Stop! Don’t share that caesarean video!
Seen a caesarean video lately? A “Natural Caesarean” video? Stop The Press!!! Do you have a friend who’s had a caesarean? Do you want to help your friend? Don’t share the caesarean video with them. They might not want to see it. They might really really NOT want to see it.
Being awake when you have major surgery – and make no mistake about it, caesareans are major surgery – can be incredibly traumatic. A bit like going to the dentist, but scarier. What led to the caesarean may have been traumatic, violating, or scary, and your friend may not want to relive it it. Birth trauma is real, and sometimes it’s incredibly serious because it becomes PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome). That’s the very same same mental health condition suffered by soldiers returning from war zones. Yes, that’s how serious it can be.
Not all women are awake when they have their caesareans though, some are under a general anaesthetic. Surely those women view these videos differently? Not necessarily! They spent an awfully long time imagining how it would be when they first met their baby, and then they were asleep whilst other people were cuddling the baby. That can be really upsetting to women, and a caesarean video might be a reminder they don’t need.
So STOP! DON’T SHARE THAT CAESAREAN VIDEO!
Maybe you want your friend to feel better because not all caesareans are horrible. Maybe if you share the video they can plan a similar experience for their next birth. Obviously you love your friend! However, there are actually very few care providers who offer the “natural caesarean”. That’s why it’s such a big deal on the internet, because it’s so unusual. Most caesareans are clinical and sterile (in the emotional sense of the word).
Furthermore, there’s actually no such thing as a natural caesarean. Fancy telling someone who needed a hip replacement that they’d get a natural hip, or someone who had a pacemaker that it was a natural heart. What about dentures. Are they natural teeth? They look pretty natural! They’re no more natural than a fancy caesarean. A friend who is traumatised may feel physically ill at the idea of a “natural” caesarean.
The reason this type of birth is so fascinating is that most people are aware of the intensity and unpleasant nature of major surgery. Knowing that a caesarean can be done in such a way that respects the woman and baby is very attractive, and if you know someone who HATED their caesarean, you may want to show them that there are alternatives. That’s an undeniably kind and thoughtful act, but you need to know more about birth trauma or grief if your instant response is to share with or tag your friend in such a video.
Something many of the people who are sharing the video need to know is that “Once A Caesarean Always A Caesarean” is a saying that originated in 1916. It’s old. So old that very few people who were alive then are still alive. Those who have been here all this time certainly weren’t at the obstetric conference where the saying was coined. What we now know, a century later, is that VBAC is often safest for women and babies.
VBAC is an acronym for Vaginal Birth After Caesarean, it came about far more recently, and owing to incredible advances in medicine and science, we now know that VBAC is not only safer than multiple repeat caesareans, for many women it’s the only path they can even contemplate.
Imagine you’ve got a rotten tooth. It HURTS and it makes you feel horrendous all day and night. The dentist extracts it, it’s really not pleasant, but the relief is amazing. Of course there’s the recovery time, and you have to adjust to not having a tooth in that space, but over all you’re relieved the tooth is gone. A year later another tooth becomes infected and needs to be removed. Do you leap for joy and giggle all the way into the dental surgery? Only if you’re insane. So what if you discover that the dentist will play soft music and offer hypnosis for the procedure. Does it alter your leaping and giggling status?
Welcoming a baby via caesarean is about five hundred times more intense. Even women who WANT to have caesareans feel nervous in the lead up, and they sure don’t enjoy the whole getting naked, catheterised, the epidural, possibly shaving, or the pain during recovery. Holding your baby in the operating theatre is a consolation prize, nothing more.
If you come across a caesarean video and you have a friend who you want to share it with, please think carefully first! Contact your friend and ask them whether they think it would be helpful, or whether they’d really prefer not to see it. You never know! One friend may thank you for years to come, another may spend the night crying. A caesarean video can be a hugely triggering thing to some women, and no matter what your intention in sharing, it really will be better if you ask first.
“Hey Betty-Sue, I saw a caesarean video today and it was quite interesting because <insert description here>. If you’re interested in seeing it I can share it with you, but if not, that’s cool too!”
It’s that simple!
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