Giving Birth by Cesarean: Honoring the Experience
By Kendra Doukas, LMFT
This is topic that is very near and dear to my heart. Pregnancy and birth have many mentionable aspects, but the specific part I want to focus on is the importance of the language we use surrounding cesarean birth. When women give birth by cesarean it is very important for us to use our language carefully. Usually we call this a “c-section” which is a cold name of procedure that is done to someone. This terminology also seems to diminish the sacredness of the birthing process. It is very important to remember that regardless of the method, the mother still gave birth! This is something to be honored and celebrated, without any fear of judgment. The terms we use impact people, and thus matter deeply. In this regard, I strongly believe that being intentional about this language could lesson women’s experience of postpartum issues and birth trauma following a cesarean.
There are plenty of women who birth by cesarean and feel no emotional complications as a result, but many women feel robbed of the experience of giving birth in the way they might view as traditional. For these women, hearing their own experience of birth discussed as a “c-section” can ignite their own feelings of inadequacy, insecurity, or grief and loss. It might feel incredibly discouraging to have gone through the process of pregnancy but feel that you didn't have the birth experience you hoped for? Many women will not mind the “c-section” language, but for the women that do, it is a crucial step and a very easy thing to do that might have an important impact on another person. When I have clients that come in and say they’ve ended up having a c-section I like to challenge and say, “You mean you have given birth by cesarean.” For some clients this will bring up emotion and for others will bring a smile. Regardless, it is important to not take the birth out of cesarean birth. For more great information about this topic and many great others surrounding birth please check out the book Birthing From Within by Pam England.