Birthing Without Fear

Perspectives on Cesarean

Cesarean birth or c-section means different things to different people. For some it means controversy, loss, end of life, giving up and for others it means relief, life and medical blessing.

It seems as if this subject will remain controversial – but what´s the controversy all about?

Last week I had a conversation with a woman who just had her second baby. She had wished for a physiological/natural birth at a local hospital in Hamburg but when her contractions slowed down and then stopped completely, the Doctor decided to perfom an emergency c- section. She was very disappointed at first about not having had the birth that she envisioned. It was only when she learned that any strong contraction might have caused a complete uterine rupture (her uterus was already scarred from a rupture during her first birth) that her feelings shifted from being disappointed to being grateful to her baby. In a complete uterine rupture, the tear goes through all layers of the uterine wall and the consequences can be threatening for mother and baby. The woman now strongly believes that her baby, by not “persisting” in the continuation of labour, potentially saved both their lives.

Samantha Thurlby-Brooks, a doula and International Childbirth Educator uses the term ‘The Lion Effect’; to describe what happens when in times of stress or perceived stress a person will get themselves ready for danger to protect themselves or their young for survival.

In the example above, might the combination of the mum´s bodily wisdom and the unborn´s innate instinct have prevented extensive damage to the uterus with consecutive bleeding? We can´t know for sure but what matters is that the meaning that this woman now attaches to her birthing experience has changed. What I could observe when she shared here experience was a beautifully intense connection between her and her 7 day young baby.

A frequent response that people give upon hearing that a mother has had a C-section is: “At least your baby is healthy, that´s the only thing that matters…”

A mother’s birth experience is part of “what matters” – recognizing and truly connecting with this idea will help prevent or alleviate sadness and grief in many mothers who undergo an emergeny Cesarean section.

Article written by Jana Allmrodt