A few weeks ago, there was an online campaign by some women who believe that a woman that gives birth vaginally is superior to the one who gives birth via Caesarian Section (CS). I was appalled to read the campaign message which went somewhat like this “Do not compare yourself to a woman who went past the heights of pain to birth a child, you who just lie there and had your baby pulled out for you” (paraphrased). I was even more appalled that it was women leading this campaign, and being so insensitive. You know, men say we women are our own enemies? I couldn’t understand the rationale behind such a campaign. I couldn’t understand it because a CS is a major surgery and should not be referred to as ‘lying there’. Most women who undergo CS take weeks to heal, and often suffer severe after-surgery pain. I was defending the women who were victimized by this campaign when a finger came pointing back at me.
You see, ever since I gave birth, I have been chanting that I would not undergo vaginal delivery again. DH is yet to buy the idea but I am mentally getting ready for an elective CS (whereby the pregnant woman opts to have a C-Section before she goes into labour, for non-medical reasons). I have about three or four reasons that I use for my pitch, but the highest ranking is that, I am not ready to go through such pain again! My childbirth experience was not funny because I was induced at 5cm and I can categorically say that I went to hell, purgatory, heaven, hell again, purgatory again and back to earth that day. No sireee, I would not undertake such a journey again…except God wills it sha. I kept on wondering how my Grandmother gave birth to eight children! Right there in the delivery room, I was begging them to wheel me to the theatre for a C-section but them no gree.
Back track to a few weeks earlier when I went in for my pelvic examination, and the doctor said my pelvis was border-line small. That meant, it was not large enough for them not to worry, but it was also not small enough for them to give a C-section verdict. “Doctor, borderline what?” I queried. The kind doctor explained again what he meant and told me, I might give birth vaginally or via a Caesarian Section, and they were going to prepare the theatre for me once I enter into labour. On the drive home, I called my Mother, and told her to book Mass oh! I didn’t want to give birth via CS. I have never undergone any surgery in my life, so my fear was legit. I prayed and confessed positively, and proclaimed and believed that I was going to give birth vaginally, and I did.
Since I gave birth, three of my friends have put to bed via C-Sections, for one reason or the other. Chidinma’s baby was too big, weighing a massive 4.8kg so she couldn’t take the risk, Tolani and Gena’s babies were both in breech positions, and the doctors’ efforts to turn the babies failed, so they had to go in for the surgery. For all three births, I was in the hospital before, during and after the surgery, and I came to the conclusion that the grass is pretty much the same on both sides. Both are painful…massively painful, the only difference is that, for one, you get the pain before the baby, and the other, you get the pain after having the baby. However, I am of the opinion that, if it’s a good hospital and the mother’s health is stable, a CS is the safest way to give birth. The rate of maternal and child morbidity in Africa is still high and that is probably because of our aversion to CS. You hardly see an African that opts for a C-Section; something must force us into the theatre. We believe that if we don’t push, we haven’t earned the trophy of motherhood.
But I beg to differ. First, birthing a child is a cumulation of several events. I do not think that a mother should be robbed of her crown because she went through surgery. Life grew in her, her uterus expanded to 50 times its normal size. She had many sleepless nights; turning and tossing as the little one played basketball inside her belly. She had to deal with swollen feet, backaches, sore legs and painful nipples. She even has to heal for about six to eight weeks and she is not allowed to hit the gym immediately; she must take things slow, unlike the one who gave birth vaginally who can start shedding weight almost instantly. She has a new baby (or babies) to attend to, and she still has to nurse herself as well, plus Darling Hubby that must not be neglected.
I am not saying everyone should opt for CS, but can we at least not treat it like its a sin? Do you know some women give birth via CS and hide that fact from people, just because they do not want to get mocked? There are also incidences when you hear someone say ‘so and so has put to bed’ and just as the shouts of excitement and congratulations ring in the air, the messenger interjects “But it was through CS oh” and then former well-wishers say “Eiya, what happened? It is well, Maybe that’s how God wants it”. People perish for lack of knowledge. Many stillbirths that arise from the baby suffocating during the long hours of labour would have been avoided if the baby was simply pulled out. Understand that, this ‘pulling out’ thing favors the child, not the mother. Many babies get distressed during natural birth, but hardly so if it is C-Section. The mother, however, has a lot of pain to deal with, and would probably not be able to feel the initial joy of motherhood because of the severe pain she is in.
Bottomline – every mother deserves her trophy – CS or not!
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