Depending on your situation, you may know in advance that you’ll be having a C-section. And, based on your prior experiences, you could be calm and thankful for the option, or nervous and scared about what is to come. We’d like to give you some thoughts today on helping you go from nervous and scared to prepared for the birth of your baby!
First, avoid negative people. If you’re having a C-section for whatever reason, there may be individuals in your life with strong opinions about your choice. These people can range from random strangers to perhaps someone close to you. Of course, it is easier said than done, but dismissing the naysaying of that well-meaning lady in the grocery store is a must for self-preservation! Unfortunately, there may be others in your family or circle of friends who disagree with your choice. So present them with a choice of their own: be quiet, be supportive, or don’t talk to me until after the baby is born. You need to be surrounded with people who will help you feel safe, calm, and confident in your decision.
The next step to ask a lot of questions. Visit the hospital and talk to your doctor about what’s going to happen and what to expect. Being mentally prepared means FEELING mentally prepared, so cross all the questions off your list! Talk to your friends and family members who have had C-sections. Seek out some online forums, too. Just remember to take a lot of that with a grain of salt! While you’re in your question-asking mode, ask your partner if they have any reservations, thoughts, or concerns. By helping him/her feel at ease, you’re helping yourself as well.
Get as much settled for after the hospital as you can. Freeze meals, line-up playdates, hire a maid or a postpartum doula. Assemble all the info you might need—phone number for your pediatrician, a lactation consultant, and your physician—plus anything else you can think of. The more ready you are for coming home, the more peaceful you’ll feel before you get to the hospital.
Be realistic about your feelings and be honest with those around you. Many women, even when they choose a C-section, have feelings of failure or disappointment. You may feel like this, you may not. Either way, it’s normal! In fact, you may feel lots of things in the days leading up to and following the birth. Hormones, sleep deprivation, and other changes can make your emotions run the gamut—so just know it’s all part of the process. However, if after the birth you are feeling more and more blue and sad, you should talk to your doctor. Some ups and downs are normal, but postpartum depression is very real and can be treated.
Unfortunately, there’s no way to be fully prepared for this experience. Even if you’ve been through it before, there’s always new things and you’re a different person than you were. You can still get all your ducks in a row and go into the operating room feeling calm and collected. Have you had a C-section before? What advice do you have to give new moms?