How to help a friend with a C-Birth - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 11 Old 03-26-2003, 11:14 PM - Thread Starter
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My very dear friend had a C-Birth on Sunday and it seems to very hard for her. She went natural for 16 hours and then had to have an emergency C-birth. She has said that she just cries and I want to help in supporting her and working thought this and I know it is normal and healthy to morn for the loss of a V-birth but to anyone who has had a C-birth after wanting a V-birth badly what made you feel better? What helped? What did people say to make you feel worse (just so I know what not to say). We were only due 1 day apart and I am still preggo so I want to make sure I dont over do myself and make her feel bad. I know she is having a hard time with them not letting her see her baby after the birth and BF has been hard too. I really want to help and be of suport but I also don't want to make it more painful. Just looking for our thoughts to help my friend. Also we live in different countires so I really can't go help her with anything- it is mostly e-mail and losts of cyber hugs!

[B][I]~Ang~ Mom to 2 sport-head crazy girls: Rainey and Breeze 
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 and my little lost love- @18 weeks with gestational age of 7 weeks
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#2 of 11 Old 03-26-2003, 11:32 PM
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Maybe you could let her do most of the talking. Maybe you could direct her to these discussion boards so that she could read the threads about women who have had c-secs (I am one of them) and she could have a place to express herself.

Maybe you could tell her that you are happy that she has a healthy baby and provide her with the numbers of local LLL groups. I don't know what country she is in, but there are groups in lots of countries. If she is having trouble nursing, then hopefully she can get help locally. Just check out their website

Just telling her that you love her and you are there to listen is a wonderful thing.
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#3 of 11 Old 03-27-2003, 02:48 AM
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I see your from Ann Arbor I am also in Metro Detroit area check out have a chapter opening in Ann Arbor sometime. They are a wonderful bunch of moms and have alot of resources and info about birth and also c-sections and future VBACS. Even though right now she is focused on this birth.

I being a mom who had 2 c-sections neither wanted or planned and the second one being very difficult because I went the extra step of using a birthing center run by a midwife and worked very hard for a VBAC. Anyway there was really nothing anyone could say to make me feel better. I had some great friends who listened and made sure to make me not feel like I was being petty because i was upset about my c-sec. Listen to your friend,let her know that she has every right to be upset and disappointed. It really is like a mourning process and for some it takes longer to work thru, be patient with her. It is very kind of you to take this extra step so you can help your friend.
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#4 of 11 Old 03-27-2003, 03:18 AM
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I agree that just listening to her is the most important thing. I just had an emergency C-section after 12 hours of labor without pain medication a couple of weeks ago. My first was born at home with a midwife, with no intervention whatsoever. It has been very hard and people really do not want to go past "Well, at least you have a healthy baby, that's all that really matters." They don't want to know how painful the recovery is or how you feel something was taken from you, or that you did not really give birth, etc. I think it is very important for C/S moms to know it is okay to be happy about the baby and still be sad about the birth experience. Being able to tell you what no one else is willing to hear her say will be of tremendous benefit to her.

Also, ditto the La Leche League advice. She absolutely should find someone who can help her with the breastfeeding. I'm so sorry that is not going well for her at least. I also was not able to breastfeed on the table and she was given formula. Fortunately they finger fed her, so she took to the breast later. My sister had trouble breastfeeding after a difficult birth and I was able to help her one on one and she was also able to find a LLL leader whose home she could go to for one on one help. It makes such a difference to have someone help you in person. If nothing else she could go to a meeting and get some help there. It will also be good for her to get out, too.

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#5 of 11 Old 03-27-2003, 07:21 AM
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It's been said, but listening is such a gift. I had an emergency c section and it was the most traumatic thing I've ever been through. People are so anxious to rush you to feel happy! "but your baby is beautiful and everything is ok!"

I still need to talk about it from time to time and dd is almost 2. All the feelings recur at various times (her birthday, her true due date (she was a preemie), when I read other birth stories, when I think about having another baby) People get uncomfortable listening.....even dh.

I believe that for some people (like me) talking is all that really helps to process all the feelings....

Good for you for being such a good friend.
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#6 of 11 Old 03-27-2003, 10:23 AM
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What a great friend you are. I can tell you're very sensitive, but some things I heard (well-intended) that I didn't want to:

Where you disappointed?

I'm sorry!

The old "but you have a healthy baby and that's what counts"

And these things make me cringe when I hear them from people who either know I've had a cesarean delivery or are just finding out:

People recounting their birth experience that haven't had a cesarean delivery saying that was the worst thing that could happen (or in some similar context.)

Those who kind of treat you differently when they find out.

For some people it takes a long time to process, and for some (myself included) not. I got through the anger/grief rather quickly and didn't want people acting like it was the end of the world or a funeral! It sounds like you're sensitive enough to read her cues.
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#7 of 11 Old 03-27-2003, 11:01 AM
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The best thing to do is let her grieve, and let her talk about it with you. Having a c-section is a huge disappointement to a lot of women, because it wasn't supposed to happen to them and they often feel that their bodies failed them.

It's going to take some time for her to feel better, but she may never feel good about the c-section, especially if she doesn't believe that it was necessary. She may always feel that this is a bad memory for her.

There is a great non profit out there for women who've had c-section, but I can't remember the name. Maybe someone else knows the name.

The other thing is saying,"well you got a healthy baby and that is what matters," does not help the mother at all. That statement negates her feelings, and her feelings are important.

Letting her know that you understand, and are a person she can talk to truthfully is going to help her a lot. You sound like a great friend.
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#8 of 11 Old 03-27-2003, 01:00 PM
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I am still healing--emotionally--from my c-sec. five weeks ago. I imagine I will be for quite some time. For me what helps is talking about it, although I wasn't ready to do so for a few weeks. All of the post-preg emotions combined with the grief were just too much, so I blocked out the c-section for a while. What I've found most helpful is taking baths with my babies. I think it is theraputic for them too. I'm not sure how long you have to wait after a c-section to take a bath, but this is something you could suggest to your friend.


Mindfully mothering SIX kids (ages 6, 7, 8, 10, 12 & 12) in a small house with a lot of love.
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#9 of 11 Old 03-27-2003, 05:28 PM
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RE: the healthy baby thing. I didn't mean to say 'You have a healthy baby and that's all that matters" Good thing you ladies pointed that out. I just meant that when she talks about the baby, focus on the health and happiness of the baby and the positives of her new babe, but not in a way that you somehow want to "cancel out" the fact that the babe was born via C-sec. Does that make any sense?:
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#10 of 11 Old 03-28-2003, 01:15 PM
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Here is a great article:

Making Peace with Your Birth Experience
By Kathleen Kendall-Tackett, PhD
From: La Leche League's :bf NEW BEGINNINGS magazine, Vol. 19 No. 2, March-April 2002, pp. 44-47

10 - boy
5.5 - girl
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#11 of 11 Old 03-28-2003, 01:40 PM
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What chapped my hide more than anything after ds 1 was born by c-sec was the,"well maybe you can get it right next time>" comment... Like something i did made it wrong or something.. No body wants major surgery, so that one really got me... I didn't really mind the c-sec except the recovery was VERY hard for me..

Just be the.. Sec birth stories are really different from vag birth stories.. Just let her talk about it the way you would with anyone else.. That's how we assimilate what happens..

Warm Squishy Feelings...


It's lonely being the only XX in a house of XYs.
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