Coming To Terms With A Cesarean Birth
If you've had a cesarean, whether you're still in the hospital, or have returned home, you're likely to feel a great many mixed emotions in relation to your surgical birth experience. Most women are disappointed to learn that they will have to undergo a cesarean section and express a strong desire to experience a normal vaginal birth.
If you had a strong desire to have a vaginal birth, you may feel a sense of loss. There were likely good, valid medical issues that dictated the necessity for your cesarean birth. Nevertheless, you may still feel at fault.
Perhaps you feel you should have made lifestyle changes during the pregnancy. You feel you should have exercised more, or changed your diet to a more nutritious one. Maybe you feel that you gained too much weight. These ideas are behind the guilt feelings.
But there's anger, too. You are angry at yourself, your doctor, and your partner. Maybe you're angry at circumstances.
All of these feelings are normal and par for the course. This is a grieving process for the loss of the birth experience of which you feel robbed. It takes time to work through and process all of these feelings. Give yourself a few months to mourn.
If a few months have come and gone and you're still a raging turmoil of emotions, it's time to seek help. Start by speaking to your childbirth educator. She will know of good sources for the kind of help you need.
There are cesarean support groups and post-cesarean birth classes where you can meet other women who went through the same experience. This can go a long way toward easing your emotional pain. You might check in with the hospital where you had your cesarean and ask if they have a community education department. They may know about parenting groups in your locale that offer a venue for discussion. Or perhaps you'd just prefer some one on one counseling with a therapist. Ask your physician for a referral.
Sometimes it helps to put a positive spin on things and repeat that spin to yourself, whenever you feel emotional. You did the best thing possible for you and your baby. This was a healthy choice for all involved. You can be proud that you made the right decision at the right time. You have coped with the situation as best you could.
Then dig down deep for those celebratory feelings: you brought new life into the world and gave your baby the beginning of a most wonderful life!
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