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Irrational Jealousy and Blame (Jessica)

September 25, 2008

I started back at work 5 weeks postpartum and let me tell you…nursing (the profession) and nursing (breastfeeding) don’t go well together! In a 14 hr day I had the chance to pump one (maybe 2) times. It’s not really the “chance” to. I have to make myself stop what I am doing and go. I literally have to choose whether to pump or eat. I do paper work while I pump so I don’t get behind. I told my husband that I hope he likes saggy boobs because what goes up must come down…and being engorged for 5 hrs straight is not helping the matter!

I haven’t really had postpartum depression but I had a good breakdown this week. I will probably sound nuts, but I’m going to share this anyways. Since I’ve had Natalie, 3 of my friends have had babies…2 were born on the same day in fact! All 3 were born vaginally and none of the mommies got stretch marks. Even though I was supposed to be so happy for them, I felt this jealousy deep down inside that I couldn’t control. It then turned into this thought that I wasn’t supposed to be a mother because back in the day (before csections) I would have died in childbirth.

Now, a logical person would be happy for csections because it allowed me and my child to live through a child birth that wouldn’t have taken place. But, no…I continued to feel this negative feeling. Then, I couldn’t help but to think it (the csection) was caused by them inducing me. It was their fault. A logical person would think it’s a good thing that they induced me because my amniotic fluid levels were low. But no…I thought “well, they wouldn’t have even known if they wouldn’t have done that ultrasound at 39 weeks…none of my other friends had one done that late.” I mean, here I am with a perfectly healthy child wishing they wouldn’t have checked my fluid levels! Doesnt that sound pretty much insane?? I mean, I was crying my eyes out.

I can only explain it like this…a man who can’t have children feels like he has no manhood. Part of my womanhood felt like it was taken away when the “took” her out of me. I wanted to push her out and give birth to her. I have yet to say that I gave birth to her. I grew her and nourished her but I wanted to birth her….and my body has the battle scars. It makes me feel like less of a woman, I guess. And yes, maybe next time…but there wouldn’t have been a next time back in the day. (That’s the thinking pattern right now, and I do realize that it’s not optimistic but feelings are feelings).

Here are some photos of me before, during, and after the pregnancy. I’m 7 weeks postpartum.










Updated here and here.

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28 Responses to “Irrational Jealousy and Blame (Jessica)”

  1. Bonnie (SOAM) Says:
    September 25th, 2008 at 8:19 pm

    I just wanted to say that you are not alone in how you feel about your cesarean. And it’s OK to feel that way, even though you do have a healthy baby. It is a loss of sorts – a loss of the birth you imagined. And you are allowed to grieve that loss. I strongly suggest you check out ICAN (link in the sidebar) for support and info about c-sections.

    YOU WERE MEANT TO BE A MOMMY.

  2. Sebrina Says:
    September 25th, 2008 at 8:22 pm

    I totally understand where you are coming from. I too had csections ( 2 of them) and felt like you are feeling. I do promise that that feeling will go away. In the end, you have a healthy beautiful little girl. You are beautiful and so is your daughter. I love the pictures, esp the one of the baby inthe hands, gorgeous!!!

  3. Jill Says:
    September 25th, 2008 at 8:57 pm

    Oh, sweetie. Please don’t beat yourself up. I know all too well how you feel, I remember feeling the same way after my C-section with my first son. I even told myself the same “back in the day I would have died” line, but back in the day you wouldn’t have been induced, and being induced sends your chances of being sectioned through the roof! No wonder 1 in 3 women is sectioned when almost ALL of them get induced! I can tell you that the feelings will pass, you will feel better, and you will realize someday that you aren’t broken…the medical system is! There can definitely be a “next time.” Don’t blame yourself. You may not have birthed with your vagina but you still BIRTHED. And that’s pretty awesome! :)

  4. Berni Says:
    September 26th, 2008 at 2:25 am

    Hi, I can relate to exactley how you feel. I had an emergency C section and I feel like ‘less of a women. Like you I wanted to birth my baby. Its now 4 months since my son was born and I’m feeling alot better about it as I’m sure you will in time. You look great for only 7 weeks postpartum :)

  5. Amanda Says:
    September 26th, 2008 at 6:06 am

    I felt (and still feel) the exact same way about my c-section. I wasn’t induced and my labor went picture perfect (no meds, completely natural) until I reached 10 cm and they broke my water. I pushed and pushed and NOTHING happened. To make a long story short, I ended up giving in and having the c-section. I’ve regretted it every day, not because of my beautiful daughter but because I’ll always wonder if there was something ELSE I could have done before giving in. I’m determined with my next to have a home birth because I NEVER want to be cut open again. As another woman said, it’s okay to have those feelings about your c-section and I definitely recommend checking out http://www.ican-online.org/

  6. Margi Says:
    September 26th, 2008 at 6:27 am

    Firstly, the stretch marks will fade. Secondly, you may have had a c-section but I gave birth vaginally and now I am much looser down their and sometimes wish I had a c-section. Vaginal births are natural but they also run the risk of getting prolapses and incontinence. Also, how do you know none of your friends got stretch marks, have they all shown you their whole bodies?

    The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence…

  7. Heather Says:
    September 26th, 2008 at 8:49 am

    I’ve never had cesarean, but I found this article that helped me understand a little more about what is hurtful to say to women who’ve had cesareans. (http://www.plus-size-pregnancy.org/CSANDVBAC/shouldbegrateful.htm)
    I recommend it a lot.

  8. kukunariss Says:
    September 26th, 2008 at 10:48 am

    I’m quite surprised because I didn’t realize that I’m not the only one who feels guilty about the c-section. Although my sweet daughter is absolutely gorgeous and perfectly healthy, it just doesn’t go through my mouth that I GAVE BIRTH to her. I always say that she WAS BORN – and there is a difference for me. Which is interesting on the other hand, because if it was about anybody else (like the author) it wouldn’t make the difference… would it for you..?

  9. miranda Says:
    September 26th, 2008 at 12:02 pm

    Hey…when I gave birth, I imagined my little girl being put on my chest and breastfeeding right away. It took a week for my colostrum to come in and by then she wasn’t having anything to do with the breast. I didn’t get the chance to breastfeed, each time I brought to my breast to attempt to feed she would scream at me…I felt like a horrible new mommy. With the rush or hormones going through my body just thinking about it made me cry. My mom had to take her for a couple of nights as I had to be restitched which also brought tears to my eyes….

    the point I’m trying to make is there’s no ‘perfect’ birth. Jill is right, don’t beat yourself up. Your body grew a very beautiful girl, don’t let society tell you that you’re not a less of a woman because it didn’t go the way you planned.

  10. Bonnie (SOAM) Says:
    September 26th, 2008 at 12:52 pm

    For the record, there are health risks including prolapses (I think) involved in c-sections, too. The grass is not always greener. We are glad when they save lives, but in too many cases, they are unnecessary.

  11. angelica Says:
    September 26th, 2008 at 5:28 pm

    Hi!
    let me tell you that you look great for 7 pp.
    i have my baby girl 2 months ago and it was by c-section!, and i don’t feel less of a woman because i didn’t give birth in the “normal” way, is just another way to have children and is beautiful, you shouldn’t feel lees of a woman because you take care of your baby, you love gher you feed her!!.
    congrats for your baby

  12. Rachel Says:
    September 26th, 2008 at 10:55 pm

    You are normal and should know that many Women in your position would feel the same way. I would. Please take care not to judge yourself too harshly. I have read that many women feel cheated after cesarians. Your response is healthy and SO normal… Just try not to dwell on it too long. You and your daughter are beautiful! No matter how she got out, you are no less her mother, and the only one she’ll ever have. That is the most special part.

  13. MilkMama Says:
    September 27th, 2008 at 11:52 am

    You’re only 7 weeks PP. It takes a while to heal. My own delivery was pretty traumatic. I delivered vaginally, but just barely. My daughter was posterior, we had to use the vacuum, I had a huge episiotomy, the pain meds made me get an intestinal obstruction, resulting in an ER visit 6 days PP. And I was induced, my epidural didn’t work so I felt every bit of that posterior delivery. I often look back and feel horribly about it. For weeks, months even, I cried when I thought about it. And even now, 22 months PP, if anybody asks me if I want any more children, I say “maybe” because right now I still remember that birth like it was yesterday and I DO NOT want to be pregnant again.
    I wish it could have gone better. And I know your delivery wasn’t much better than mine. All I can say is that I feel a lot better about my delivery today than 22 months ago. It does get better, with time. And your belly gets flatter and your stretchmarks fade, too.
    I hope that you can continue to pump when you can and breastfeed on the days off, too. I’ve been nursing my dd for 22 months now. She’s addicted to the booby, what can I say?

  14. Heather Says:
    September 30th, 2008 at 5:14 pm

    Your story will speak to some many women, I can see it already has. The emotions you feel after a c/s are normal and need to be worked through.

    Check out http://www.ican-online.org/recovery/impact-cesarean-or-curing-emotional-wounds-cesarean
    That is the ican website (International Cesarean Awareness Network).

    and, vbac.com to help you get the vaginal birth after cesarean you long for, and help you move forward.

    Bless your heart.

  15. happyforyou Says:
    October 6th, 2008 at 12:25 pm

    you have a much more beautiful body after :) honest you do.

  16. Lil Red Says:
    October 14th, 2008 at 7:46 pm

    I want to say thank you to all the women that have responded to this blog. This women is my best friend and this is something that I try to support her in but I cannot relate to her, due to not having children. Thank you for all your helpful words and thoughts. And Girl I am so glad that you found this support!

  17. lilmansmomma07 Says:
    October 28th, 2008 at 9:59 am

    I swear I wrote this! I was induced for the same reason, and I wonder what would’ve/could’ve happened if I hadnt been. I thank God for my supportive hubby who tries to tell me that I was too skinny for him before pregnancy. LOL I’m sure, thats why he married me, right? Keep ur head up tho momma, u look good and there’s always next time!

  18. Whit Says:
    November 23rd, 2008 at 12:22 pm

    Your story sounds just like mine. I was induced because of low amniotic fluid and my Bishop score was 0 (anything under 6 is likely to mean a failed induction). The docs brushed off my concerns and convinced me to do it anyway. I never even made it to the Pitocin – the contractions caused by the Cervadil were enough to cause repeated decels in my daughter. I now wonder if they could have done an amnioinfusion instead (I think they could have) and let me deliver vaginally. Now that I’m stuck in VBAC territory, my chances of avoiding intervention next time are close to nil. Because of that, I want to birth at home next time (I’m 10 min away from the hospital in case something goes wrong). There’s no way I’m setting foot inside a hospital without a midwife or doula by my side so I have an advocate who knows when there are other options. And SCREW inductions. All but one woman that I know who has been induced has had a c-section, serious tearing or other serious trauma.

    I’m 17 months pp and though my immediate recovery went well, I have abdominal wall adhesions now that my it feel like someone is grabbing & pulling me from the inside if I bend over too long.

    So, you’re not alone. A lot of us are damned mad and feel cheated, especially when we feel the doctor did it more for their malpractice insurance premiums and their paycheck, rather than because it was essential.

  19. Whit Says:
    November 23rd, 2008 at 12:27 pm

    Oh, and regarding the nursing, don’t give up! Talk to your boss about taking short breaks every 3 hours. Surely being medical professionals they know that it’s best for you AND your baby for you to continue nursing. I’m still nursing my daughter and it’s done a lot to keep me from feeling completely cheated. <>

  20. Valarie Says:
    December 10th, 2008 at 1:12 am

    How you’re feeling is completely normal, especially after a cesarean. So many are done unnecessarily, even when they seem justified by the doctors.

    Definitely check into ICAN and then come check out a board I host for VBACs. It’s more of an option that you could ever imagine!
    err the site is down for maintence. it’s Justmommies.com and go to the Vaginal Birth After Cesarean board. There’s also a C-section Grief board.

    And you look SO good mama! SO SO much better than you will ever see yourself. Remember why we’re here on this blog, and it’s to share in how we look with other women. Your friends may not have gotten stretch marks, but they will be dealing with their bodies in their own ways.

    ((hugs)) You really do look so good!

  21. sam Says:
    April 1st, 2009 at 9:07 pm

    wow, your story is so REAL, and you are so courageous for sharing it! don’t ever feel like your feelings about birthing by c-section are irrational–women DO feel a real loss at not actually pushing our babies out. you are not alone. i was sectioned fir my first child and shared so many of your feelings of grief. my boy weighed 9 1/2 lbs (i am 5’2″ and 100 lbs), and most people would believe that birthing these huge babies was just not in my future. i’d love to encourage you: 5 months ago i had a beautiful VBAC and was really rewarded by the experience! i also want to share that if your baby and body require you to have a section again, that you are every bit as wonderful and capable as if you birth vaginally. a thought…consider seeing a midwife in your next birth, as it may help you feel more confident that if you need another section, it was really necessary, and avoid some of the doubts you are struggling with. oh, and you look STUNNING! way to go, mom.

  22. Nina Says:
    July 16th, 2009 at 1:31 am

    I can hardly read this without choking up. I am 4 weeks pp and had a planned c section in the best interest of my son. I was going to be induced and told would most likely have a cesection because of scar tissue from endometriosis and previous surgery to my uterus. I feel like I made the wrong ecision. My son is perfect and active and healthy and I love him so much but I cry every day wishing I could have felt child birth. I know I should be happy but my body is a train wreck and I got cheated out of something everyone ays is the most wonderful experience. I feel horrible. I hope these feeling go away but until then remember you are not alone. I always thought I did not care about a natural childbirth until I did not have one.

  23. Laurie Says:
    July 17th, 2009 at 3:06 am

    Just wanted to say that your feelings are legitimate. I didn’t have a c-section, but I had my baby pulled out by vacuum as a last resort, and it made me feel like I had failed because I couldn’t push her out myself. I felt like I had failed in my first vital task of mothering. Unfortunately, there are many women who feel the same way we do.
    I am currently working through my feelings by becoming more educated about birth for my next pregnancy. I feel like I did fail myself a bit, by letting decisions be made for me during my daughters birth, that led to the outcome I had. This time, I am armed to the teeth with knowledge, and able to make informed decisions about my care. I hope this makes a difference to my next experience and that will help heal me from my first!
    Oh, by the way, your ‘before’ pictures make me wish I had some taken! The only record of my non-stretch-marked naked body is in my fuzzy memory! You look beautiful in all of them :)

  24. Greg Says:
    August 24th, 2009 at 6:50 am

    You look great in these photos, there is no reason at all for a loss of confidence on your part. Your breasts look great in both sets of photos, they don’t look like they are sagging at all.

  25. Tammy Says:
    January 13th, 2010 at 2:25 am

    I feel exactly like you – but my daughter was breech so I am mad at her for being so – I tried everything to turn her but she would not budge – I also think back to “in the day” she would have been born that way but nowadays they are not – and logically I can see she could have been hurt or even brain damaged so did not want that but just can not feel any better about it. I look at my brother whow was breech and born naturally and is fine so can’t help but wonder. I have had a natural birth too which was not rosey either needing a further operation for complications but it was much better than this. My heart aches so much just like yours

  26. Bonnie (SOAM) Says:
    January 13th, 2010 at 10:24 am

    Tammy, I believe that in many cases breech babies *can* be born safely when the care provider (be it doctor or midwife) is well-educated and practiced in breech births. The problem is that most doctors these days are not educated in how to safely birth a breech baby and most midwives do not get to experience a lot of these births. It’s a sad climate we are living in, in regards to this.

    And, regardless of social climate, you have EVERY right to be angry. We cannot heal until we embrace our feelings and work through them. It’s absolutely OK to be angry with your daughter, but I do suggest you make it a priority to work through those feelings.

    Hugs, mama

  27. Jamie-lee Says:
    June 17th, 2010 at 7:12 am

    You should watch the movie, The Business of Being Born… It will make you feel A LOT less like a failure for having a C-section.

  28. Emilia Says:
    November 11th, 2010 at 10:11 pm

    What happened in the end with the nursing? I have sympathy, and I feel a bit guilty because as I work from home, I never had a problem with being away from my daughter and having to pump. So maybe I underestimated how hard breastfeeding can be at times. But I hope you were able to continue breastfeeding.

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