Throughout the Beckham series on Netflix, both Victoria and David Beckham speak about the highs and lows of their 24-year marriage – and while a lot of the focus has been on David’s life and footballing career, Victoria gave us a real insight into what it was like being Posh Spice at the time.
As we know, the media attention was intense. When David moved to LA Galaxy, the family had helicopters filming their drive from the airport to their new home – a level of fame that’s hard to imagine.
You might remember one particularly outrageous headline the tabloids used after the birth of the couple’s first child, which also pedalled an infuriating myth about caesarean sections.
“Too posh to push”
In the new documentary, Victoria spoke candidly about when she gave birth to her eldest son Brooklyn in 1999. At the time, the singer was told by doctors that it would be “unsafe” for her to give birth via labour and they performed a caesarean section on her, with husband David by her side.
Once some of the tabloids found out she’d undergone this procedure, they printed with the angle, “Too Posh To Push.”
The mum-of-four responded to the unfavourable headlines and said: “I wasn’t too posh to push, I was told it would not be safe for me to be put into labour.”
While this is the first noted use of the phrase “too posh to push”, the press would go on to use it for years to come with a study in 2013 concluding that, “press handling of the topic has continued to contribute to the impression that caesarean purely for maternal request is common. The association with celebrity continues to fuel press interest in the topic.”
What caesarean sections actually are
Some women might choose to have a planned C-section, while others will need an emergency C-section if medical experts deem it’s the safest way to deliver their baby.
Either way, the idea of being “too posh to push” is seriously confusing when you consider what actually happens during the surgery. Yes, surgery.
Major surgery, actually, which runs the risk of infections, blood loss, organ injury and blood clots – just to name a few.
According to charity Tommy’s, about one in four women who give birth in the UK have a C-section, and most of these are unplanned.
For those who do choose to have a C-section ahead of time – perhaps because of previous birth trauma or severe anxiety around childbirth – there can still be some pushback from medical professionals.
This is despite guidance from the National Institute for Healthcare Excellence (NICE) saying that if, after an informed discussion about the options for birth, the woman or pregnant person requests a caesarean birth, their choice should be supported and a C-section should be offered.
According to the NHS, during the procedure, a 10-20cm cut is made in both the stomach and womb, often below the bikini line but sometimes a vertical cut below the belly button may be made.
The baby is then delivered through this opening which can take 5-10 minutes and can create a tugging sensation.
During recovery, a catheter remains in the bladder for at least 12 hours. Once home, new parents can carry their baby and move around (if they feel able to) but can’t exercise, carry anything heavier than their child, drive or have sex. The recovery period can take up to six weeks – possibly longer.
C-sections remain controversial, Yahoo Life reports, as rates have been rising in the UK – yet, up until recently, midwives and hospitals encouraged natural childbirth over medical interventions.
On top of this, The World Health Organisation suggested in 2021 that high rates of C-sections could put women and babies at risk of short- and long-term health issues if there’s no medical need.
It’s a big deal to have a C-section (as this obstetrician’s detailed breakdown of the surgery shows) – and one many pregnant parents don’t take lightly.
When you consider all of this, it’s not exactly the easy option, is it?
The reasons that people do have caesarean sections are varied and personal but one thing is true for all of them: it’s never the easy way out. There’s no easy way to give birth.