Are C-Sections The Easy Way Out? The Blunt Truth About Surgical Birth

Are C-Sections The Easy Way Out? The Blunt Truth About Surgical Birth

If you spend enough time in parenting forums, you’ve seen the debates about c-sections versus “natural” or vaginal births.

Occasionally, you see pregnant mamas opting for an elective c-section to avoid labour.

Are C-Sections The Easy Way Out? The Blunt Truth About Surgical Birth

Other times you see insensitive remarks such as those claiming c-section mamas took the “easy way out” by avoiding labour.

The reality, as any c-section mama will tell you, a c-section isn’t a walk through the park. It isn’t an easy way to give birth, it’s major abdominal surgery.

It’s no surprise then, when Australian mother and blogger Olivia White bluntly shared about her c-sections on Instagram, it quickly went viral as fellow c-section mamas related to her experience.

“Like A Gutted Shark” – Why So Many C-Section Mamas Could Relate

Birth “wars” have been going on since the invention of parenting forums. Most mamas are respectful in sharing information, opinions, etc.

But everyone who has frequented parenting forums knows there are certain hot topics which surprisingly can get out of hand.

C-section versus vaginal birth frequently becomes a hot topic and one which can leave mamas with hurt feelings.

Olivia White bravely shared a post c-section selfie with a blunt description of what a c-section really entails. Anyone reading can easily see that it’s far from the easy way out.

White wrote:

“Look I know it might not be my best angle (or is it?) but who wouldn’t take selfies hours post-birth so they can see where they sliced you open and yanked out a whole person (if you couldn’t tell I still couldn’t see past my still inflated uterus).

This is what you really look like a few hours post c-section. To anyone who thinks it’s the easy way out, well try having a 6 inch gash in your abdomen like a gutted shark who had the body parts of the surfer it ate retrieved! That’s then sewn back together with fishing wire while it feels like your vital organs are trying to escape!

I mean sure, everything is [rainbows] and [lollipops] till the spinal wears off! After that it’s like you’ve been hit by a bus which then backed over you just to make sure it didn’t miss you the first time!

If you don’t time the Endone exactly before the previous lot wore off then you will most certainly know you are alive (while wishing you were dead) and worst of all you’ll feel as if you’ll spend your entire life wearing nanna knickers up around your waist because the thought of anything settling in the canyon between your gut and pubic region is the stuff nightmares are made of.”

White goes on to talk about the immediate and long-term effects of c-section births and how the scars continue to cause some trouble.

As we can see, a c-section certainly isn’t easy. She describes what c-section mamas go through while quickly answering to the unfounded idea that a c-section is easy.

Fellow c-section mamas quickly liked, shared and commented on her post which then went viral. Why? Because White put into words what many c-section mamas feel.

Why Would Anyone Think A C-Section Is Easy?

Labour is pretty aptly named, it’s work. Your uterus is contracting with enough intensity to dilate the cervix. Labour can last from just a couple hours to well over a day or two (and in some cases longer).

At first thought, it can sound easy to have a c-section. Get an epidural or spinal, spend an hour in prep and the operating theatre, and then head to recovery with your baby skin to skin. Surely that’s easier than hours of labour and pushing? Not exactly.

No matter how a mama gives birth, there’s work involved, there’s recovery involved, and then there’s taking care of a baby while healing from birth and pregnancy.

There’s really no “easy” way. Certainly, there’s a lot of benefit to normal physiological birth (unmedicated, vaginal, etc.) as it’s how our bodies are designed to give birth.

For a healthy mama and a healthy baby who aren’t experiencing any complications, a natural birth is likely to provide the safest birth with the smoothest recovery.

While labour often unfolds well without intervention, inevitably, there are times a baby must be born via c-section.

Whether a scheduled c-section, or a c-section after mama has laboured for a while, no c-section is a walk in the park. Even when surgery goes smoothly, not only is mama recovering from pregnancy (she just made a human, no small feat!), she’s now healing from a major surgery.

Is A C-Section Recovery Hard?

Pain, healing time, and overall experience will vary quite a bit woman to woman. However, even in the best of circumstances, every woman is recovering from major abdominal surgery.

Women recovering from a c-section are likely to:

  • Require prescription strength pain medication
  • Have discomfort with the first bowel movement, possibly first several
  • Have tenderness, pain, and irritation at the incision site
  • Experience extra fatigue as the body is healing from a major procedure
  • Have post-birth cramping which may feel more intense due to incisions (internal and external).

Every woman’s experience will vary, and the same woman may have a different experience with each c-section. Regardless of how a woman gives birth, it’s not possible for her to take the easy way out because one doesn’t exist.

All birth takes bravery, hard work and a willingness to be vulnerable. White went even further to put her experience on social media, risking critics, to help raise awareness about what a c-section birth is really like. Hopefully in sharing, she will help pregnant mamas to make informed decisions, and validate the not so easy experience fellow c-section mamas have had.

If you’re preparing for a c-section, be sure to read What To Expect After A C-Section to help you prepare for your big day.

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Maria Silver Pyanov is a mama of four energetic boys and one unique little girl. She is also a doula and childbirth educator. She's an advocate for birth options, and adequate prenatal care and support. She believes in the importance of rebuilding the village so no parent feels unsupported.

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