I experienced two difficult labors. I have an adroid pelvis and my first labor was 57 hours long with a full dilation 4 hr second stage... and it ended in a C Section. Two years later, second baby, virtually the same labor minus the halluicnations, screaming, BP bottoming out and time, this one was "only" about 26 hrs with a 2 hr + pushing stage... ending in a C Section. Thirteen years after my first child was born (and eleven years after my second) I became pregnant with my third. Again, I had a quadruple high risk pregnancy (pre term labor, on bedrest again since 14 weeks, dealing with a chronic pain issue unrelated to pregnancy plus the aformentioned android pelvis.) We decided that a C Section, as long as I went into labor spontaneously first (not a problem as I had been contracting, as I had with all my pregnancies since 12 weeks) and the fluid showed the lungs were mature, would be our best option.
Our dd was born a bit early I had had so many issues with preterm labor, constant painful contractions, dilation, I had no cervical length since about 24 wks, and didn't know when I got pregnant.Thus, I had no accurate due date. She was a tiny, but healthy baby a little over 5 lbs. One of my friends, who I love dearly, but who had uncomplicated easy pregnancies, short uncomplicated home births (she rarely pushed more than 3 times for each child to be born) said to me, "Oh, Sage was so tiny. You should have at least tried to have a vaginal birth. Maybe she could have been born vaginally." Sadly a few other people threw the same judgmental comment my way. Did they think it was "helpful?"
ARUGHGHGHGHGHHG! Did they think I could go back and do it again? Had any of them had to handle a high risk delivery while dealing with multiple complications AND a chronic pain issue? No. None of them had an adroid pelvis, and few of them even knew what it was or the problems it causes in pregnancy and childbirth.
To me, the most harmful things said to me were from people who thought they were "helping." Like the woman at a LLL meeting who shoved the book The Silent Knife in my hands only weeks after my first unwanted C Section, when I hadn't even processed my emotions about it yet and was still terribly mourning the loss of my "perfect birth" that would NEVER happen.
I've learned in my work as a post partum doula and as a lactation consultant AND as a mother that women who are recently post partum and women who are pregnant are often in a fragile and shaky emotional state. They are open to not only suggestion, but to criticism. One of the worst things one can do to a mother who has recently given birth and has shared her birth story with us is to say, "Well, why didn't you just...?" follow that with anything. Just listen and be kind. This isn't the time to give advice or suggestions. Just let her tell her story, listen and be happy she felt you were trustworthy enough to share such an emotional experience with you.