I’ve had two births that were planned as home-births but due to rare medical anomalies, they each became C-sections and each traumatic in their own way. This can be devastating for anyone but especially someone who had fully planned to play the protagonist in her birthing stories. During and after each birth, I’ve learned so much about my body, the medical system, and our societies’ ability to support women during and in the aftermath of a C-section birth.
Though there is not currently adequate postpartum health care (within our health care system) for any type of birth in western society, it strikes me that postpartum knowledge and care for C-section births is especially lacking. People avoid talking about it. It is a major abdominal surgery and yet the medical establishment’s recommended after-care for it is next to nothing. The first time around, my midwife instructed me to stay in bed and away from stairs for a couple of weeks (same as with a vaginal birth). But neither she nor the OBGYN gave me any specifics for my situation.
After each birth, I lost sensation in my lower abdomen and I lost control of those muscles. The first time, my muscles had literally de-centered resulting in diastasis recti. But both times, I felt as though there was something missing in the core of me. This can be a scary and unnerving feeling and not one easily admitted.
The first time around, I had no idea I was supposed to touch my scar in order to help it heal. Instead, I avoided it except for washing and the scar tissue was allowed to travel, ultimately attaching my uterus to my bladder. At least this time around, I know how and with what to touch it and I know what type of healer I will go to for additional help when the time is right. Though my incisions healed well, the second time around, I’ve had a lot more pain whenever I brush against a counter or put a waistband near.
The psychological struggle during and after a C-section birth is rarely acknowledged or understood in the hospital or outside of it for that matter. Obviously, everyone experiences it differently but if it is unplanned (and sometimes even when it is), it is safe to assume that the birthing person might be having some difficulty with this outcome. However, it’s typically assumed by medical providers as well as friends and family, that as long as both mother and baby are alive and relatively healthy, then nothing else should matter. And there isn’t usually space where the birthing person can be fully witnessed and supported in their emotional healing, much less a healthy processing of this topic in every day conversation. After a lot of difficult conversations with providers and loved-ones that left me triggered, ashamed, and confused, I had to seek and create spaces with very specific healers and friends. Even this time around with experience and better boundaries, it's difficult navigating this territory that so few give voice to.
All of the healing knowledge that I’ve gathered on my postpartum journeys has been due to my individual study, study with healers, and ancestral knowledge passed to me from traditional healers. I’ve had to work very hard to figure out how to heal physically and emotionally from these births. And I’m still in that process, but knowing that there are many other people out there going through the same pain that I was in and struggling alone, I couldn’t wait any longer to put this workshop together. I’ve gathered the most poignant healing practices that I’ve come across for C-sections, into one afternoon of community and support.
I hope to see you there. I’ll be waiting with practical tools and a community space for where you are where you want to be in your healing process.
Un mama sin verguenza,