Coming to Terms with an Unplanned Caesarean Section



I am a multiple Caesarean section mother, and proud of it.  

But it wasn’t always that way. 

In the Beginning

My first C-section came with my first child. I labored for a few days and then pushed for a few hours. Finally, they wheeled a very tired and delirious first time mother in to get a C-section.

I came out of the experience a little dazed and mostly relieved the whole thing was over. Then, I spent the next few days fawning over our firstborn.  

Let’s Try VBAC

It wasn’t until I was pregnant with my second that I realized I wanted to try a vaginal birth after Caesarean section (“VBAC”). It was risky and I read up on all the different outcomes. All the positive and negative personal stories online. What to expect the second time around.

When my contractions began, just after Christmas, I thought I was ready.

My husband and I sat in my hospital room together as I labored for a couple hours, sucking on a popsicle and feeling pretty unbeatable. About an hour later, I was in the operating room with a baby in distress.

I did not even have the chance to process it was another C-section, let alone grasp what exactly was happening. Then, amid the chaos and my panic, I saw a very pink little baby cry out and it all suddenly didn’t matter. Baby was ok. I was ok. We all made it.  

Accepting It? 

A few days later, my doctor suggested scheduling a C-section if I were to have another child. This was when I realized that acceptance of being a mother that delivers only by Caesarean was one of the hardest parts of the postpartum recovery for me.  

I believe most mothers who have gone through C-sections will tell you they are not really bothered by the scar or the recovery. It’s the self-acceptance that is the biggest struggle.

I was plagued with wondering if I had done something different, would the outcome have been different? I went back over the events leading up to my delivery a thousand times, thinking maybe I would find what went wrong. It wasn’t until a few months postpartum with my second child that I realized I needed to forgive myself. To let go of my ideal expectations about delivery. To accept that I was still a strong and capable mother.  

Scheduling a Caesarean

My third child was born via a scheduled C-section.

The experience was so drama-free that it felt like my husband and I had just taken a stroll as opposed to having just gotten off a roller coaster. After the delivery, I felt the same conflicted feelings rise about the scheduled C-section. However, this time I saw those thoughts coming as I held my thriving son in my arms. I again told myself I was a strong and capable mother, regardless of my delivery.  

C-section mothers will often relate to the loss we feel when a planned vaginal birth ends with an unplanned Cesarean section. 

We planned for one thing, and the opposite happened. But isn’t that just motherhood in general? We mothers get busy planning and plotting and then the opposite happens? In fact, after talking with every mother I have ever had the pleasure of meeting, not one of these women has had their “dream delivery.” Our so-called “birth plans” go out the window. The floral robe we wanted to wear in postpartum photos had wrinkles. We weren’t prepared to throw up. We weren’t planning on being so thrilled that our child was born into this world, safe and sound, regardless of the means it took to get them there. 

Strong and Capable

I am a proud C-section mother, but mostly I am a proud mother.

Our children are our children, regardless of being born at home or an operating room. Born crying. Born with complications. Or born to another but calling you “mom.” Our deliveries make up only a very small portion of our chapters in motherhood. In those bigger, better chapters we find that we are stronger and more capable than we ever dreamed in those wee beginnings of becoming a mother.