I’ve seen on several blogs lately that April is Cesarean Awareness Month, which sounds pretty cool on the surface of it. Let’s talk about our C-sections! Let’s share our experiences (here’s mine). Let’s talk about realities versus perceptions, the good (babies!) and the bad (weird numb incision sites). Let’s commiserate about how those pneumatic anti-blood-clot things they make you wear on your legs in the recovery room are really loud and obnoxious.
There’s just one little problem.
Turns out that’s not what Cesarean Awareness Month is about.
No, some quick Googling taught me that CAM is put on by a group called ICAN (the “International Cesarean Awareness Network”), to whom I will not link. ICAN’s mission is to reduce the number of C-sections performed. Their “educational” material is all about how risky C-sections are*, how to avoid an “unnecessary” C-section**, and how to get over the disappointment that of course you’ll experience if you have one.***
They mean “Cesarean awareness” in the same way that other groups talk about “breast cancer awareness,” as though C-sections were a disease that needed to be eradicated. They even have a ribbon for it! (It’s burgundy, in case you’re curious.)
Don’t do that.
Don’t hang a ribbon for me because I was born by C-section. Don’t hang a ribbon for me because I gave birth by C-section. Don’t act like either of those is a terrible, terrible thing that makes me unhealthy and traumatized. Don’t act like I didn’t make the safest choice for my baby, and that my mom didn’t make the safest choice for me.
*All things being equal, yes, surgery is riskier (to the mom). All things are not always equal. It’s not like vaginal birth is risk-free, either.
**Can we please stop with the false narrative that most Cesareans are unnecessary, and instead focus on actually improving maternal health?
***And can we please, please stop acting like C-sections are an inherently traumatizing experience?