By Clare Barnett - Nurse/Midwife/Counsellor/Perinatal Specialist
It’s not until you have experienced it that you realise how hard it can be to reply to ‘well-meaning’ people who say the most stupid (read: unthinking, hurtful or plain old ignorant), comments about your caesarian birth.
"Ohhh that must have been nice not feeling any pain"
"Ohh you had a c-section"
"Why did YOU have a c-section?"
"Gosh I'd hate to have had that"
"How nice to schedule when you baby arrives - so practical"
"You have a healthy baby, you should be happy"
It’s a difficult place to be in as they usually have that nice smile, that kind look on their face or tone of voice that sounds something like ‘poor you’, ‘it must be hard for you’ or ‘gosh I’d hate to have had that”.
Difficult because of the mixed message- what they say (which feels not OK), and how they say it (sincere, well meaning and usually trying to be kind).
So what part of the mixed communication do we want to notice and comment on? Here are a few thoughts:
Firstly, just GO WITH and ACCEPT that we are likely to be unconsciously reactive to such comments because, quite frankly, they are often so shocking that we can only react in a fight, flight, freeze or appease way. For instance:
- the Fight reaction- where “WTF’ is out of our mouth before we know it. Oh horror- and exit quickly, or maybe we find it very satisfying and stand our ground with a “how dare she?” attitude (yes, I think most of the unthinking/stupid comments come from other women), and probably try to avoid her from then on.-the startled look and get out of there quick Flight reaction- find the bathroom, find a distracting action to do, just anything that allows us not to hear the cruel or stupid thing they said…