Confession Time: My C-Section Made Me Feel Inadequate

pregnant belly

One in three pregnant mothers will now give birth via Cesarean section.

Natural birth advocates tsk at this number and spout off the related risks of C-sections (infection, blood clots, blood loss, etc). But for the millions of mothers who give birth in this fashion, hearing all of the negative conversation about C-section can make you feel inadequate and uninformed. I know, because I am one of those mothers. Both of my babies were born via C-section and to this day, I still feel pangs of regret that I did not deliver my baby “naturally.”

When pregnant with my first child, I remember making the doctors and nurses light up when I arrived for my frequent appointments. “Your pregnancy is so easy!” they would say. “You’re so lucky. Other women have a lot of difficulty carrying babies. But you’ve got it made!”

Foolishly, I took that to mean that an easy pregnancy meant an easy delivery. Could not have been more wrong about that. I went past my due date and there were no signs of labor getting started anytime soon.

Then one morning, almost to the 41 weeks pregnant mark, I woke up bleeding. Once we got to the hospital, doctors were more concerned about my rapidly spiking blood pressure. A day later I was induced.

Somewhere after the twelfth hour of labor, I developed an 104-degree fever out of nowhere. Concerned about infection, doctors told me that for the safety of the baby, it might be best if we proceeded with a Cesarean. I consented, worried about my little one who was literally baking in my belly.

Five minutes later, my beautiful baby girl was born grumpy and gooey, but healthy. I was in awe.

I didn’t have time to think about the way she entered into the world until I was pregnant with her brother a year later, when I had to make the decision on whether to attempt a VBAC (vaginal birth after Cesarean) or go ahead with a scheduled C-section.

I chose to schedule a C-section. I was scared of the risks of a repeat C-section, but because I already knew what it was like, it felt more “normal” to me.

When other moms talked about how long they pushed and how powerful they felt delivering their babies into the world, I smiled politely and changed the subject. The few times I did talk about my delivery, I would feel the pity in their eyes. One woman actually said to me, “Do you feel cheated out of the birth experience? I would.” Ouch.

Home births are on the rise, as are births at birthing centers, as more women try to avoid the routine medical interventions that often lead to C-sections. Spend time among women passionate about natural birth, and there’s disdain for women with C-section scars. Why weren’t you more informed? Why didn’t you say no when your doctor recommended the surgery? Don’t you know how magical birth can be? You have a voice in how your birth goes! 

At times, yes, I do feel like I was uninformed. But looking back, I don’t know if there’s anything I would change (and I now accept there’s nothing I CAN change), so why beat myself up about it? My babies are here, they are healthy, I don’t have any lingering problems, so I should be happy, right? Right…I guess.

Where’s all the moms with the scars on their belly? LOL Did having a C-Section make you feel inadequate?

This post originally published at


  1. I wanted a natural delivery, meaning no epidural. Then (once I asked for the epidural), I wanted a vaginal delivery. But, after her oxygen kept dropping and I stopped progressing (at 8 cm) they did an emergency c-section. All the things I thought I’d be adamant about (during labor) I found I didn’t really care much about when it came to doing what was best for my baby in that moment. I would like a vaginal delivery (mostly because that’s what I’ve always envisioned…the pushing and screaming and ice chips. Remember when all the men on the Cosby Show went into labor! LOL!!) but, if I had to have a c-section again, I’d be okay with that. Holding my baby in my arms is what matters not how s/he got here.

  2. I have a friend who had twins through a C-Section and one day she bluntly told me that she went in and the next thing she knew they were there. She said she felt like she missed out on the expierence of giving birth. She thought that it was very anti-climatic.

    I thought she was crazy until I had my own child. I will be very honest and say that I (especially right after I had my son) wore my natural, no drugs, 9lb baby delivering self like a badge of honor. My husband finally told me to stop telling people that I delivered with no drugs. I thought childbirth was an awesome expierence and I truly felt like I had conquered the world. A year later it is what it is, I had a baby just like everyone else.

    OAN Be glad that you didn’t go through 2 days of contractions the pain associated with that is like nothing I could have ever imagined.

  3. Raya Sunshine says:

    I have experienced my water breaking, and labor (12 hours), but all of my children were c-section. And I where it like a badge because that is the birth I wanted; it’s the birth I researched, the birth I envisioned. Believe it or not, there are women who prefer a c-section over a “natural” birth. Guess what? We all gave birth to our children and that’s what should be important.

  4. I know plenty of moms who’ve had c-sections and they’ve never expressed feeling inadequate for not being able to deliver vaginally (for whatever the reason was). I think when you are in that vulnerable position, you just want your baby out safely. Whether or not doctors use scare tactics to speed up the procedure by way of c-section is another store, but most of us aren’t medical professionals so we have to trust them when it comes to that. And although I had my daughter via natural water birth and plan to do the same again, if I was in a high risk situation and I had to have a c-section… I’m not going to be some natural-nazi about it and risk my/my childs life, you know? I don’t think I’d feel inadequate for putting their safety/health first for an “experience.” Seems selfish to me.

  5. I think the feeling inadequate has to do with what your original vision or birth plan was prior to going into labor. I think when things don’t go the way we planned, we have a tendency to feel a little down, especially if in hindsight we have any reason to think that maybe things could have (and/or should have) played out differently. Ultimately, all that matters is that mommy and baby are healthy. That certainly trumps all.

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  7. It is our outlook in our life most often changes our viewpoint. Sometimes this change is good and sometimes this change is bad but it is our outlook that exerts the most control the way we feel.

  8. I hope to have my children vaginally oone day. Mostly because im scared of being cut. But I know what is safest for the baby is what matters most. Also as amazjng as child birth may be it ia only one moment ib thw journey of motherhood and ib that moment you did what you felt was safest for your baby given the information you had. Tj have made any other decision would actually have been rather selfish. Don’t beat yourself up.

    Side note. Since I startrd blogging and reading about moms experiences I think you guys are way to hard on yourselves and carry too luch guilt. Are you loving your kids, making sure they know it, doing what you feel is best for your families (which includes you), and doing better whrn you know better? That’s all that matters.


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