Pregnancy Problems: Birth Blaming and Shaming

 

C-section shaming. I can’t believe it’s really a thing. But I experienced it — from my childbirth education teacher.

I was excited and terrified about having a baby — not motherhood, but actually delivering a baby — and I was thrilled to learn a nearby women’s center offered free childbirth education classes.

The problem with “free” is that you sometimes get what you pay for.   

In the beginning, the classes were great. We covered the stages of labor, ways to cope with the pain, the right and wrong ways to push. Then I learned my daughter was breech and that I’d probably need to have a cesarean.

We had a problem. “We” being my teacher.

I shared my news with the class, and my teacher was less than supportive. Having a C-section was unnecessary, she said, and “agreeing” to one meant I was OK with taking the “easy” way out.

Hmm … OK.

She suggested I try pelvic tilts to get Baby Bird to turn. I did. No movement.

An ice pack at the top of my uterus. Done. Nothing.

Music and heat near my pelvic bone. Nada.

Even after I had an External Cephalic Version — a mildly painful procedure to turn a breech baby — she suggested I wasn’t doing enough to avoid a cesarean. I was pissed.

Who shames a woman for the way she has her child? Why did I need to justify how MY BABY would come out of MY BODY?

And why was I letting her get to me?

The final insult was the letter she sent me after I had my daughter. It was a handwritten note and an infographic from 1987 (yes, 1987) detailing things I COULD HAVE done to avoid the C-section.

was ready to drive to the women’s center and cuss her out, but the C-section discomfort put the kibosh on that. So I wrote her a letter. I never mailed it because she wasn’t worth the stamp, but I’ll share it with you. 

“Dear ******,

 I want to commend you for trying to guide young women on their journey to motherhood. From what I understand, you’ve been teaching free childbirth classes for years, and there’s a lot to be said for that. But I wouldn’t recommend your class to anyone. Ever.

You made it seem like I wouldn’t really be giving birth if I had a cesarean. You made it seem like I was weak for needing to have a cesarean. You implied that I would be failing myself and my child by having a cesarean.  

The only failure in this situation is you. You failed me as a teacher, and you failed every other woman in your class by being closed-minded and lacking empathy.

No woman should be shamed for how she has her child — even if she CHOOSES not to deliver vaginally. It’s sad that I’d even have to tell you that.

There was more I wanted to say, but writing this is taking time away from my beautiful, C-section-delivered daughter, and you’re not worth that.

Please don’t ever contact me again. Rest assured, I won’t reach out to you.”

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