Although the Cesarean section isn’t an uncommon procedure, there is still a lot of negativity associated with the fact that a women was incapacitated to a point that medical personnel had to resort to an invasive surgery. Women have mixed emotional reactions to the surgery and the perception of the outcome vary drastically.
Many mothers view the procedure as the first step towards motherhood and see the surgery as something that had to be done, in order to have the baby by their side – safe and healthy. Some others though, struggle to cope with the negative emotions that seem to link with feelings of helplessness and being unable to do something as natural as giving birth vaginally.
Recovering from a planned C-section maybe easier as you would have already anticipated the outcomes of your child birth experience. But in situations where mothers had a prolonged labor or delivery, and an emergency C-section was administered, it’s seems to be harder to cope with the shock.
Listed below are the common emotional responses one may feel post a Cesarean sections:
- Disappointment: This response is common in parents who planned and expected a more active participation in the birth process.
- Self Blame and Depression: Common among mothers whose image of a picture perfect birth didn’t meet expectations. However, a period of depression is normal after any method of childbirth.
- Guilt: Guilt may pile up from having negative feelings towards something that parents should be happy and proud of.
- Resentment: Some mothers show resentment towards the baby, their family and themselves for being the cause of their pain, discomfort and emotional state.
- Anger: Frustration levels may rise if the child birth experience didn’t meet expectations. Mother’s tend to blame their support system, their baby and even the doctors for having to go through a surgery, which she may herself find – was unnecessary.
- Failure: Feelings of inadequacy because the baby wasn’t delivered vaginally.
Some mothers who deliver their babies via C-section tend to return home and grieve the loss of natural labor/birth experience. Going through a surgical procedure inevitably means a longer physical recovery period, which is taxing not just on the mother but also her support system. The mental anxiety and emotional stress can be hard to cope with, especially if you’re feeling guilty about inconveniencing your partner, yourself and your child.
Despite the fact that things may not have gone according to your plans, you have finally met the little person growing inside you and he/she needs love and a lot of positivity from their care-givers, in order to remain physically and emotionally healthy. It’s important to be there for your baby during their early days, since your child will need a lot of physical contact to feel secure.
Here’s how you can recover from your wild emotional imbalance and get ahead of the game:
- If you’re disappointed, angry or depressed, allow yourself to feel it. Do not cover it up with fake cheer and stuff up your guilt. Process your feelings and write them down, this will encourage you to express yourself and get closure with what may just be your perception of the event. Talk to your partner, midwife, mom or a friend and walk yourself through the details of how you felt and why. You will feel lighter with the release and can move on to the next stage of emotional recovery.
- Don’t set up camp in the grieving stage, going over what could’ve happened or what should’ve happened isn’t going to ease the process. If you need the help of a counselor or therapist, who will not only provide you with a different perspective but also explain to you why holding on to negativity isn’t healthy, don’t hesitate.
- Focus on things about the delivery that you liked, that went according to your birth plan and pay a lot of attention to the beautiful outcome. You get to nurture and care for your baby and he/she is a part of you. If you aren’t happy about how you felt right after the procedure, that’s okay! There’s more to parenting than how your baby entered this world.
Develop a confidence and belief that birth is a safe and natural process that succeeds, with or without medical interventions. Recognize that when a Cesarean section is necessary, it can truly be life-saving. The physical and emotional scars of the procedure will heal over time, so long as you care for yourself- body, mind and soul.