5 Ways to Combat C-Section Judgement

Couldn't deliver vaginally? How to handle the haters.

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Brooke Kyle, M.D., an obstetrician in Eugene, Ore., birthed all three of her kids via Caesarean section. "There's pressure that makes people feel like their birth is less worthy if they have to choose a C-section," Kyle says. At first, she felt beaten that she couldn't deliver vaginally, but "now I own it and I'm proud of my birth experience," she says. You can, too!

Dismiss the haters

To quiet the critics—both outsiders and the one in your own head—"Arm yourself with the knowledge of why the choice is best for your baby," Kyle says. The truth, for example that delivering a breech baby vaginally may put your peanut at risk, will set your mind free.

Related: Why Docs Perform C-Sections for Babies in Breech

Make a mantra

Even Kyle has met people who talked down to her ("You didn't have a vaginal birth, so you don't know what it's really like"). To counter all the negativity, she repeated a positive (and true!) mantra: "I am strong, I am a good mother and I will rock this birth." You'll build confidence by validating your unique experience even before you get to the OR.

Get acquainted

You may be surprised at the number of people on hand during surgery—doctors, nurses, an anesthesiologist and a baby health team can make the room feel like a three ring circus. Kyle recommends asking for introductions so the experience is more personal. "Everyone in this room is devoted to you and your baby, and we're all gathered to celebrate you both," Kyle says.

Related: Create a Zen Delivery Room: Your Field Guide to Birthing Personnel

Speak up about skin to skin

Some hospitals' policies or doctors' preferences default to cleaning and doing APGAR testing before placing your baby on your chest. If you'd rather have immediate skin-to-skin contact, make that clear ahead of time. Barring complications, it shouldn't be a problem to place your tiny one on you as you're stitched up.

Turn to video

If your baby's a preemie or suffered fetal distress, she may need to go straight to the NICU to be monitored, leaving you behind. The separation can be devastating, so have your birth partner bring you video of your little one. "That was the only way I got through the two hours in the recovery room," Kyle says.