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-   -   What do you tell your daughter about her birth? (http://www.mothering.com/forum/17256-c-section-birth/1366125-what-do-you-tell-your-daughter-about-her-birth.html)

JoyFilled 10-20-2012 05:03 PM

My 3 year old was asking how she came out.  I said a doctor pulled you out of a cut in my stomach.  I know explaining child birth is confusing for kids but I don't want my daughter to feel that she will have a c-section just because I did.  I feel a bit like I am setting her up to fail by telling her the truth.

 

Thoughts on what to say and what age to say it?

 

*I said daughter because she is the one that will need to trust her body in the birth.


phathui5 10-20-2012 05:16 PM

You can let her know that most babies are pushed out of mom's uterus through the vagina but sometimes it's necessary for a doctor to help a baby to be born by making an opening in the abdomen. 


Monkey Keeper 10-20-2012 08:09 PM

I've had three of my children vaginally and one by c/s. Since my c/s baby was 4.5 when her youngest sister was born and also remembers her brother being born, we've been very clear that they were born one way while she was born another. Her story is along the lines of, "You were so comfy in momma's belly that you didn't want to come out. So the doctors cut an incision right here and pulled you out."  I had PROM and a complete lack of labor for days after a failed induction. She REALLY didn't want to come out :) and it's funny because she definitely identifies with the story.

 

Since I've had 3 babies vaginally, I think that's how my c/s daughter defines birth. I think she sees her birth as an exception, not the rule?

 

ETA:  (I reread your original post and wanted to add more.) We talked about the two different births of DDs 1/2 when I was pregnant with #3, and DD2 was 2.5. We just add more information/detail as they get older.


kgdg 10-21-2012 04:00 PM

my mom always told me i was born by c-section because i was upsidedown. I felt special.


CoBabyMaker 10-23-2012 05:40 PM

We just tell her that they had to cut mommy's tummy to get her out.  We talk about how many mamas push the baby out but it just wasn't how it happened for us.  I have had c-sections with both (2nd was an HBAC transfer) but many of my friends have had homebirths.  We also talk about how some babies are born in the hospital and some babies are born at home, both are ok, just different.


JennJenn84 10-29-2012 10:32 AM

I told my daughter exactly how she was born. I told her that the doctors thought she was going to be a big baby so they cut Mommy open and got her out. I even showed her a video on youtube of a csection. I know to a lot of people, that is extreme. However, I didn't want her having some warped view of it. I also showed her a video of a baby being born the natural way. She thought it was cool. She knows babies are born both ways.

WildKingdom 10-29-2012 11:50 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by JoyFilled View Post

My 3 year old was asking how she came out.  I said a doctor pulled you out of a cut in my stomach.  I know explaining child birth is confusing for kids but I don't want my daughter to feel that she will have a c-section just because I did.  I feel a bit like I am setting her up to fail by telling her the truth.

Thoughts on what to say and what age to say it?

*I said daughter because she is the one that will need to trust her body in the birth.

Hmmm. Didn't realize that having a c-section was a fail.

bmcneal 10-29-2012 12:24 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by WildKingdom View Post


Hmmm. Didn't realize that having a c-section was a fail.

 

Sometimes, at least to the person/people having them, they feel like they failed/failure. I know for me, I felt/feel like I failed my daughter (born via c-section) because I didn't know I could refuse/decline what the doctor said I "had" to do. She was very sick when she was born, a month early, and I felt/feel like there was a good chance she wouldn't have been if I would have stood up for her/me and said no to the doctor. (Who had no medical evidence that the situation was the "emergency" she claimed it to be.)

 

Back on topic, OP, I pretty much tell DD/DS the same thing(s) the previous posters did, that while mommies are created with a way for babies to be born, sometimes things happen, and the baby can't/isn't born that way. I tell her how she was born (c-section) and I tell her about how DS was born (VBAC).


karina5 10-29-2012 01:33 PM

I really hope you don't use the word "fail" with her and upset her unneccesarily. 


greenmulberry 10-29-2012 01:54 PM

I think you should just give her the detail she asks for. I just don't understand how this could be viewed as setting her up to fail. First of all, I don't think a c section is a failure. At all.

 

Secondly, hopefully by the time she is having her own babies, she will be well aware that every woman has a different birthing experience, and how she was born has no impact on how her births will go.
 


cyclamen 10-29-2012 03:32 PM

Gently, mama, I'd say that the issue is that you may have experienced some trauma with your birth.  Understandably, you are concerned about your own child feeling the hurts you have felt.  But her life isn't yours, and while as parents we do have some influence on our children, we don't make them.  We aren't god, kwim?  The part of you that tells you that if you tell your daughter the truth about her birth, that you are setting her up for "failure" is the part of you that wants to make life beautiful for your child.  But it's also connecting things that don't connect.  You may be having some issues with ppd or anxiety.  The line of thought, "If she knows the truth it will ruin her chances for goodness."  That is called a catastrophizing thought.  I would bet that many women here can relate.  I didn't have a traumatic birth, but I had a traumatic childhood and for a solid two years after my daughter was born, I was crippled with the anxiety that I would break her, that I would fail her, and that if I could just do everything perfect she would be okay, and that if I couldn't do everything perfect, I was a failure and I was failing her and that one day she would grow up to be as miserable and emotionally crippled as I was.  Therapy and time have diminished the power those feelings have over me, but they do recur.

 

You didn't fail.  You might feel that one thing is ideal, and it might be, and you might feel depressed or traumatized by the fact that you could not have the good thing you wanted for yourself and your child.  And it's okay for you to feel that way.  But to frame that as failure is something that comes from a judge's voice - not a nurturing place.  I hope you'll be gentle with yourself.


JoyFilled 10-30-2012 12:37 PM

I know that there are different reasons for c-sections but in my case my body failed to do what it was suppose to. Twice.  That is why I say it was a failure.  Just as if my kidneys didn't work I would say kidney failure.  I want my daughter not to think that her body will fail the same way that mom's did.  Just like if I had kidney problems I wouldn't want her to think her kidneys would fail.  And I do not have a VBAC story to share to say that my body ever worked properly. 

 

I want her to have the hope/concept that she can birth naturally.  I feel that if I just keep saying that the doctor cut open my stomach and took her out is not setting her up to birth naturally. 

 

Some of your answers are a bit much and I will refrain from responding.


pittsburrito 10-30-2012 01:18 PM

I wouldn't feel comfortable telling a young child that a doctor cut my stomach open.  That could cause an unnecessary fear of doctors at that age.  My son has noticed my scar before and I told him that it is a very special opening that was unzipped so he could get out of my tummy.  Doctors know how to zip it back up so it won't open again without their help.  (I said that after he asked me to open it.)  He was satisfied with that answer. 


MeepyCat 10-30-2012 03:03 PM

When my kids (ages 3 and 5) ask about their births, they hear the story of how I met them.  There's a little in there about the mechanics - DS was a vaginal birth, DD was a c/s ("we were worried because Mommy was sick, and the doctors thought you might get hurt inside me, so I had an operation to help you be born") - true, if vague on the details in both cases.  Mostly, they want to hear about themselves, so the stories are largely stories about babies.  We spend a lot of time talking about precious tiny fingers and toes, and very little time talking about the process.

 

Human birth is a weird little evolutionary hiccup that doesn't always go so well.  We have large brains and proportionally small pelvises, and sometimes vaginal birth does not work out, but it's hard to say, because of that, that our bodies "fail" when we can't give birth vaginally.  The same arrangement that makes birth difficult makes it possible for us to walk and think.  My body didn't "fail", it just doesn't perform equally well in all of its disparate functions. 

 

I have a perfectly good body, functionally speaking - I can run half a marathon and carry a kiddo on each hip.  I have a perfectly good brain - I can read two languages and argue on the internet.  Birth has not gone particularly well for me - the descriptions for the children are incredibly vague, and a c-section would have been a mercy that first time out.  What happened to me was random lousy luck, of the kind that can hit anyone, and does hit thousands of women every day.

 

In some defense of my body's (or anybody's) unspectacular history with birthing, it's not really possible to *practice* giving birth.  I couldn't run 13.1 miles the first time I went for a jog, and I didn't expect to.  I had a lot of help learning French.  I couldn't just get out of bed one day after never lifting more then five pounds ever and indulge a 45 lb. kid by carrying him to the bathroom so his feet won't get cold.  I worked up to all that.  As opposed to birthing, when we all pretty much have to start from somewhere short of zero, with pre-strained ab muscles and limited lung volume, to attempt to do something really difficult that there are very few ways anyone could possibly help us with (and, for bonus points, the kids can't help us out the way they can with heavy lifting when they're older).

 

Were my daughter to get hit by random lousy luck, and give birth to her children surgically, I would not want to have suggested that this is the same thing as failure.


QMtwins 11-02-2012 10:24 AM

On the doorstep to a second c-section, for a breech twin this time, I am reading this.  Two girls for us thus far and we'll find out in a few days if there will be two more daughters or sons.  Right now my sweet little ones think babies come out of my belly button.  As they question, I will honestly answer their questions and meet them at their level. 

Admittedly, I do feel as if my body, which should biologically be designed to give birth, has failed me.  I hope that by the time my kiddos are old enough to have a conversation about birth and the emotions/processes that I am able to talk with them openly about my disappointment and sadness and how I have coped/processed those emotions.  AS a dear friend has advised me and comforted me for some time, these are the life events that contribute to us and I will be "more," for these things.  I am working, hopfully with grace, towards finding peace with my birth experiences. 

I do think we need to be cautious when we tell folks that they shouldn't feel like a failure.  I am honoring my feelings and working with them and I think we owe that to each other. 


cyclamen 11-02-2012 10:46 AM

QMtwins, I agree that it's important honor that everyone has different feelings about their births and that to have those feelings is important, human, and to be respected.  But I do think there's a big difference between honoring the feeling we have - honoring that it is ok to feel like one's body has failed, to grieve what could have been, and work through all that at one's own pace - and accepting the cognitive distortion that feeling like a failure means that one is a failure. 


pittsburrito 11-02-2012 02:45 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by cyclamen View Post

QMtwins, I agree that it's important honor that everyone has different feelings about their births and that to have those feelings is important, human, and to be respected.  But I do think there's a big difference between honoring the feeling we have - honoring that it is ok to feel like one's body has failed, to grieve what could have been, and work through all that at one's own pace - and accepting the cognitive distortion that feeling like a failure means that one is a failure. 


Totally agree.  Been there done that.  Don't want to pass any "failure" messages on to my child. 

I like what MeepyCat said about focusing on the child when retelling their birth story, making it a story about them rather than you.


fireweed 11-02-2012 02:52 PM

A friend of mine told her kids that they came out the emergency escape hatch. Good for a chuckle:)


MrsGregory 11-02-2012 02:55 PM

Ya'know, this is one point on which I think my own mother did well.  She pulled no punches.  She described over 24 hours of screaming agony and fear prior to my arrival.  She assured me that birth goes this way for all our women.  When I told her there was no way in hell I was ever doing that, she didn't like it, but finally accepted it.  (She was very happy to be surprised by her granddaughter's imminent arrival.)

 

I'll be just as honest with my daughter.  We have a long, proud history of making birth as difficult as possible without actually having some kind of emergency that would require us to be blissfully relieved of consciousness and further effort.  Seriously.  Day-long labors are our average.  Isn't that peachy?

 

irked.gif
 


McGucks 11-04-2012 05:43 PM

I have two sons, so I am not exactly responding to the OP's question, but I think one of the few "bonuses" of having a c-section is that I am very comfortable showing DS2 the incision and explaining that I needed help to get him out, so the doctor eased him out through that place.

 

My first son was a vaginal delivery.  He'll get no such visuals :)

 

I tell them both about how happy I was to meet them and how they were so good at nursing, right from the start.  I tell them about who came to meet them in the birthing center.

 

I am not one to give more information than is exactly asked for, procedure-wise.


Altair 11-08-2012 07:12 PM

I've always used the phrase "needed help" also.  When I was pregnant with my son  i told him that most babies are born between the mommy's legs, and she pushes them out, like when we go to the bathroom.  That I tried and tired to push him out at home, but then I decided he was a little too stuck and I needed the DR to help me, so the DR helped me get him out of my belly by making a hole.  I told him I was going to try the same with his sister-- to push her out in our home, but if I needed some help then I would go to the hospital and he could come visit me the next day and push me up and down the hospital bed (seriously, this broke them tension SO WELL when he met his sister).

 

I'll tell her the same.  Most babies come out between your legs when you push, but sometimes you need some extra help and then they make a hole in your belly to help the baby come out safely.  I don't think that will make her think she can't do it.  My mom always told me birth horror stories, and I was still a HB advocate. 
 


fayebond 11-16-2012 12:17 PM

I sympathize with the feeling of having failed, and the equal strong feeling of no-way-I-didn't-fail-no-one-fails.  Both came from the trauma and feelings that I hadn't resolved.  Probably still not completely resolved, but for the moment, they are at rest and I'm just trying to make DD's story revolve around my love for her.  I plan to tell DD the same story I tell other people now.  That she is 100% worth the effort, but I made some mistakes with her that I am trying not to repeat.  That I let her come out through my belly button, and boy was she alot of work, just like when her sibling came out the natural way, and I did it because I love her and I wanted to meet her so badly.   My mom had a natural birth with me, a CS with one sister, and natural births with all the other siblings.  She always made it sound like that was all normal, we were all worth it, but it was hard work either way!  So I always had CS in my head as this thing that you get done when you have tried everything else to get the baby out, not as any reflection on myself (that came later, after I had one of my own to work out in my head).

 

 Remember, she's a kid: the world revolves around her and how she feels, so as long as its a story about her, and how much you love her, its all good.  



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