You join a special club of mamas when you have a C-section — women who've walked for the first time in the same postsurgery pain, who know how endless recovery can feel, and who understand exactly what your body has been through. Most women don't want to be in the club, but once you're in, you feel an immediate bond with the other members.
And it's not just the physical struggles that they can relate to; it's the emotional ones, too: the potential sadness of missing out on the birth you'd hoped for, the nerves of going through a major operation, the frustration of not being as present or able during recovery as you'd like. And sure, the stigma, while maybe less than it once was, is still there. So C-section moms have to stick together, share their stories, reveal their recovery secrets, and support each other — just like all mamas should during the exciting and intimidating transition that is bringing a human being into the world.
Moms need advice, guidance, and support every step of the way, and after having three C-section births myself, I've gotten my fair share of all that "wisdom." Some was learned the hard way, some was discovered after my second and even third surgeries, and some is just plain practical. Plus, there's nothing like being done having babies to give you a clearer perspective on the whole birthing process. Here's what I've learned.
- You are just as much of a woman and mother if your baby is pulled out of your stomach as you are if it was pushed from your vagina. End of story.
- You'll be just as connected and bonded to your baby as you would with any other type of birth.
- You can still have a joyful birth experience.
- You'll by amazed by the speed with which your body heals.
- You'll be so over the recovery process after two weeks.
- Pain meds are your best friend. Your baby will be fine.
- Those belly binder wraps are lifesavers. Ask for one while you're still in the hospital.
- You'll want to curse the nurse who makes you get out of bed and walk hours after surgery, but listen to them anyway.
- Bumps on the ride home from the hospital are your worst enemy.
- Even though you can't have your mom or sister in the delivery room, there are sweet nurses who will take pictures of the big moment for you.
- There's nothing wrong with going into surgery with your hair done and makeup on. In fact, I'd highly encourage it.
- The anesthesiologist is an angel. Fingers crossed you get a good one (and that they let you pick the playlist).
- It's true what they say about C-section babies having perfect little round heads.
- You can't have too many pairs of high-waisted, seamless underwear. Or pants with smooth, stretchy waistbands.
- It's possible to feel indifferent about the way your baby will enter the world while also feeling a little sad or frustrated.
- Waiting weeks to drive again is a little like being held hostage.
- Letting go and letting others help you is the best way to have a smooth recovery.
- Never turn down a meal delivery. Actually, don't let anyone visit who isn't bringing something edible.
- Friends who physically pick up your older kid(s) without being asked when you can't will have a special place in your heart.
- Having a basket of necessities by your bedside when you get home is a must.
- It's not worth rushing to get back into things before your body is ready — you'll pay for it later.
- When people say they're sorry you had a C-section, they usually just feel bad you had to have surgery (which is never fun), so don't take it too personally.
- You'll feel an immediate pull when you hear about a friend or acquaintance having a C-section. Reach out to them.
- Your scar will fade over time, but you'll probably always be searching for the perfect bikini bottoms to cover it.