Reality vs Expectation

My scar hurts right now, my friend shared with me as I explained my recent apprehension to schedule the c-section that has been recommended to me by my doctor at 39 weeks due to the size of my baby relative to the size of me.

She went on to say that her scar had fused to her muscles. Something that could have been prevented with some post-operative massage had she known, alleviating this painful condition that is now a part of her life. Forever. And I curse the society we live in that could give two shits about women’s health, especially when it comes to things like childbirth and motherhood.

Because if it was a man’s problem.

It would be taken care of.

Stories continue to roll in from others about the actual recovery. That maybe on paper looks like an extra day in the hospital and a couple extra weeks in bed. But that in reality sounds…

Fucking terrible.

And I know now that the little voice inside of me was right. That this is not something to go lightly into. And that it is a major surgery that will slice through my entire core having implications farther reaching than what the medical community can sometimes impart.

Like my doctor said himself – there’s science and there’s life. And they are two very different things.

Because every woman is different. And maybe in a few weeks I’ll be up and about. But as a person whose life passions are centered around being physically active. What does recovery look like to me? How long until I feel like me again. And what if never. Will I regret not giving the natural way a chance for years to come as my body heals from what in some way could be considered a preemptive and elective procedure.

Don’t worry about the pain, my doctor assures me.

I wasn’t.

At the time, I was still worried about the method of delivery and wanting to give my daughter the most spiritually holistic experience.

But now…yes…the pain worries me. Because quite frankly it sounds…painful.

And also unpredictable. A risk I’m not sure I’m willing to take unless absolutely necessary.

One that I was almost willing to acquiesce to under an assumption that the procedure wasn’t really that big of a deal. An assumption made in large part by pervasive misogyny that controls maternal health care around the world.

So much so that many women are misled into c-sections for financial gain and convenience on the part of the doctor and insurance companies – an especially rampant practice in Ecuador where they account for over 40% of births.

Not to mention the fact that women are also left hung out to dry after the fact without adequate advice, care or support on how to recover properly and without permanent damage.

Although the c-section certainly does not stand alone in that regard.

Because vaginal deliveries have their own host of repercussions.

As well as byproducts of having a baby such as breastfeeding.

And that’s just purely the physical stuff.

Our bodies ripped to shreds and leaking from every orifice on a journey to repair itself from the inside out in a culture that refuses to recognize the sheer scale of what that entails. Diminishing it to a statistic that says we should be fine in “x” amount of time.

Or rather, we need to be fine whether we are or not.

Despite being mentally, physically and emotionally drained. Most likely under some kind of economic duress. Sleep-deprived and flooded with hormones.

The expectation and not the reality of the situation relayed back to our doctors with a smile and some nods in an effort to appear competent and in control. Myself maybe even being a party to perpetuating the belief that having babies is as easy as said, as it’s done. Saving the truth for friends and confidants in spaces where I feel comfortable talking about all the situations where I still pee my pants. Something a friend says she managed to avoid after her second child with physical therapy to rebuild the pelvic floor. A service that is free in France.

And I’m reminded of how much the system matters, especially when it comes to influencing the perspective. And one that supports the mother invariably creates an environment of respect, rather than one of disruption. A tiny blip that should be taken care of swiftly and without complaint. The average woman in the United States taking ten weeks of leave. Unpaid unless otherwise provided for.

With an appointment looming on Thursday. One where I was fully prepared to say okay to a c-section on Friday. I am now willing to wait for as long as they let me.

Friends, my doctor says with a wary look on his face, are sometimes not the best sources of information.

He tells me as I shift back and forth in my chair, after I casually mention I might consult some women I know who have been through one themselves.

And sometimes…

They can be.

Leave a Reply