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“A C-Section was the Easy Way Out, Why Shouldn’t it be?”

Writing by Freya Bennett

Before I had my first daughter, I was quite the preacher, proselytising the virtues of natural childbirth and waxing poetic about the sanctity of the vagina as the gateway to the world (always a riot when someone who hasn’t experienced childbirth decides to share their two cents).

But after a failed attempt at a home birth, 40 hours of labour and two hours of pushing, I was taken, screaming my voice hoarse because my epidural had clocked out, for an emergency c-section.

Before I continue with my gratitude for the c-section, I want to acknowledge that while my attempt at a home birth failed, I am still a huge advocate for it. Every woman should be empowered to birth the way she wants, and I would’ve loved to gracefully pop out my little one in the serene tranquillity of home, but alas, that wasn’t on the cards for me. Regardless of my journey, I will joyfully cheerlead your right to a homebirth and relish all the details.

So last year when I was pregnant with my second daughter, I had the option of trying for a VBAC (Vaginal Birth After C-section) or choosing the sunroof option of a planned c-section.

I opted for the slice and dice again. Shuck me like an oyster. Fortunately, I had the luxury of making that call without medical staff trying to strong-arm me one way or the other, which I found particularly refreshing considering the numerous tales of coercion that often circulate around birth stories.

And while I do mourn the missed opportunity of a vaginal birth, I felt empowered in my choice of the express lane after the odyssey of my first delivery. And why shouldn’t women be able to choose the easy option? Whether it’s because of a previous birth experience, or we’re terrified of pain or we’re just control freaks who want to pencil in the exact birthdate, expecting mothers to be martyrs during childbirth is downright bonkers.

Just weeks before my scheduled C-section, the eccentric owner of our local pool, bless his aquatic-loving heart, couldn’t resist poking his nose into my birth plan. “Can’t you just push her out?” he quizzically asked after I told him my plans. Ah, the innocence of the uninitiated! Instead of feeling irked, I found myself amused at the déjà vu of my former self in this impudent old chap. I explained that I was happy to be gutted and peacefully waddled away.

Likewise, just as I advocate for home-birth empowerment, I’m irked when folks give planned C-sections the side-eye as the “easy way out.” For me, it was the easy way out, and why is that so wrong? Often, the knee-jerk response to people’s judgment of c-sections being the “easy way out” is to counter with statements like “it’s not easy, it’s major abdominal surgery,” and while that’s undeniably true, I can confidently say that my planned c-section felt like a day at the spa compared to the battleground of labour pains. And I have no guilt about it. Do I have sadness about not having experienced the miracle of childbirth? Yes and that’s okay too.

Yes, I did opt for the smoother path and I was lucky that my recovery for both c-sections have been easy (not that I have much to compare it to). It rankles me that women have to justify their choices by disclosing the suffering involved in order to have their decisions respected. Why do we have to suffer to bring our children into the world? Why is the expectation that women run a marathon when there is a comfy train to the same destination? Of course, this is not to discount the profound sense of satisfaction that comes with childbirth, especially when it involves emerging from the vagine. Women’s bodies are nothing short of incredible, and there’s no denying the sheer strength we possess. My 40 hours of labour were certainly sufficient for me to feel like I’ve truly experienced childbirth even if I couldn’t manage to get a watermelon sized baby out of my fanny.

In the grand saga of motherhood, whether you’re taking the scenic route through natural birth or cruising down the express lane of a planned c-section, it’s all about arriving at the same destination: baby in arms, sanity possibly intact.

Freya Bennett

Freya Bennett is the Co-Founder and Director of Ramona Magazine. She is a writer and editor from Dja Dja Wurrung Country who loves grey days, libraries and dandelion tea. You can follow her on Instagram @freya___bennett

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