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This page is unfinished.
There is a reason for that...

I will fill it in over the next few weeks... either with my own thoughts, or with yours. I'm hoping to get some feedback on what was important to "YOU" during your healing after your caesarean - physically and emotionally.

I want this page to be an interactive page. A page that will continually change as new ideas flow into it and women share the things that helped them find healing, find closure, and move on in their lives. Ways that women have found to remove the negative aspects of their baby's birth and concentrate on the positive aspects, and the beautiful child that has become a part of their world.

This page is for women who have just experienced a caesarean, and may want to have more children later, and also for women who have had their children, and want to heal without the experience of a vaginal birth to help them find that healing.

One small note here; A vaginal birth is no guarantee of healing. You may need to do work on past birth experiences to find a sense of peace. This work may be as simple as being able to "talk" about the experience with someone, or it may be much more complex.

I wrote these affirmations some time ago and actually found them the other day and thought that they may help with your healing page.
I have healed a lot now and can understand what I was writing through my pain. Maybe they can empower women to make their own affirmations to help them heal.
Write them down and put them away (or save them in their computer) and then when they are ready they can remind themselves of what they wrote.

My own Affirmations are these:

* I will not give anyone the power to abuse my trust again.
* I will not allow myself to be insulted and hurt by anyone in the medical profession ever again. (I will die with dignity first.)
* I have learnt a lot from this experience and I believe that childbirth has been presented to me in many forms for a reason. (I am yet to understand that reason.)
* I know the truth and wish to prevent anyone else from going through the fear and pain that I underwent. (My story needs to be heard, my complaint listened to.)
* Childbirth is not meant to be the worst experience of your life.
* There is meant to be joy at bringing a new life into the world.
* Childbirth is a miracle of nature and a joyous event that needs to be shared with people who care and should not be left to evil and cruel doctors.
* This world would be a far better place if children were born into a loving and caring environment and not into a world full of hatred and anger.

I may change these or alter these affirmations as I heal but in reading them i can look back at the hurt and the anger and I can understand how it has changed my life and my views not only of birth but of people in general.

Happiness lies for those who cry, those who hurt, those who have searched, and those who have tried. For only they can appreciate the importance of people who have touched their lives.

I was pregnant with my second baby. When I had my first little girl I really had a bad time. It wasn't so much the pain; it was the loneliness, and the coldness of the staff. For a couple of months, I rejected my baby and was very aggressive towards her so when I felt pregnant with the second one I would cry at night, I was so anxious. The first thing we did was to change doctor. I met a wonderful man he promised me that I was carrying an angel that would reconcile me with motherhood and birth. He was right.

On a Saturday morning, after my toddler's swimming lesson, and after a trip to the shoe shop, I realised that the contractions I had been having for the couple of hours were not fake ones. I went to the clinic were a midwife told me I was 6 cm dilated.

I attended relaxation classes during my pregnancy and I felt in peace going with the flow as I was feeling the contractions. My husband and I had been practising for months we were ready this time! In 45 minutes I was fully dilated, I was still very scared but I trusted my doctor, and after pushing twice the doctor forced me to hold my baby by the arms and to lift him out of my own body.

It was a miracle. I saw him, he was beautiful. He was an angel, the first person he saw when he opened his eyes was me, we stared at each other for seconds. I will always remember that moment, it is engraved in my memory, I met my baby, my angel, and because of that miracle, that special moment, I was able to fall in love, straight away with my little boy, to bond. I love my two children the same way but to have a great doctor and relaxation classes made all the difference...my little miracle was named Killian and he is now 7 months old, I'm still breast feeding him and he crawls everywhere...regards to all mums

My first son was born vaginally, with no drugs. The delivery was difficult (paving the way, so to speak) with over 24 hours of contractions and laboring long at the hospital--not the easiest place to relax. I was determined to have a natural delivery and my husband, my mother, and a great nurse helped me through it.

My 2nd delivery was fast since we had decided to labor at home as much as possible. After my water broke, we rushed to the hospital. With no camera or video and our car still in the drop-off lane, our second son was born 1 hour after we arrived with the help of a hospital Dr. Although his shoulder did get stuck on the way out and the Dr. thought she had dislocated his shoulder, no injury was found and he thrived.

My 3rd delivery was 2 months ago. From day one my Dr. was pushing me to elect to have a c-section. With the shoulder dystocia on my 2nd delivery, the odds for another shoulder dystocia increased. I researched on the internet and found that although the odds went up, other factors could be analyzed. Gestational diabetes increases the odds for shoulder dystocia and I didn't have that. A large weight gain during pregnancy increased the odds, yet I had gained the least amount of weight with this pregnancy. I found alternate positions for dislodging a stuck shoulder and suggested them to my Dr.

A contribution from Paula.

Our baby son Scott was born, following a wonderful natural labour, but a somewhat complicated birth. His head was born smoothly, but after a short time when the rest of him didn't keep coming the midwife realized his shoulders where stuck. Our midwife was able to free his stuck shoulder and the rest of his little body slid out. *whew* I was leaning on my husband on my knees so I really didn't see or realize what was happening at the time. But apparently he wasn't doing well and was raced out of the room for oxygen with the midwife calling for the pediatrician.

This was not only scary, but I think for a mother it is one of the hardest things to go through watching your newborn disappear from the room and wondering if they are OK. I had fantasized about the birth for so long and one of the moments I so looked forward to was picking up and holding my wet wiggly little newborn as he came into the world, of being the first person to hold him, see him, to look upon his face. So obviously this was very saddening for me to miss out of this. One clear moment for me is watching him racing out the room in the midwives arms and then looking down and seeing the cut cord laying between my legs where a baby should have been.

At the time I was just relieved he was ok and I was soon holding him again. But a few days after his birth I started to feel the sadness of this loss. Everything else about my experience was very happy but I felt I needed to heal this somehow.

I was home two days later, my mother was staying with us to help with the girls, so I didn't think about things much until she went home when Scott was 6 days old. But I knew what I needed to feel.

As soon as we were alone and the kids were busy I ran a lovely deep warm bath and sank into it, then my husband bought our naked little newborn in and placed him in the bath with me. It was wonderful and amazing. I had missed out on holding him, with us both naked and wet at the birth. I needed to do that, to feel his skin against mine and just look at him as he was born. We laid in the water together, I touched him and he had a feed. I thought about his birth and all the happy moments and just let all my feeling come and go as they needed to.

It was as such a healing experience for me, I got just what I had dreamed about only a few days late and I have been able to let go of some of my sadness from losing this at his birth.
Now we have lots of baths and showers together and we both really love those times A contribution - Thankyou for sharing your experience.

I will just list from start to finish the problems that I have had healing, because I think one thing leads to another. Sorry this is so long.
-Pushed for 3 hours then had a c/section. 9 lb 14 oz baby, the uterus tore down low and hemorrhaging started.
-Difficulty getting uterus back together.
-pneumonia after the 1st 24 hrs.
-needed blood transfusion within 24 hrs.
-incision wasn't healing right, because of blood clots in the incision.
-bleed for ten weeks (heavy to light to heavy to light). One doctor said it could be a period another did a vaginal ultrasound and found a mass on top of my uterus on the outside of it. He said that could be the cause (maybe a blood clot). Bleeding stopped and he was no longer concerned about the mass.
-21 days later bleeding started (light to very heavy to light) lasting ten days.
-three days later I am spotting (very light) and have some pain in the area of my uterus.

The mass still concerns me and I just don't feel right.

I am disappointed that I had to deliver my baby by c-section, but I also feel that my doctor could have done more to prevent me from having to have one.

My biggest frustration has been all of the complications after the section. I just want to focus on my beautiful little boy!

You may share this with others if you would like. Sorry this is not very positive.

You have had a really tough time! I would certainly want the mass checked out thoroughly myself - don't settle for any brush-offs if you are worried about it. It also sounds like you may have an infection, or some parts of the placenta left within if the bleeding continues. This should be thoroughly checked too. I hope you will soon be healing, and able to enjoy your child. You are not alone in experiencing the trauma's that you have mentioned and I hope you can find the causes and get some positive help soon.

I am writing about what I want to see on your page regarding healing after a C-section.
I have had two C-sections with 3 vaginal births sandwhiched inbetween.

What bothered me the most about my sections was the way they were acknowledged by the rest of the world I guess. I mean, yes, I had a wonderful baby, and wasn't I happy, and the answer was no, I actually felt assaulted and violated and out of control. Also with both sections, even though they were 10 years apart, I didn't feel there was anything out there really to help me deal with getting it together psychologically. To most of my family and friends it is like, it happened, it's over, get on with it, and I have... twice, but there is a sadness there and I think there needs to be someway of addressing and handling that.

I have belonged to ICAN in the past, and that is a great group, helped me immensely, it just takes so long to work things out with a support group I guess.

Just a small contribution to your "Thoughts on Healing' section.

My midwife reminded me that if I looked in my hospital notes I would see tens of peoples' names and signatures there but that none of them would be mine. That helped me realise just how powerless I had been in the situation and helped resolve a lot of the self-blame.

For our first child we planned a natural birth center birth. The CNM broke my water before I even with started contractions; she said I was leaking a small amount of amniotic fluid and this would be necessary to kick in labor (not true!). Unfortunatly, my daughter had her head turned to the side. Without the fluid buffer she couldn't rotate (or be rotated) into and ideal birthing position. So we were transported for failure to progress and she was cut out of me. Overall the labor was extremely gruelling, with 2 hours of pushing, and my incision became infected the week after her birth and had to be partially reopened and drained/cleaned every few hours to keep it open for the next ten days.

For our second child we planned a natural home birth with a direct-entry midwife. This decision was made after realizing the hospital protocol for a VBAC mother would make my goal for natural childbirth even more difficult. We had a wonderful stage I labor. Stage II was very long (I think due to the baggage I carried from the previous labor experience). Without any sign of distress the first breath my son took was full of meconium and despite vigorous suctioning he was imediately transferred to the neo-natal ICU with extreme respiratory distress and stayed there the next ten days. I held him briefly until the paramedics arrived at our house. I didn't get to hold again him or breast feed him for the first 6 days of his life. Given this hindsight at the time I would have gladly scheduled a c-section to avoid what my son endured. Thankfully, he is healthy now.

My husband and I are so saddened that we have researched natural childbirth, and put our faith in it, and base our childbirth decisions on this extensive research and yet we walk away with two traumatic experiences. My husband and I wish to have more children, but both of us feel we must heal a bit in order to make a fresh start sans labor/birth baggage! We won't schedule a c-section for any future births. We still believe home is the best place to give birth (although, I don't think we'll be having any more home births).

My message for anyone who feels a VBAC will heal them from a c-section is this: Don't put undue pressure on yourself that you must have a VBAC to feel the birth was a "success." I would trade what I went through with my daughter's c-section birth in a second, before reliving my son's natural home birth experience. I feel I have learned many lessons from both birth experiences, and one of them is that you must take charge of the decisions relating to your pregnancy and birth experiences. Now I must find a way to surrender to my experiences and take charge of the healing process. If my story helps even one person, then it will be medicine for my soul!

Good luck!
Jodi Hernandez

Dear Friend,
My first labor was a trying one. I was in labor for 24 hours got complete and with a few hours of using the vaccuum and forceps, my doctor was planning for plan C. At this point I was completely exhausted. I remember trying all I could to push as they were rolling me down the hall. My emotions of discouragement can only be understood by other women who have been there.

Being a mother is my life long commitment. I really enjoy it. Even from the beginning, I loved pregnancy. Up until now my healing has been my children and words only written on paper never sent to heard by anyone. My husband is thankful for our two beautiful children and his heart is content with the two. Yes, I have two children. My anticipation for a second trial labor ended my ninth month. Up until then, our doctors kept throwing out hints of percentage rates that were'nt in our favor. Finally we met for a consultation visit. It was the opinion of my three doctors that we should schedule. I felt concern and questioned myself if this was the best plan. There was concern and with that in mind, we went in on September 1,1999 to have our son.

I am proud to say I have a daughter, Kelly Christine and a son, William "Alex"ander and I am totally commited to their needs. I pray that if the day should come when we should expect our third child, I hope I can be given a chance to try a VBAC. 

Very Hopeful,

Dear Jackie,
I was touched by the letters sent to you. There was a peace knowing that there are women out there feeling the way I do. More importantly, I came to realize that the pain we all have experienced measures up differently with each of us. After reading Jo's contribution, I was remembering the low I felt during my recovery. I would like to tell Jo if I could that the experiences we go through are sometimes for the reason in helping others as well as making us stronger individuals. I also in closing would like to share that I believe the Lord has blessed us all with the choices we make and that we can grow stronger especially with friends like Jo. Life is full of lessons to learn. I hope during all these lessons I am helpng a friend out there too. Thanks Jackie for this site. You are truly a blessing.

Dear Jackie,
I wanted to take just a minute to say I have felt so determined lately. At first I thought about my birthing experiences and I'm thankful for the miracle of my two beautiful children. I felt I was taking steps forward in healing emotionally, but ater reading other women's stories I wanted another chance again. Somehow, I still believe I can do it. I have to atleast try a VBAC. If my labor didn't progress so far as it did with my first child? maybe I would give up. I don't know. Even now, I watch myself on video as I'm about to have my second child,"Alex". As I'm being rolled away I say to the television, "Get up Angie, Get up! Tell the nurse you are going home." I drift off to sleep at night playing in my mind my first labor wondering what did I do wrong?
I think that's where we go wrong. We may blame ourselves. Whether it's arriving at the hospital too early or letting our nurses persuade us to use certain pain medications sooner than we really need. For me, These are some thoughts that I tossed around.
My husband and I are not ready to have our third child yet. We are enjoying life in the now. I can only pray for my good health , a loving husband and my supporting family who will stand by my decisions.
To whoever is out there and is thinking at all like me, I need your thoughts and wisdom. Again, Thanks Jackie.

Hi Angie,
I also think you should try VBAC again, next time you are pregnant. Why not? What's wrong with trying? You may regret not trying later in your life, but you won't regret trying as you will 'know' whether or not a c/section was necessary.
Also, it is good to think back on what you could have done differently in your last labour. We learn from our mistakes. This is how we plan things better the next time. We can't go back and change things (sadly) but we can recognise the things that should/could have happened differently.
It can also be very healing to actually visualise a vaginal birth, how it should have been, visualise actually birthing your baby vaginally and lifting him/her up onto your belly yourself. If you do this for each of your children it may help 'heal' the birth experiences. You must take time to yourself to actually do this, in a quiet place where you won't be interrupted... Birth needs privacy, quietness and honouring to unfold the way it truly should.
Continue on your path, Angie, you are instinctively doing the things you need to in order to find your personal healing journey.
Birthing Beautifully,
Jackie Mawson

Dear Jackie,
For many months I felt like Edwina's birth was like rape. I felt confused as to how could a birth feel like rape. It was only when I saw a counsellor who said"This is the worst case of medical rape I have heard of"that it 'clicked' as to why it felt like a rape where the woman holds down the victim while the man rapes her.
Ann To Angie,
I too am living in the now and although would like another child I am not yet ready. I too have had two c/sections and two very traumatic and frightening birth experiences. The first I almost died and the second I was abused, neglected and forced to have a c/section.

After my first child I blamed myself - how could I not keep my baby safe in my womb. How could anyone steal a baby at 27weeks gestation and take it away from it's mother? How could I get so sick? How did I let that happen? I finally realised that everything happens for a reason and even if I did not understand why I had to accept that it was not my fault and the fact that my baby was strong and lived was in itself a blessing.

I am now healing again after the abuse and trauma of a medical system that does not work for women. I am fighting the system and complaining in order to heal myself and maybe make some good come from such a bad situation.

I do plan to try VBAC and I know that if i plan this the right way and establish the right support then it is possible and I can do it. I hold this close to my heart - the knowledge that I did not fail and I fought the system right until the end. If I had been stronger I may have got up and gone home or gone somewhere else. The midwife told me to leave the hospital but I was too exhausted. I can't blame myself for that - they tortured me and wore me down until I snapped, I gave in and had the c/section.

My husband is also supportive and we are happy at the moment - my daughter is 7yrs old and my son 14months. We are waiting until i can put the complaint behind me and we can get on with the arrival of a new life. It will be when I am ready, when I am fit in my mind and my body and when I have the strength to go into a regnancy and birth with a clear and unfaulted goal in my mind. There will be the visualisation and the clear knowledge that my body does know what to do and I am strong enough, my set backs have only made me stronger. Let your mind and body grow from it's experiences.

Dear Jackie,
I first came across your web site while I was watching "A Baby Story."

I still watch this program when time allows it. Now, I can feel more happiness and renewed strength when I watch these other determined women. For a long time, I found it hard to even tune in to this show. It helps to listen to others. Your web site certainly gives positive answers and conclusions I've come to make peace with. As for a new start, I feel confident my doctors are on the same wave length I'm on. I am happy there is a midwife in practice. I have heard so many wonderful things about them. I don't know what the future holds, but I hope my doctors can be every bit as determined as I am to have a VBAC.

I was reading the letters on your site and thought I would add my own story. After 2 miscarriages and four years of trying to have a baby, our son was born on Dec. 2 2000 after 24 hours of labour, three hours of pushing and a c-section. 
It was the happiest day of my life and I have never looked back on the c-section with regret, just with happiness that my son was born healthy and is a very happy baby. 
My section cut became infected and I had problems with tissue that was not removed and after 4 months it still hurts, but, I have never looked back on any of this with remorse and I would do it all again tomorrow to have a healthy baby. The goal of being pregnant for 9 months is to have a healthy baby at the end of it, no matter how the baby was brought into the world. When you are pregnant you must think about every outcome and not just expect to have a text book delivery at the end of it. 
Be happy to have brought a new life into the world and dont dwell on the way this little being was brought in.
Tanya Wallin

Thoughts on Healing
By Kellie Bryan

For 4 weeks after the caesarean birth of Cameron, I felt like I was locked up in a little room, I still don't really remember much about that 4 weeks. My husband told me things during that time and has now asked me again, I truly don't remember the first time. After a visit to my GP on week 4 and a good talk to him, I felt like someone had let me out of that room.

6 weeks after my caesarean I am well on the way to healing some of the grief I've been carrying. How have I achieved this? Heaps of crying. Lots of talking to other people, who I'm sure think I'm weird because I can't just "get over it", my family included. Writing a letter to the Director of the hospital and having an appointment with the Director of Nursing Services to discuss what happened, both with the staff and with my body. I needed someone at the hospital to confirm that the staff truly had not acted correctly at the birth. The first few days I thought it was the effects of the drugs that made me think this, but several of the midwives confirmed my thoughts and feelings about that night.

I've now come to terms with the fact that I can't just press a rewind button and do it all over again.
I have a perfect little boy, who may have been damaged in the birth process had I not had a caesarean. Although that situation was quite unlikely.
I have heard that caesarean babies generally tend to be quite placid. I have been blessed with a wonderfully placid little boy.
I need to start doing things again, get back into the real world.

What I haven't dealt with yet:
I do get jealous of other women who have since had almost identical situations with their births (posterior babies) and successfully had natural births.
I am still angry that my right of choice was taken away from me when I was vulnerable.
I think these things happen for a reason. Why did it happen to me? To teach me humility, not to be so cocky and overconfident.
I don't feel like crying any more, I just want to yell to the whole world: WHY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

My body is my temple and my temple was desecrated.
I plan to be very educated for my next birth and plan for my husband/birthing partner to be as well. They will not take my rights away again.

Healing with all the women who share their stories has helped me a great deal. I can only move forward with time. Time has passed and learning from others has given me a renewed strength. I've changed doctors and have a midwife in practice there. She has given me alot of hope and she shared with me stories of other women who had VBAC's.
I can only remember from thoughts and photos when my babies were brought to me in recovery or in my suite. Kelly (4) and Alex (1) How precious this moment is! For Kelly's birth- When many hours passed and your moments from holding your babe, a doctor was there to change our immediate bond. for good reason? maybe, but maybe not. She was healthy. I'm thankful for that. Alex's birth- A planned birth-day for our boy.
For many months I was dertermined to have my VBAC. I even took a class.Well,I was put in a room with a video if you call that a class. After my doctors met with me for 8 1/2 months, they assumed I wanted a VBAC. Yes, I would like to try. Well, meetings were planned and before I knew it, I was an emotional mess. We were scheduling a birthday that was no longer a surprise. Our son was born and for a second time, I merely kissed my sweet babe on his cheek. Oh! how blessed we were to have two beautiful children.
Would having two c-sections prevent me from trying again? We want what's best but we want to know our rights. I'm sure we can learn more from others out there.
Thanks, Angie 

What a wonderful site and page this is. So many women need this kind of resource to help them heal and grieve for the birth experience they imagined and longed for. My son was born via emergency c-section (due to "fetal distress") after a perfect pregnancy and an initial 10 hours of textbook labour. I was required to have a general anesthetic, which in some ways turned out to be the most upsetting aspect of the birth. I feel as though I didn't give birth to him - that I missed out on the most precious and irreplaceable experience a mother can have. I have no doubt that my pre-occupation with these negative feelings dramatically affected my abilities as a Mum for the first 6 months of my son's life.

12 months on........ I am happy to say that, through reading and research via the Internet, I have been able to put things into a much healthier perspective. Talk, talk and talk some more -but only with people who are genuinely sympathetic to your feelings!! My hubby helped me write out and fine tune my birth story which was very helpful for me, as it filled in a lot of missing gaps and gave me a "memory" of the event.

On Oliver's birthday last week, I watched the clock and when 3.28pm (the time he was born) came around, I grabbed him, hugged him as hard as I could and started to cry my eyes out. While I was howling - he started laughing and clapping to some happy music I put on especially for the "occasion". This grieving exercise turned out to be such a special and joyous bonding moment - it was just 12 months late that's all! To all those out there trying to get a handle on the emotional side of a c/section - hang in there. Your feelings and birth issues are not trivial. Keep going until you can achieve some kind of closure and can let the negative feelings go.

Good luck and warmest wishes to all.

Dear Jackie,
I have just read through your website. Eight months down the track, being consumed by anxiety and depression after a very traumatic birth, spending time in two different mother baby units, searching everywhere for at least some understanding, all the while feeling angry and guilty and failed..... I have finally found some information that has made me feel validated in my feelings and reactions.

I went to hospital to give birth to Tully on the 9th May 2001. I was flexible in my plan but I knew I wanted to be an active part in this very special event. My first birth was induced, I was hooked up to machines and not allowed to leave my bed, but it WAS a vaginal birth and I did feel accomplished in spite of Angus' distress and being whipped off to the nursery straight away and not being able to hold him or follow (epidural rendered me a tad rubber-legged even though it had been allowed to wear off in order to push). Again I was hooked up to what seemed like modern shackles. However a brilliant midwife got me moving around, on the floor etc. Sadly, the baby's heartbeat bottomed out and an emergency Caesarean was announced. Tully's heartbeat was brought back and sustained. Great, things were going to be ok they said, don't be panicked things look the best they have all day. Three hours it took to find an anaesthetist. She must have been 100years old, cranky and not too friendly. I had no pain relief only oxygen. I was given a general and later was given my baby. I had missed our birthday.

I came out in a state of anxiety; I couldn't focus because of the morphine and probably would have donated any body part if asked I was that doped up.

Later, in searching for answers, my midwife confessed off the record that the Dr had given me a general because it was easier for her! I feel so ripped off, so to speak. Cheated and hateful. I feel I missed the most important day that would have been the icing on the cake after an excellent pregnancy. No one gave me any info to what had been DONE TO ME. I felt inconsequential, I felt guilty because I felt in gracious. After all I got a healthy baby out of it didn't I? The staff sent my husband and mother home, took bubby to the nursery and left me. The morphine made me freak out and I couldn't sleep. I was the most terrifying night of my life. I couldn't think clearly to ask for what I wanted and needed.

Reading your booklet has been a great start in my recovery and acceptance and reconciliation to Tully's birth. I am so sick of people minimising my feeling and tell me to focus on my beautiful baby. Of course I focus on my children! I adore them!

How great it was to see the very words that have gone through my mind on the screen. Thank you for this great resource. I am beginning my healing, without medical intervention, but with assistance of my fellow species, women. Thank you thank you. Must go, I have to get some Kleenex to mop up my tears of many emotions.

Keep up the great work.
Sincerely yours, Lynda

I had many, many responses to an email query I sent out in regard to healing after a caesarean (physically and emotionally) and wanted to share the thoughts and knowledge with everyone on the Birthrites website. I hope you enjoy these as much as I did. Take care all, BB Jackie Mawson.

I first read this the evening before my son Cameron's first birthday, and was trying extremely hard not to remember every little detail of that day and the next. So this really hit home.

I think what this lady suggests is an exceptional idea. I didn't have any follow up at all regarding my caesarean, except that all the health professionals I dealt with kept watching me for post natal depression (which of course I suffered from for 6 months). I found the first couple of days in hospital were the worst. They say what you fear most is the unknown and there was just so much of that, the caesarean and a new baby. No-one could or would tell me what to expect at all, I was given an information sheet that they give women who've had hysterectomies. I remember thinking, they broke my body, it's not the way it is supposed to be now, I'll never be able to have another baby. So all I knew was I couldn't drive for 4 to 6 weeks and not to sweep or hang out washing. It took me close to four months to find out enough to start feeling as though my body and mind might actually recover.

I'm working with a group locally to improve all aspects of anti- and post- natal care. I will certainly be pursuing this more avidly with our local hospital reference group.

Things I've found out in the last 12 months: Rosehip oil helps soften the exterior scar, you really shouldn't hang out washing for 6 weeks, it hurts like anything when your baby kicks or jumps on your scar, having sex does not split your belly open (one of those silly things you worry about at first), eating and sleeping as well as possible helps you to heal more quickly mentally and physically, doing stomach muscle exercises helps to stop it from hurting so much, your scar will flare up on and off for the rest of your life, putting a tissue against it for a couple of hours after getting your scar wet keeps it from inflaming, your spine can ache where the epidural was administered for months later, the simplest things can trigger memories and feelings you thought you were well and truly over at any time, you can have another baby and naturally too, everyone takes time to bond with their babies even if they're born naturally, you will love your baby just as much if not more because of what happened, write your feelings down as it helps get things into perspective. The biggest thing - it really, really helps if you have a supportive husband, who puts up with the tears, the anger (which is most often taken out on him), the depression, the guilt, the determination to change the system and the ""don't touch my scar"".

It would be great to see something come of this, an addition to your website would be great.
Kellie and Cameron Bryan

I am keen to contribute information, articles via internet/magazine. In response to yesterdays e-mail about treatment, some readers might be interested in the following information. If anyone has any queries, or if I can assist in any way, I can be emailed: krallh@iprimus.com.au or telephoned at Homoeopathy for Health 9382 4270.

Alternative therapies can be a gentle but effective way of treating various problems arising from c-section.

Flower essences and gem elixirs are a wonderful way to ease physical distress, restore energy, and balance the emotions. There are many different kinds of flower essences: Bach flowers, Australian Bush Flowers; Living Essences; Alaskan; Desert Alchemy to name a few of the better known ones. Each group of essences has a particular "feel"; people respond in different ways. Some essences are more gentle than others, and so are, in my opinion, more suitable for different people and situations. eg. Living Essences are fantastic for restoring energy. Alaskan flowers are great for emotional healing of low self esteem, guilt, depression, trauma, sexual abuse, birth trauma, particularly etc. I am constantly amazed at how specific each flower is. Information is available through the internet on all of these. It is possible to self treat, but it can be an expensive way of going about it as you might need several essences at once and after a few weeks, you may need to change the essence as different emotions, situations arise. There are many homoeopaths/flower essence practitioners available. You just need to find the one that you click with. Homoeopathy is also suitable for physical, emotional and mental problems and highly effective for helping with breastfeeding. Once again, you can medicate using low potencies. For deep seated problems, constitutional treatment will be necessary, and a qualified homoeopath should be sought.

Here is a brief list of some of the remedies that I frequently use for both myself and patients.

For the wound: Spinifex (flower essence). Hypericum (Homoeopathic remedy), also useful to help restore sensation, lessen discomfort years after c-section.

Pain from needles: Hypericum

Wound reopening: Homoeopathy, Silicea, Causticum

Healing difficulty: Cotton Grass: Alaskan

Trauma: Arnica (Homoeopathy);

Soul support (Alaskan) Rescue Remedy (Bach Flower)

Pain: arnica (homoeopathy)

Depression: Sturt Desert Rose: Bush Flower; River Beauty (Alaskan)

Resentment: Dagger Hakea: Bush Flower

Low self-esteem: Five Corners (Bush Flower) Alpine Azalea (Alaskan); Pine (Bach flower)

Inability to cope: Hornbeam: Bach flower

For the effects of the epidural/anaesthetic - many homoeopathic remedies available. Better to consult a qualified practitioner if your health is not returning.

Nightmares/Insomnia: Living Essences

Fear: Ribbon Pea: Living Essences

Energy restoration: Living Essences. Reed trigger plant, pink fountain trigger plant, to name just a few.

Grounding: Living Essences WA Smoke bush - also good for nausea.

Poor quality, insufficient milk, too much milk: homoeopathy - calc carb; lac can. Qualified help advisable.

Wishing you Safe and natural healing
Kathryn Horton Homoeopath/Flower Essence Practitioner

After my cesarean I had many of the same thoughts and feelings. It helped me to talk to myself about how I had done the best I could at the time. And remind and teach myself that even if I felt it was a mistake that I can learn from it .. and that it is very OKAY to make any mistake, even an unnecessary one!
Hope these words are of some help or comfort.
Sincerely, Laura

Bach Flower Rescue Remedy plus other remedies for grief, disappointment and change as recommended by a Bach Flower practitioner. Also Homeopathic remedies for the same things plus staphisagria for the feeling of being invaded both vaginally and abdominally and for the healing of the surgical cut (metaphysically as well as physically). Kinesiology, Bowen therapy, acupuncture for all of the above feelings and physical effects. There are lots of remedies to help women recover from the disappointments of the loss of normal birth.
Cheers, Mary (Midwife)

These are just my thoughts on healing after caesarean from my experience.

Many have likened a caesarean, particularly an unwanted and unexpected one to a physical violation, and for me this was true. I no longer trust obstetricians and I at least initially doubted my own abilities as a birthing woman.

There are two aspects to healing after a caesarean, the physical and the emotional.

The physical is normally completed within 12 months of the operation, however some practitioners try to frighten us into believing this never occurs. With threats of uterine rupture continuing in every pregnancy hence forth. My husband (who works in the medical field) made an interesting observation:

"No other doctor/surgeon would admit that the results of their work are less than perfect so that they themselves would argue that their surgery has resulted in a failure to heal effectively. Even the heart surgeon who deals with an organ that starts beating again within minutes of completed surgery hails his own successes when the patient is alive days, weeks and years later.

Yet the obstetrician who performs the caesarean constantly warns of his failings in being able to effectively sew up a uterus and trust in its healing processes."

My husband made me realise that any failure to physically heal is a failure of the obstetrician not mine, and that given the self praise practiced by so many other surgeons it is the miracle of the birthing body to heal itself that they fear. Research shows this to be true. Less than 1% of women will "fail to heal" to such an extent that it causes a failure of the surgery in future pregnancies. The success of healing should be praised not feared.

The emotional healing is more difficult as it is different for every woman dependent on her own self perception and on the events that surrounded her caesarean experience.

For me it was the loss of trust of obstetricians, the loss of control over the situation, the loss of my dreams of childbirth and out and out fear during the situation. To heal I needed to consider and work with each of these things.

Loss of trust - meant I needed to be more self reliant. I realised that the title "doctor" does not automatically instil on the person some superior knowledge. As a human being they have their own limitations and bias which I will either agree with or not. To be able to trust them I need to be able to understand and trust myself and my body. Understanding for me was not difficult. I read everything I could lay my hands on, and whilst not processing the practical experience of a midwife or obstetrician I have been praised by both on my theoretical knowledge. This allows me to speak to them on equal terms and to work towards developing trust in future relationships. Five years later I have still not managed this fully. I am careful where I place my trust and still do not fully trust any obstetricians with whom I have since had dealings with. But I have compensated for this by trusting in my own ! wisdom and by backing that wisdom with assistance. In both this pregnancy and my first VBAC I backed up my knowledge base with a private midwife who can act as a sounding board, so that any suggestions made by the obstetrician can be discussed and then acted upon appropriately.

I do not think any obstetrician will ever fully regain my trust, I was too badly lied to and deceived the first time, but I am learning to work with this acknowledged limitation so that I can still take their advice as necessary.

Loss of control - the key to control is understanding and acceptance of responsibility. If you want someone else to take the blame if something goes wrong you will never be in control. Through knowledge and my support base I took control of my VBAC labour. The obstetrician and midwives were my advisers but I made the decisions and accepted responsibility for those decisions and they were respected. There was most definitely a risk my decisions were wrong but they were mine and I would never have sought to blame others for my own decisions. Fear of responsibility is a failing on both sides of the birthing table. Mothers often want control but if given it and something goes wrong they want someone to blame. Obstetricians identify that this is the case and therefore seek to take control so that if blame is apportioned then they can truly justify what happened. We are adults we need to make a choice. To have control is to accept responsibility and this choice should be acknowledged, respected and acted upon accordingly by all. If you know you are going to seek someone to blame if the decision is wrong then you are not exercising true control.

The time taken to make the decision to take control and responsibility or to relinquish it will vary from woman to woman. For me it came quickly but my job involves acceptance of responsibility. For others to whom this is new it is a much harder decision to make.

Loss of Dreams - to lose a dream is a sad thing and when any loss is experienced it should be grieved for. Birthrites is wonderful because it acknowledges that that grief is normal and nothing to be ashamed of. But the loss of one dream allows for the development of new ones. Grieve for what is lost but then look forward and create new dreams to work towards.

This can occur in a fairly short period of time and for me the development of my plan towards my next delivery and the dreams I had for my new son came within a few weeks of his birth.

Fear - the root of fear is ignorance. Nothing need be feared if it is understood. Development of understanding will help you to deal with fear. Fear is a natural human emotion that develops in us the caution needed to survive. The key to fear is understanding through knowledge when it is warranted and when it is merely creating an obstacle.

I still fear occasionally, the what ifs. But I am learning to look at the other side as well, which is the more likely, what can I do to influence it and what do I want to achieve.

There is no "time" on healing. Some people grieve for years after an event others are "over it" in a few days or weeks. Don't place a limit on yourself but identify the elements of your trauma that need healing and approach each one independently. Accept that some may never heal fully and use these as learning experiences upon which you can grow as a person.

All the situations in our lives can be viewed in two ways: WHY did this happen to me! or Why did this happen to me? One is said in total bewilderment, the other with genuine interest into finding the answer. Everything that happens in our lives can hold incredible gifts if we chose to search for the gift within the event. When we have a birth outcome that was distressing and painful both physically and emotionally it is so important we look for it's deeper meaning, the learning and the growth that comes from understanding it's purpose in our lives. The message we give to our children concerning their births can be one of anger and pain or it can be one of genuine gratitude and incredible wondering at it's powerful significance in helping us to transform and grow.

So with this in mind: You could- Start to look at what you were thinking of most going in to the birth. What was your greatest fear/s. Did you address this before labor. What were the words you spoke concerning the upcoming labor. When you have identified what some of these things were, it will be easier for you to see how you created this situation. Once you are able to see how you have contributed in the creation of this birth experience you will be able to claim responsibility for your part in the birth. Seeing how WE are in creation not just in the births of our children but all the events of our lives, it enables us to ultimately start to reclaim our power and own that which has transpired. While we stay stuck in blaming others or everything outside of ourselves there really can be no healing. We stay a victim and that gives us the sense of powerlessness. None of us are victims. We have birth outcomes that, if you really look at your deepest thoughts, fears and words said prior to the birth, you will see very clearly what patterns of behaviour were played out in the birth process. Who did you give your power away to and why? IN the end if you are willing to look into the deeper areas of your life and see where these feelings have arisen previously you will begin to heal not only your present feelings of loss, sadness and unfulfilled dreams but of equal, if not more importantly, you will begin to heal many aspects of your life. If you intend to have another child it is imperative that you do indeed claim your birth experience back and be willing to see what patterns, fears, beliefs of yours had you create a c-section. In this way you clear the way for a more fulfilling experience next time and you give your body, your uterus, your heart the opportunity to heal completely. It may sound harsh at first to say that you created the situation but the truth is we all have. When this is acknowledged and seen clearly, over time you really will feel the power return to your living and your mothering. You will then be able to send a really powerful and beautiful message to your child and let them know how important and incredible their birth was because it truly transformed you and your partner in many wonderful and powerful ways.

Books that can be really helpful:

* An easier Child birth - by Gayle Peterson Ph.D.
* Anatomy of the spirit, Seven stages of power and healing - By Carolyn Myss, Ph.D.
* Manifest your destiny and Sacred Self - Both books by Wayne Dyer
* Womens body Womens Wisdom - Christina Northrup

There are many many other wonderful books.

I'd like to finish with a brief story to illustrate the above.
My first child was born via a classical C-section and my baby was premature. I was devastated after the birth; feelings of failure, of unfulfilment etc. I had planned a birth centre birth for my first delivery. On the surface I wanted a natural birth with mo drugs etc. Underneath I was really scared of tearing and having a huge vagina after birth and not being able to handle the pain etc. My greatest fear however was to have a c-section. I was extremely angry when people would even suggest that as a method to considered as a birth option. I have to understand very well "what we resist persists". I said more than once "NO NO but I'll just have a pain free birth with an intact perineum thanks" Hey - guess what- I was given a general anaesthetic and a c-section. It all happened so fast. I had gone into labor fast with a premature baby that was transverse. Previously that day I was really upset having had an appointment with the GP who had told me that my baby had been transverse most of the way through my pregnancy ( I didnÕt think at the time that if I was putting out scared vibes why would my baby get into position knowing that I was terrified of birthing vaginally. They said to me at that time "if she didn't change position within the next two weeks I would have to see a specialist about having a c-section. I was so angry and upset. I went home and said to my husband "I just want to have this baby now I don't want to wait another six weeks." One hour later my waters broke and and my baby was indeed born that day. Before I fell pregnant with my second child, I realized that I had a real problem with completion in my life and that at that time if I had anything really challenging come up in my life someone would always be there to "rescue" me usually a male. It was pretty obvious why and how I had created this whole situation. Once I had that part realized I cried and cried and cried. Then I fell pregnant with my second child and opened up to release all the negative patterns and beliefs that stood in my way previously. I vowed to focus on completion. Everything, I completed little or large. I made sure that I handle my own affairs. No one was going to "rescue" me this time. The doctors would not support a natural birth but I knew I needed to do this birth naturally and for myself. A friend suggested a home birth and that felt so good and warm and pure in my heart. And that is what we went for. After accepting full responsibility for what my life was and was not I was able to work through each of my limitations and blocks. I birthed my beautiful 8lb10 baby girl into the world vaginally after an 8 hour labor at home. No drugs of course and with the help of a birthing pool my husband and a wonderful midwife who helped me to trust myself and my instincts. It was the end of an era to self doubt and low self esteem.

Many women have had the same realizations and journeys.
I trust you will too. My list of things ultimately would simply be start looking for the gift and let your child know every day what a gift it is proving to be.
Love and infinite support in your journey towards empowered living,
Jane B.B. and family.

I had my Csec in August 2003, after my waters broke and I got no contractions. Induction failed so it was 'failure to progress' and 'fetal distress'. I was given a beautiful healthy son. That's how I thought of it - I hadn't given birth. My reaction to this completely unexpected caesaer had an effect on my bonding with my son; it took me over 6 months to truly love him. It was also a cause to Post-natal Depression.

What helped me through were a few things:
1) I carried this baby, he lived in me; and it was out of me that he came (no matter how) - I gave birth to him. No one else can do that for you!!
2) Also I was told by a social worker that I had to allow myself to go through the grieving process. Afterall, I was grieving the loss of my natural birth. This takes time and acceptance.
3) Lastly I had to change my own beliefs and expectations of birth. It is sad that women are always harder themselves. What would you say to your bestfriend if she had a caesar? Would you think differently of her?

These things helped me, I hope they can help others. Kelly

Please send me you ideas, thoughts and opinions. Please also advise me if you would like your name and details attached to your contributions. I look forward to every single one of them.

Thank You !

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