C-sections are often sold to newly pregnant moms as a scary package of goods that no one in their right mind would want to have. Whether the pressure is coming from not wanting to be a vaguely scary World Health Organization statistic or because your favorite mom’s group online speaks about the procedure in whispered, ominous tones, you learn pretty quickly that you don’t want one. The goal, as they say, is a vaginal birth.
Welp, sound the buzzer. That’s wrong. The goal is a healthy baby. A C-section is not ideal for a lot of reasons, including the fact that emergency ones can be pee-your-pants scary and no one loves the idea of babying an infant and an abdominal wound, but C-sections are not the devil incarnate. And when they’re done the “gentle” way, like the one this British mother had and shared, they can be downright amazing.
In the video, which was shared by the mother’s friend, the medical team present for what is called a “gentle Caesarean section” is filming the action so they can use it as a teaching tool for other doctors. There is light music playing. There are no drapes, and mom can be heard oohing and ahhing over her emerging baby, who she can clearly see.
In vaginal births, the passage through the birth canal is what clears a baby’s lungs, a concern in C-section procedures where Baby is making an exit by a different passageway. Toward the middle and end of the video, you’ll see the gentle C-section’s solution to that problem: “walking out.” The baby sort of wriggles himself through the incision to clear his own lungs. It’s very cool, but a little graphic, so if blood makes you squeamish, you may want to turn away. Otherwise, it’s pretty amazing.
More: Actually, you don’t have to give birth to be a mother
Sometimes, what gets overlooked in a C-section is what our bodies and our children’s bodies can do during the process. Because it’s surgical, and because there’s traditionally been a sense of removal, both through the use of drapes and because a lot of C-sections are relatively quick affairs, we’ve let ourselves believe that it doesn’t compare to the “realness” of a vaginal birth.
Clearly, nothing could be further from the truth.
C-sections do have the potential to make the women that give birth that way feel that they’ve lost a sense of autonomy. This video and others like it prove that it does not have to be that way. When we listen to women, and when we respect and empower their choices, births, no matter how they’re done, are less frightening affairs.
There are going to be C-sections and thank God for that. It’s popular right now to hate them and to throw up a sign of the cross and hiss when they’re mentioned, but before they could be done safely we lost lots of moms and babies. Our bodies don’t always do what we hope they will. It doesn’t make our bodies damaged or make us failures.
Gentle C-sections like the one in that video and others like it can eliminate one source of that niggling feeling of self-deprecation. When a doctor takes the time to treat the procedure — last-minute emergencies notwithstanding of course — as a birth and not an appendectomy, a mother can come away from it feeling that she had some control over what was happening to her and her baby.
And a happy (if sore) mother after childbirth? We can’t think of a better foundation on which to build a mother-child bond.
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