My plan to bring my daughter into the world was always a natural birth, but I had to undergo a cesarean section. It was something that, of course, I did not choose but that came from nature. I couldn't resist, for my daughter and for me, but a host of sensations invaded me. With my story she wants to help other women who, like me, they wanted a natural delivery and had a cesarean section. This was what I felt and what I want to share with you.
Throughout my pregnancy, I deeply desired to have a natural birth. It was something that seemed to me an almost necessary condition to close that wonderful cycle of pregnancy. I remember that when I spoke with other pregnant women who were afraid of the impending delivery, I always told them that for me it was something I wanted to experience. Pain? It didn't scare me, I thought: 'If millions of women have given birth over millions of years, why not me?'. I even remember that I dreamed of my delivery, a very calm and painless delivery ... Perhaps it was a premonitory dream, since the anesthesia from the cesarean section worked perfectly: nothing hurt!
Here in Mexico many women decide to schedule their delivery to have a cesarean section. For me, this was never an option, and from the beginning I told my gynecologist. I want natural childbirth. Much less did I consider having my daughter before she wanted to be born herself. From my point of view, natural childbirth was a way to ensure the well-being of my baby. And I keep thinking about it, because I didn't have a natural birth!
Preeclampsia came as a surprise to me. From one day to the next my pressure rose and my analytical levels began to skyrocket. I am not lying when I say that I thought I was not going to take it and that I only had in my mind that my baby was saved. In less than a week I was in the hospital, with the doctor telling me I was deteriorating too fast and that at that point she couldn't make sure that the baby was better inside than outside my womb (I was at the beginning of week 37). I didn't even have time to get used to the idea that my daughter would be delivered by cesarean section. They put me in the operating room, anesthetized me and operated on me. Indeed, nothing hurt (at least during labor).
Of course, at the time I didn't think twice and agreed to have a cesarean section. The survival instinct combined with the maternal one did not make me even blink. However, the bad came later, when my thoughts affected by the hormonal change and, I admit it, by my own prejudices, crossed uncontrollably in my mind.
I remember that the first few days I was not even able to say that I had had a delivery. 'Is a cesarean delivery a delivery?' I asked myself while I answered myself no. Obviously, with thoughts like that, I was on the verge of postpartum depression, but I just couldn't conceive of the way my daughter was born.
My birth plan had gone awry (to hell, they would say here in Mexico). At least I had skin to skin, which I was able to enjoy and experiment with with my daughter after giving birth. I think it was one of the most amazing and happy moments of my life. I can still close my eyes and feel my daughter close to my chest, and remember that feeling of relief knowing that she was alive and well, feeling so lucky to be able to meet her and have her close ...
Then came the recovery from the cesarean section. The pain, the cures and, what was the worst for me, I could hardly even move. Not being able to bend down to take my daughter from the crib, not being able to carry my daughter in my arms because she could not bear weight ... It was exasperating, since I felt that I could not do the role of mother, so my negativity towards cesarean section was on the rise.
Actually, it didn't make much sense to continue with those thoughts, because the cesarean section was not something I could have control over and it was the best decision that could be made at the time for the good of both of us. But rational thoughts didn't really work for me right now.
It wasn't until I talked to my cousin one day that I was able to change the chip. My cousin had undergone two cesarean sections and, given my complaints, she told me that she knew how I felt, but not to act hard, to let me take care of it, what would happen. After finishing the video call, I realized that all my thoughts were influenced by demands about my delivery that I had made on myself.
It would never occur to me to think that my cousin or the friends I have who have undergone a cesarean delivery would not have delivered. Nor would I think that a woman who has undergone surgery was a bad mother because in the first days of recovery she did not do 'everything' that a newly born woman is supposed to do. Why should I impose on myself such harmful thoughts for my happiness? Why was I drowning in a sea of social stigmas totally marked by the 'ought to be' of women?
I realized that my negativity was totally created by my fixed ideas about childbirth and that I was even being patriarchal and oppressive of myself. 'Enough!' I thought and added: 'I have every right to feel that I have given birth', 'I have every right to be helped in the care of my daughter and to feel that I am a good mother'. As if by magic my mind calmed down, and from that moment I decided that I would never feel like this again, and that when my daughter was older and asked me about her birth, I would proudly tell her how my birth was and how brave we were both. Because it really was, and because I deserved to feel good about myself, whatever my delivery was like.
I do not know if all pregnant women who go through a cesarean section, even if they want a delivery, have similar feelings. I suppose that every woman feels different, but for what it's worth to a woman who is going through this situation, it helped me a lot to express my feelings, talk to women who had undergone cesarean sections and, most importantly, open my mind to other equally valid possibilities of natural childbirth.
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