Much has been written about the physical recovery period after a cesarean section. For some women, the emotional recovery after the c section takes much longer. This is especially true in emergency situations where the natural flow of the labor was quickly lost to the hurried atmosphere of the operating room.
Just as with every aspect of pregnancy and birth, each woman has a unique experience after a c section. Many are able to move on and aren’t emotionally scarred from the experience. These women tend to view the c section as a necessary evil and don’t mourn the loss of the natural birth experience.
Not all women are able to recover so quickly after a c section. This reaction can happen in any circumstances, but is more common after a traumatic birth. Maybe it was a case of one intervention leading to many others and ultimately a c section. This leaves the mother wondering if she could have done something differently and avoided the surgery. She may wonder if it is necessary.
Each woman processes her c section differently. Some women feel cheated out of the birth experience they worked so long and hard to plan. The vision of labor and birth can feel like a distant dream after you have had a c section. It can take time to get over the feeling that you have been cheated out of your ideal birth. This is a totally normal reaction.
The best thing you can do is to find someone to talk to about your birth. If you have unanswered medical questions, talk to your doctor or midwife. They may be able to shed light on the necessity of the surgery and help you find peace and stop mourning your birth experience.
A good friend or relative may be able to help. In many cases, women find that their family and friends are less than supportive. There is a general feeling that the woman should be grateful to have a healthy baby and stop dwelling on the birth. If you don’t have support, you can join a support group of other women mourning a c section. One group is the International Cesarean Awareness Network (ICAN).
If your unresolved feelings about your c section are causing feelings of depression, seek help immediately. Post Partum Depression can be very serious, but can also be treated with medication and talk therapy. Talking to a professional is sometimes enough to help you sort out your feelings. Your doctor or midwife can refer you to a counselor in your area.
Focus on the future to help you get over the past. If you plan to have more children, focus on future births. You may be a candidate for VBAC and be able to deliver a baby naturally next time. Talk to your health care provider about this possibility at your next annual visit. If you feel your doctor was too quick to perform a c section, consider another health care provider for your next pregnancy. Look toward the future while remembering the past to help you emotionally recover after your c section.