Forever feeling guilty…

I am currently pregnant with baby number two and so there are a lot of things I have been thinking about lately. I had to have an emergency c-section with Max (I wasn’t even in labour, long story) and so one of the main things on my mind is to VBAC or not to VBAC? I will be seeing a consultant soon and I will then be told if I can or can’t even try for a vbac, which having spoken to others, seems like the choice I am (currently) leaning towards. I have thought a lot though about having an elective caesarean. Why though does the thought make me feel guilty? Plenty of people have them, I’ve had one before and so will know what’s coming, and I certainly don’t see it as an ‘easy’ option (the pain and after-care are so much worse).

I think, it is the thought of the look on the mid-wife’s face when I say I am having an elective section. Or just the other mummy’s at the classes I go to, when they cast their judging glance. Firstly, I know I shouldn’t care. My body, my baby, my decision. But why do we all judge each other so much as parents, sometimes when the baby hasn’t even been born yet?!

Then, once you’ve decided how to actually have the baby, there is the choice of breastfeeding or not. I breastfed Max until he was 9 months old, mainly because I just thought ‘it’s what you do’, and of course it was mentioned at every ante-natal appointment. I wouldn’t exactly say I enjoyed it, the early stages were particularly hard and I found it pretty tough but I stuck with it and it became easier. One thing I did do though was express milk. Sometimes, if I knew we had a long journey coming up or just wanted to not breastfeed in public, I would express milk and then Max would be given it through a bottle.

I knew I was giving him breastmilk, and I don’t think there is anything wrong with getting them use to a bottle after a few months, so it didn’t phase me. Sometimes it was a welcome relief. I also think it looks completely different in a bottle to formula so I thought people would be able to tell the difference too. Not so. The amount of times I gave him expressed milk in a bottle and the comments I received or the looks I was given were awful. Why do people have to be so rude and judgemental? Especially as it was actually breast milk. If it wasn’t though, why does it matter to them? If someone chooses to formula feed it is their choice. Sometimes it isn’t even their choice. They may be heartbroken that they can’t breastfeed and the judging looks and comments aren’t going to make anyone else feel any better.

I guess the feeling guilty happens at all stages with a newborn and then it continues to being a toddler. We were recently visiting with a family and I had given Max half a chocolate biscuit. It’s not something he gets everyday, and lets face it, it was only half. He had had a healthy breakfast of porridge and banana, some grapes mid-morning and then roast beef and steamed veg for his lunch. So I didn’t see anything wrong with half a chocolate biscui in the afternoon. Anyway, I digress. The mum of the family said to Max ‘Oh, that is so bad for you’.

Thanks for that.

What was expected that a nearly two year would do? Agree and say ‘Yes, you’re right, I better throw it away’?? I couldn’t believe it. If I make a decision for my child, such as giving him a chocolate biscuit, it is my decision. Why do we feel the need to comment on other mothers decisions, even when they are in the same room?

The list, or should I say guilt, goes on and on. Do I return to work full time? maybe just part time? Become a stay-at-home Mum? Work random hours around the kids so there isn’t the cost of day care? On and on.

And just because others may make a different decision than we have made, lets not comment or judge their choice. Good parents feel guilty pretty much constantly I think, so lets not make each other feel worse.

Who is with me??

Rebecca x

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  • Love all of your posts! Especially love this one though. You raise so many totally true and valid points!

    Just wanted to put my 2 cents in.. I had an emergency section with my eldest, Harry and toyed with the idea of vbac V elective section with my Max for the whole 9 months. I saw 2 different consultant and the first one I saw and every midwife I spoke to urged for a vbac. “They’re so much better for you and for baby”, “the recovery time is much quicker”, “it’s nice to do it naturally..”, “the risks are lower..” I heard it all. Eventually I saw another consultant at about 36 weeks and I just spoke to her honestly about my fears and concerns and she simply said to me that a straight forward vbac would, of course, be better for me, for baby, quicker recovery etc but ultimately it couldn’t be gaurenteed and I also needed to remember that a less stressed me would result In a happier, safer and healthier baby. She also stressed that delivering a baby safety was the ultimate goal and it did NOT matter what the method was. This was a senior consultant and surgeon at St Mary’s maternity hospital in Manchester. And for some reason-whether it be how she spoke to me, what she said, or something else-I suddenly realised that I needed to do what was best for ME and MY baby. Not what the rest of the world though and I should be proud of that. I was booked in for an elective section 2.5 weeks later. And I felt good about it and I still do. I know that I made the right choice for me and Max-but also-for my husband, Ali and our elder son, Harry too. My first section ended with both Harry and I in the high dependency units of 2 separate intensive care units and I couldn’t risk that again for the family I already had. I had Max safety ok theatre on Monday evening, and was up and about on only paracetamol on Tuesday morning. Being prepared for a c-section makes the WORLD of difference. Harry knew mummy’s tummy would be poorly for a little while but that I would be back to normal soon. Within 2 weeks I was taking both boys for walks to the park, doing the shopping etc. I was even well enough to fly to America just under 5 weeks later! Obviously do what’s right for YOU-but I promise an elective section is a good experience. I also promise you’re a great mum whichever you choose! Good luck! X

      • In my birthing class this quoseitn was addressed. Our instructor informed us that it is better to have a planned c-section that an emergency one because laboring can tire both the mother and baby causing unnecessary unforeseen issues. She also told us that a contracting uterus can be harder to cut cleanly then a uterus at rest. HTH.

  • A weird perspective from john a in harrogate … Connie had all three kids c section … First one emergency, second one doctor pushed for it and the last one also emergency. They were all stressful BUT (weird perspective follows) … C section kids have nearly perfectly shaped heads … Some kids have to wear helmets to “reshape” their heads following a normal delivery … But c section kids will have perfectly shaped domes. Shave their heads and they still look beautiful! So, there are positives either way … Also, I’m not sure how much kids really like normal delivery … We have a potato ricer here at the house but I can’t imagine the potatoes like going thru it!

  • I have never felt any sort of parental guilt. Let people judge all they like- do what you deem best for you and the baby. Tell other people to ‘shove it!’

  • Completely get this! Same dilema when I was having number 2. I found that medical staff swayed me towards an elective section and I almost went for it until I read several womens stories about vbacs! Firstly an elective section is less likely to leave you feeling low or struggle as much as an emergency section does. Mine was an emergency one and I felt awful physically & emotionally for a while after, ive friends that because of breech etc have had electives and they were completely fine…however both cases found bonding took longer than with a vaginal birth. For me I weighed up would I feel worse having another failed natural attempt or would I feel worse having an elective section?? For me I came to terms with the fact an emergency section saved one or both of us and I did nothing wrong and why not try again..if I tried id never know. The risk or rupture isn’t as bad as professionals would have you believe and other than a tear I had a successful vbac…i could never have anticipated how different that made me feel, how much quicker I bonded with my daughter and how much self confidence it gave me to be able to say id done it! If it had ended in another emergency section I would have been ok with that too as id accepted within myself id have given it my best shot & for whatever reason that’s what had to be. I’ve no guilt from either birth because of those experiences.

    • How interesting that they pushed you for a section, I thought staff would push vbacs. There doesn’t seem to be much consistency around the country. Thanks for your insight – lots to think about x

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