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Wendy Wason

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To C or not to C

Posted: 02/11/11 00:00

This week the NHS has decided that if you want a C-Section you can have one. There have been a variety of responses to this. The first article I came across on the internet was in the Daily Mail - I know I should know better but I got sucked in. The headline mentioned the "Madness of a Caesarean Section on demand". The article then went on to mention that the "too posh to push brigade" had won. Won? My blood started to simmer. I am getting a bit sick of these natural-birth Nazis.

The NHS has re-evaluated their stance on C-sections. These are on the increase in both the UK and the rest of the world. I refuse to believe it's because all because us C-section gals think it's an "easy option" or the "vanity choice". How on earth could anyone think that slicing through the stomach and layers of muscle beneath as an easy option?

The NHS was created in 1948. As science advances, surely our attitudes should too. We are having bigger babies now. Our nutrition and knowledge of it is far superior to what it was in 1948. We don't breed with people from the same village anymore, we breed with people from different countries and continents so it is perfectly acceptable to assume that our babies will be much larger (and healthier) than those we might have had in years gone by. Whilst pregnancy and birth is not an illness, medical intervention may be necessary more now than it ever has been.

What really winds me up is the smugness of mothers who give birth naturally and seem to think if you have had a C-section you somehow opted out. It's not the case. I don't believe anyone would rather have an extra five days in hospital and be sliced open and that's not even factoring in the extended recovery time.

As a mother I know how difficult everything is. If we begin with conception and end when the baby is - say five - there can be a struggle at every single step. Conception, pregnancy and birth, breast-feeding, weaning and potty-training - none of it is easy. It is hard and we agonise and worry. We do our best. Mothers give each other the hardest time and we should really be more supportive.

I asked a friend with a 10-year-old if she had breast-fed him as a baby and she came out with a list of excuses and apologies as to why she couldn't breast-feed. Jeez! Come on. Your child is a perfectly healthy 10-year old. Why do we feel this awful guilt? Mothers whose kids won't eat vegetables are judged and then we get the supermodel Gisele saying: "My kid thinks broccoli is a dessert". Oh please do go and boil your empty head. You are not helping Gisele.

Reading articles about how terrible C-sections are for the welfare of children make me so sad. After I had my daughter - by emergency section - I read a piece about how more criminals were born by Caesarean and I sobbed my heart out.

It has also been claimed that mothers who give birth by C-section find it more difficult to bond with their babies. I have three kids, all born by C-section and I have bonded with them all. I adore them and did from the moment we met. I think it's about time our attitudes fell in line with the medical profession.

The NHS has accepted that it needs to give mothers a choice of birth options and a natural birth may not be the best one. If nature is so important to the natural-birth Nazis, what is their stance on IVF? If they are so obsessed about doing things the natural way, is this going to come into play as an argument? I believe every woman has the right to become a mother, however she needs to do that. An IVF baby doesn't make you any less of a mother and I'd like to think a C-section doesn't make you a bad one.

And please don't quote Macbeth at me in this argument. My children were not "untimely ripped", they were born. A play written in 1606 holds no place in an argument about what is preferential to the survival of a mother and a baby in 2011.

I'm delighted that we have birth options and that the NHS are moving with the times. I hope this change in their attitudes will pave the way for mothers to be less judgemental on exactly how their babies entered the world. Surely what we are all aiming for is a healthy mother and a healthy baby? Who am I to tell you what is best for you? Do what you have to do. I'm not judging and neither will your baby.

 

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