Failure To Progress – Doesn’t Mean Failed Mother

Hearing those words: “You have failed to progress and will fail your VBAC” (Vaginal Birth After Caesarian) doesn’t mean you have failed as a mother.

It’s one of the hardest moments trying with all your might to have a vaginal birth but not progressing through labour.

Last year I had my third cesarean. My third c-section was an elective c-section after the traumatic failed to progress VBAC from my second baby. I still loved going into labour naturally, I loved the marathon of contractions and hormones but I nearly lost my baby girl and the thought of peer pressure powering my motivation just makes me realise one thing…

…It’s Time To Change The Dialogue

Here we are in 2020, and we are still saying to future mothers that they have “failed.” That word brings with it so much heart ache and sadness. When we use negative words like “failure to progress,” professionals need to back that message up with something positive. Midwives and obstetricians need to work together to change the dialogue for those who have c-sections.

Even elective c-sections shouldn’t be questioned. It’s as though we should be ashamed to have gone through “the easy road.” By all means it was not the easy road. I’ve had 3 c-sections. I can tell you that each time I may have recovered a little easier than the first, but I still believe those after birth pains get worse with more children.

Why do elective c-sections needs to be questioned? Why do we need to promote vaginal birth and leave those mums who have struggled through weeks of not driving, compression stockings, unable to pick up their other children, scar infections, sleep aides, alcohol swabs, slow-release pain medications, and scar tissue stretching; without hearing their birth journey.

The Village: How Can We Support C-Section Mothers

  1. I have no idea what it’s like to push out a human, but we have do have similarities so let’s share what was similar from our birth stories.
  2. Change the dialogue from “failure to progress” to “birthing the safest way.”
  3. C-section mothers can’t legally drive till 6 weeks, unless they have a doctors certificate. Ask them if they need groceries before you pop in for a visit.
  4. Please understand: We still bleed the same. We still try to breastfeed as soon as possible and we still use skin on skin as soon as possible.
  5. We don’t “bounce back” as quickly straight after birth.
  6. Let us share the strange things we feel. Like getting uncontrollable shaking or losing movement after an epidural or spinal.
  7. The itches… oh the itches after a c-section are terrible but not everyone gets it.
  8. Help c-section mothers by listening to their story. Especially for those who have had traumatic experiences. Offer professional support services when you can’t reaffirm another mummy – no matter vaginal or c-section births.
  9. The word “natural birthing” can also feel like c-sections mothers aren’t “natural mothers” – try and stick to dialogue like c-section birth.
  10. Stay clear of saying: “You didn’t really give birth.” Yes.. Yes we did. It’s still a birthday, it’s still a birth to celebrate; and it’s still a birth into the world.

It’s taken me about 6 years to write this since my first baby (which was an elective c-section) and I’ve realised now that I shouldn’t have felt as though my body failed me. I wasted too long feeling ashamed and I should have felt empowered and blessed to have gone through almost 9 months straight of nausea and vomiting to bring each child into this world.