In January 2007, my first child, a son, was born by cesarean section after an unsuccessful induction.
My OBGYN told me I was "too small" to deliver vaginally, but after receiving my medical records and one HBAC (homebirth after cesarean) later, I know my cesarean was unnecessary.
I found the cesarean experience was not very mother and baby centered, and the birth of my son simply treated as a routine surgical procedure. We were separated for hours, which profoundly affected our breastfeeding relationship and initial bonding.
Everyone sees the immediate physical pain from a cesarean. A newly postpartum mother is prescribed pain medication, someone will offer to carry something heavy for her, do some chores for her, or help her in and out of bed. The doctor will have her watch for possible infection, she is told to take it easy, and in about 6 weeks she can once again resume sex and exercise.
Not many see or even acknowledge the emotional side to having a cesarean. They aren't aware of women having PTSD from the experience, depression, PPD, panic attacks, anxiety, the nightmares, the affect it can have on breastfeeding and early bonding, and her overall self esteem and self worth.
When a woman is upset about her birth experience, and tries to reach out to someone, it is usually met with,"All that matters is a healthy baby", or "It's not that bad". Just as positive cesarean experiences are embraced and validated, so should the negative experiences. Until someone has experienced an unwanted cesarean section, they never will fully understand, but it doesn't make her pain invalid. This has inspired me to create a place where mothers and fathers can vent, share poetry, artwork, cesarean and VBAC birth stories and anything else that helps them through those painful feelings.
A healthy baby is not all that matters. Mothers matter too.