Feeling Bad About Your Unexpected C-Section? You're Not Alone

Bringing a baby into the world is supposed to be one of the happiest events in a woman’s life, but often there are things that can make a new mother feel sad, exhausted, and overwhelmed. One of those things is having an unexpected C-section.

If you’ve recently had an unexpected C-section and are experiencing mixed emotions about it, you’re not alone. The following feelings are common after having a C-section that you were not planning:

Shock

Many women, especially young women, assume they will have a natural birth. But sometimes, life throws us a curveball in the form of unforeseen complications or 20+ hour labors that simply won’t progress. Often, C-sections are necessary for the health of the baby, mother, or both.

It’s very normal, however, to feel shocked at this unexpected turn of events. You thought about this day for months and you’ve physically taken very good care of yourself, so a C-sections seems to be the ending you simply didn’t want or plan for.

Women should always speak with their doctors before the delivery date to understand what kinds of things may occur that could result in the need for a C-section so they can manage their expectations of the big day.

Sadness

It is common and perfectly normal to feel sad that you and your husband or partner didn’t get to experience the “normal” birth event. In a C-section scenario, the husband is not allowed in the OR and new parents don’t get to immediately hold the baby or get those brand new baby pictures to immediately upload to Instagram. The rush and fear of sudden surgery means that magical, special moment of parents connecting with child is gone – or at least, postponed.

Feeling sadness and grief for that loss is understandable. You are not alone in that: This is a very common feeling amongst new mothers who have an unexpected C-section.

You Feel Like a Failure

Women throughout the centuries, throughout the millennia, have had “normal” vaginal births. Maybe you come from one of those families were every female has had a vaginal birth. But you, you HAD to go and have a C-section.

Many women feel guilt and shame after having a C-section, like they somehow didn’t do something right. They should have taken more supplements. They should have exercised more during pregnancy. They should have pushed longer and harder before “giving up.”

Feelings of inadequacy are, unfortunately, a big part of being a parent. But you can feel like an absolute failure when you feel the actually childbirth was a complete flop.

It’s important to remember you did nothing wrong. Repeat that with me: You. Did. Nothing. Wrong.

There were serious medical circumstances surrounding your required C-section. If you feel the need to know exactly “what went wrong,” feel free to schedule an appointment with your OBGYN, who can help you try and make sense of what happened.

You Feel Bad About Feeling Bad

Perhaps the most frustrating emotion many women feel is feeling bad about the fact that they feel bad. Despite the fact that both mother and baby are healthy, many women still feel distressed about the surgery and ashamed that they feel this way even though everything turned out fine.

The best thing to do in this circumstance is to not pretend that you’re okay, but ask for help. Just because you think you should feel joyful doesn’t mean you do. If you are feeling any of the emotions listed, seek guidance from a professional counselor who can help you process your emotions and make sense of everything.

If you’re a new mother who is struggling with having a C-section and you’d like to explore treament, please contact me today. I would be happy to speak with you about how I may be able to help.

MotherhoodMandi Penney