‘To Push or Not To Push’, That is the Question?

“He bought her this expensive ‘push present’, but she didn’t even push?…”

That moment when someone speaks and you want to reply with a really well thought out, unaggressive, yet totally offensive response, but instead you fall silent. I blame the hormones (always the culprit) and my confidence that seemed to dwindle rapidly after giving birth for not speaking up and defending my fellow c-section Mamas.

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I’m Fay, by the way (the Fay-part of FayAndrea) and have decided to sporadically share my thoughts, alongside the stories of our pictures and fabulous clients, on life’s most amazing, yet challenging journey; Motherhood. 

I officially became a Mummy to Havana Maggie on November 20th 2015 at 10am. I realised almost instantly after announcing my pregnancy that despite creating this life with my Husband, and growing my baby single-handedly, our unborn child was quickly becoming the business of all in sundry. Infact, I have never felt as judged as I have since becoming a Mum. At moments I’ve had to remind myself that my womb and anything I grow within it are my property and therefore the opinions of others are irrelevant.

‘That’ comment about the push present got to me though. It was clear in this woman’s eyes (also a Mum) that women who have sections do not deserve to be rewarded the same as Mums who give birth naturally. My response now (fuelled with hormones [told you they’re always the culprit] from pregnancy number two) is simple, the fact a woman has created another human being should be the part we honour and respect her for. Universally all women fulfil the same task by dedicating nine months of their bodies to ensure another can grow as healthily as possible within her. She is then expected to instantly know how to deal with this totally dependent mini human the moment s/he is born regardless of how tired or uncomfortable she may be feeling. 

As I have stressed on the Real Mama Talk page, everything written in these posts is merely opinion created to help, not hinder, fellow Mothers. I have no medical knowledge, nor do I have any intentions of sharing negative stories to hinder women’s perceptions of Motherhood and birth. 

With regards to C-sections, it is noted they are considered major surgery with some countries keeping Mothers in hospital for seven days post-op to recuperate. For me, I was home within two days. What I have realised through talking to other c-section Mums- both emergency and elective- is our recovery times all vary. Some Mums will claim to have had slight discomfort post-op, whereas others say they struggled for weeks after. This in itself suggests it’s wise to just wait and see how things work out for you, that way you will not fear the worst or alternatively, have a romantic vision and feel let down. This said, perhaps bear in mind the general consensus that elective sections are far more preferable to recover from mentally and physically than emergencies for the obvious reason that an elective is pre-planned, and therefore more relaxed, whereas emergency sections are what they say, ’emergencies’, and so parents appear to find the experience more traumatic, and women more uncomfortable post-op as they have already attempted natural birth. 

Several factors inspired my decision to have an elective section with Havana and I’m pleased I made the decision I did. Women have asked me if I feel like I’m missed out by not giving birth naturally and my honest answer is, ‘no’, although I do wonder what it would be like. Part of me would love to give birth naturally and go home within six hours with my milk in, and not a stitch in sight, but I’m also aware there could be another scenario which isn’t quite as straight forward. I guess I’ll never know. Weighing up the pros and cons again, I have decided to opt for another elective. I am not nervous about the operation, just the recovery time as I will have a newborn and a toddler to take care of, but I’m fortunate to have a great support network who I know will help me in those pivotal first few weeks. I do advise any Mums pending sections to ensure they have support too, as it will aid your recovery. 

With regards to pre-section advice, I was given a lot of information by two consultants and a birth specialist prior to the operation, and cannot fault the service provided. I can also say, I was given a lot of ill-informed ‘advice’ from women who hadn’t had sections but shared their thoughts anyway. Perhaps that’s flippant of me to say actually- maybe some of their info is true- but just for the record to concerned pending Mums, I did not have any problems bonding with my baby post-op like some suggest, infact the second a screaming Havana was brought over and placed next to me, she instantly stopped crying. I was then breast feeding her ten minutes later. We went on to co-sleep for her first ten days (I appreciate co-sleeping is not encouraged) and we are inseparable now. Although my milk came in as planned, I eventually had to throw the towel in on breast-feeding after one month’s perseverance because between us it just didn’t work- but that’s for another blog. 

For women out there pending their first sections and wondering about my recovery, I was out of bed within 24 hours. By the end of my first week I was out and about, and managing jobs around the house, then by the end of my second I was with the family carrying Havana in her sling at a village festival. This isn’t to guarantee you will be the same, but it’s just an example. My advice would be to keep moving, even though rest is obviously crucial for your recovery. 

Going full circle on this topic, I’ve researched and noted many articles regarding c-section Mums who have felt like failures post-birth, mainly because of how another woman has made them feel. It upsets me, not just to think of a woman feeling like she has failed, but moreover that another woman who should be supportive, would encourage another Mum to feel this way. My hope is from reading this blog women will be reminded that our bodies and children are individual to us, and our decisions should not be tackled, unless by professionals, who of course may have good reason to question otherwise. Likewise, it is really important to remember how personal pregnancy and childbirth is, and therefore we should be mindful of questioning women on their motives for delivery choices. Perhaps there may be reasons they are not comfortable with sharing.

So Mamas, just do you and your thing. Remember no-one has any right to undermine your decisions as a parent or make you feel anything less than the hero you are for creating another human being x

© WORDS BY FAY L. HILL

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