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Thursday, January 8, 2015

The Shaming of Mothers

More and more evidence is coming out about the dangers of cesarean section. Every time I scroll through my birthy friends' Facebook posts, I see another mega-study that confirms what we knew all along: c-sections are dangerous. Of course, this surgery can and does save lives. But it cannot be true that over one quarter of our childbearing population can't deliver vaginally. 

I believe that for a well-fed, healthy population such as ours in the industrialized worlds, the necessary c-section rate should hover around 5%. Do the math: this means that at least one in five women are suffering unnecessary surgery. This surgery sets the tone for a woman's mothering - it isn't always a traumatic event, but it definitely is a physical handicap and a hurdle that many mothers would rather not have to face. 

I don't want to write about the reasons for these unnecessary trips to the operating theatre; the reasons are varied and complicated. I DO want to talk about how we are making women feel when we constantly post about the dangers, risks, and unredeemable damage caused by cesarean section.

Giant study links C-sections with chronic disorders 

Let's shout it out and make women feel really bad about how they birthed their babies. Let's make them feel even worse about an unexpected c-section than they already do. While we're at it, let's talk about how to have a VBAC: all you need is perseverance, inner peace, and you have to be in tune with your body. Right?

Women are having c-sections they don't want. Women are going to the hospital, sometimes with a doula and sometimes (usually) not, and they find at a certain point in their labor that they are not performing well enough, and they are scooted down to the OR. Most women do not want surgery. Most women want a vaginal birth. Many women want to have a vaginal birth even after a c-section. Just one VBAC support group on Facebook has 8,796 members. 

I am asking all of you to spread the word to not spread the word about how damaging c-sections are. Women who have had an unwanted cesarean birth KNOW that they are damaging. Let's try a little tenderness and spread the word instead about loving the mother, home birth, undisturbed birth, midwifery care, all the good things....

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