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C-Section Stigma: Things People Have Actually Said To Cesarean Moms

"You didn't really give birth; you just had surgery."

Attitudes about childbearing and child-rearing practices evolve over time, shifting from generation to generation. But when it comes to the caesarean section, a surgical procedure that has been practiced for and improved over centuries, there is a social stigma that persists.

On social media, blogs and parenting forums, mothers share stories about the shaming they've experienced from fellow parents, family members, friends and even medical professionals, for giving birth via C-section.

This is despite the fact that C-sections can save a mother and/or her newborn's life when medically required due to conditions that make vaginal delivery risky. Some of these conditions include:

  • fetal distress
  • cord prolapse (when the umbilical cord passes through the cervix into the vagina before the baby)
  • failed labour induction
  • increased blood pressure (for mother or baby)
  • increased heart rate (for mother or baby)
  • and pregnancy complications, such as pre-eclampsia (when a pregnant woman develops high blood pressure and other worrisome symptoms, usually after 20 weeks of pregnancy)

C-section births are also not uncommon. In fact, they are on the rise globally, including in Canada. In 2013, about 27 per cent of births in Canada were by C-section, according to the Canadian Institute For Health Information.

But in 2016, we like to do things "naturally." You know, the way "things are supposed to be." So even when a C-section is medically necessary to save a mother or child, women still can't escape judgment and ignorance.

I put a call out to mothers who have undergone C-section births to share their experiences with C-section stigma. I was amazed to see the responses roll in. Here are just a few of those comments some mothers have had to endure:

Have you experienced C-section shaming? Share your own experiences in the comment section below.

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