As educated as many of us (particularly we moms) imagine we are about the intricacies of childbirth, I’ll be the first to admit that the actual C-section play-by-play remains a bit of a mystery and a marvel to me. I know an incision is made, some organs are jostled, a baby is removed. After all, I didn’t have a C-section myself when I gave birth, and the folks I know who did were, you know, otherwise occupied and unable (slash terrified) to really watch the procedure happening in real time.
Well, get ready to watch the whole process — or rather, the closest thing to the actual process, minus the blood and other bodily fluids. Because Jessica So, MD, just performed a play dough C-section with surgical precision. Or rather, her 4-year-old son did (spoiler: the baby is a Spiderman stuffie). And the video has gone viral.
“I feel that children are able to understand much more than we give them credit for,” Dr. So told TODAY Parents of the procedure / game / learning process. “And you really don’t find out until you try… He’s always had so many questions about how the body works and it’s such a fun way for us to connect. Every day he asks if we can do a play dough surgery.”
But other parents on Twitter are a bit, shall we say, bothered by the video’s mishmash of scientific accuracy plus wild imagination. Yes, a C-section is done via an incision through the abdomen and the uterus; no, Spiderman and a balloon placenta do not come out, nor do you end scene with a gaping hole left in the abdomen.
As a child and adolescent psychiatrist, I strongly recommend you to not play a such game with your kids aged 2 to 12. It might traumatize your kid and may also lead children to do the same to their peers.
— Doç. Dr. Veysi Çeri (@VeysiCe) November 22, 2020
There is no way to repair this disembodied abdomen, which is part of a human woman. Too much emphasis on the baby. I don't find it cute, it's actually a bit frightening.
— Pippi 'mail-in paper ballot' Longstocking (@shannon_b) November 21, 2020
Plenty more Twitter viewers wrote that they found the video “disturbing” and “a good case for avoiding surgical birth and knife-happy OB.”
On the other hand, there were folks who emphasized that these “surgeries” are a recurring activity for Dr. So and her son, who clearly enjoys learning from the play dough mock-ups; he got to “perform” the C-section in particular for his 4th birthday, on the heels of a seemingly, um, successful play dough gallbladder surgery.
“I’ve received so many messages and comments from parents who have children that are interested in the human body,” So continued to TODAY. “They’re like, ‘Thank you for doing this. We’ve been watching together.’ I’m so glad I can help nurture that curiosity.”
Honestly, and this is coming from a mom (me) who just spent hours reading aloud from The Anatomy Coloring Book to my own 4-year-old as he asked questions about the endocrine system which I had absolutely no ability to answer myself, I hear that. Here’s to each parent assessing their own kids’ very unique interests, needs, and ability to sort out fact from fun. (The “fun” part here being the stuffed Spiderman baby, not necessarily the cut-up dough abdomen. Eesh.)
Plus, as one Twitter user pointed out, this play dough C-section belly ain’t got nothin’ on weird unrealistic C-section preggo Barbies circa 1990. Scary, right?
If anyone finds this inoffensive, this is the barbie my children played with. Now, that’s a big cesarean scar! I do wonder what they were thinking at the time? 🤔🧐😳😷😂 pic.twitter.com/VPytwjDUcW
— Nina Davis @ Australian Teacher & Manufacturer (@ninadavis) November 21, 2020
Childbirth is nothing like in the movies, as these beautiful photos show.