”

Oh yes! Having a C-section is 100% the “easy way out.” Being numb from your neck down while someone slices through you is completely “easy.” Climbing out of a bed while your abs are still healing to feed your newborn is an incredibly easy way out.

“It’s unhealthy for the baby / You should know better.”

Yes, we were meant to birth children through our vaginas. I get that. But guess what – that doesn’t happen in every case. Apparently, in many cases, a c-section is necessary for a variety of factors (such as the baby being breech, low heart rate during delivery, etc.). And Abby was perfectly healthy at birth and is perfectly healthy now.

“You poor thing, forced to have a c-section.”

I want to set the record straight. I was not forced to have a c-section. I actually didn’t want one. I wanted to have Abby the “traditional” way, but that didn’t happy. And guess what, I tried very hard to push out my 9 pound + baby, but I couldn’t. And at the end, a c-section was the only way to get her out. So I made the decision to do what was best for her. No one forced me to do anything.

“You’re not a real mom if you don’t have your baby natural” (aka vaginally).

So what does that say about people who adopt? I guess they aren’t real parents. Nope. I guess being there for your child whenever they need, holding them when they are sick, and soothing them when they are sad does not make you a real parent unless you birthed that kiddo through your vagina.

This last comment actually is the worst one I heard. And it was the one that actually resulted in most of my tears leading up to Abby’s birth and even after. You see, when you have a c-section, you don’t get to hold your baby right away. Your arms are frozen to the operating table and your baby will be brought to you. If you deliver vaginally, and everything is on par with your child, he or she is typically handed to you or laid on your chest. In my case, John got to see Abby as they cleaned and checked her. I heard her crying from across the room but couldn’t see her. Finally, he brought her to my face and all I could do was turn my head. And then, she and John left as I was sewed back up. I didn’t get to hold my baby for more than an hour. And during that time on the table, hearing the surgeons laugh and nurses tell me how adorable my baby girl looked, “you aren’t a real mom” kept replaying in my head. And in recovery, I couldn’t move my arms for what seemed like an eternity. I kept hearing nurses and doctors tell me how beautiful my baby girl looked, but she wasn’t with me. I finally was reunited with Abby in my postpartum room – hours after her birth. While other moms may have held their baby moments after birth, attempted breastfeeding, and smiled at their newest treasure, I waited with those voices replaying in my head. You’re not a real mom.

When I finally got to hold her, I didn’t let her go for a solid two hours. I soaked in as much of her as I could in this moment I wanted. And in an instant, I remember she moved slightly in my arms, opened her eyes briefly, and I cried. That was the moment I knew I was a real mom.

So, to all of my fellow moms and moms to be – you are a real mom, no matter how your child comes into the world.

  • Real moms birth babies vaginally
  • Real moms have c-sections
  • Real moms adopt
  • Real moms are the moms who are there for their child for the rest of their lives
  • Judgmental moms are not worth your time!

Don’t let anyone ever tell you differently. And, for anyone who decides to share their “enlightened” look on the world in which you are not a real mom because of XYZ, you have my full permission to flood their inbox until it’s filled to capacity and no one can ever email them again with selfies of you with your baby. That is the sweetest revenge.