Monday, April 23, 2012

Jessica Simpson's Fear-Based Elective C-Section

Another celebrity -- this time Jessica Simpson -- chooses a c-section and it makes the headlines.  Unfortunately, women are choosing to have surgery in order to avoid the "pain" of labor and childbirth every day in America.  I can't help but think that the media and the "horror stories" from friends and family about how hard and awful the experience is contributes to this elective e-section phenomenon. 

Some of the highlights, in case you missed it, are that Ms. Simpson is "terrified of pain" and "too scared to push."  ''The thought of going into labor scared the bejeezus out of her. She was so anxious, she was even breaking into cold sweats at night.  Jessica has no tolerance for pain. She even turned to hypnotherapy to calm her fears about it, but nothing was working.  She desperately wanted to experience the joy of a natural birth, but decided to go with what made the most sense for her.''

She obviously has her choice to elect to have surgery, and I don't really care about taking that choice away from her.  I am more concerned with where the fear comes from, and how do we conquer this fear that is so prevalent in our modern society?

I was scared to death when I was pregnant with my first baby.  I've written his birth story here, but in case you missed it, here it is again.  I was, like Jessica, terrified of the pain. Everything I knew about birth came from the movies and TV sitcoms.  Elective cesareans had not taken off (I wouldn't have chosen that option anyway) so I had to face my fear -- which I bravely did by demanding "my epidural"!

The two things that helped me overcome the fear of natural childbirth were:   
1)  Knowing someone who had actually done it
2)  Education

So, while I am sad that so many women are missing out on the amazing -- and even hard -- experience of natural childbirth, I understand the fear.  If you have had a natural childbirth, talk about it!  Encourage the women around you.  They are strong and capable.  I always believed I was strong.  Now I know I am strong because I faced my fear.  That knowledge is powerful as a woman becomes a mother.  It's powerful in other areas of your life too.  The more you know, the less you fear.  Get educated! 

Conquer your fears!  Each time you do, you become a stronger woman.  I spent my entire life being terrified of bees.  One year I planted a garden, and in doing so, learned how necessary the bees were to the survival of my 20 tomato plants. Without pollination, there would be no fruit.  You've seen The Bee Movie, I'm sure. As the summer went on, I welcomed the bees and simply worked around them.  I overcame my fear because the desire to have my garden flourish was stronger.

Birth is no different.  Get educated, surround yourself with people who believe in you, make informed decisions and conquer your fearYou are stronger than any fear you currently have.  Put that in your pocket, Jessica Simpson!

32 comments:

Erin said...

I'm pretty sure she's still pregnant. Last i saw she tweeted Saturday that there was no baby yet.

Donna Ryan said...

She is still pregnant, but apparently she made this announcement about electing a c/section. There's still hope she faces -- and overcomes -- her fears!

Brianne said...

I love that fear of pain is a reason to elect for surgery. Having had two c-sections myself, I know they hurt like heck to recover from. I would rather have the pain of natural childbirth over that pain any day.

Sally T. said...

Why would you choose to have an intensive, scarring surgery with a longer recovery time instead of going with something natural? I don't understand that. Did you read the recent article on abuse victims going through labor? Here's the link: http://lancasteronline.com/article/local/631885_Helping-abused-women-get-through-childbirth.html . What's your take on that?

Mama Spud said...

Oh Jessica... I've had 3 different types of births. Induced (not my decision), natural drug free, and a crash c-section (prolapsed cord). The easiest one BY FAR was the natural drug free! Didn't hurt nearly as pain for weeks on end like the c/s! It's just one day - hours, even! C/s recovery is incredibly difficult. I hope she changes her mind at the last minute :-(

one faux mommy said...

Jessica Simpson doesn't strike me as an educated person, so the fact that she's choosing an elective c/s isn't shocking at all! My first birth was an induction with an epidural and my second was natural and pain meds. free. It was so empowering to push that baby girl into this world and let my body do the exact thing it was made to do! C/S's are hard and time consuming to recover from. Who knows, maybe she's having some nip/tuck done as well ...

momto5 said...

it's sad she is so scared. i can't imagine a c-sec is easy to recover from, it is major abd surgery. maybe she has had surgery before so that pain (surgical pain) is a known pain... but birth pain, maybe that scares her because she has no idea what will happen.

C. Beth said...

Love your perspective. Yes, women can choose what kind of birth they want, but the more we can remove the association of FEAR with childbirth, the more women will make healthier choices!

Unknown said...

Having gone through long labor ending in C/S I have to say, that the pain of C/S recovery is MUCH worse than the labor pains. Labor comes with a wonderful cocktail of hormones that makes it out of this world sensual experience, while healing a huge scar, dealing with adhesions, scar tissue, months or in some cases years of pain and discomfort is what you get if you have a surgery. And for someone who is making a living from singing and dancing, botching your abdominals is a huge setback in being able to work. So if anyone is afraid on labor pains, they might be better off with an epidural. Quicker recovery for sure. She needs a doula and some CBE classes.

chelle said...

I had a 'natural' (not really) but it WAS drug free birth that hurt ALOT (4th degree tear) and 2 years later I still have issues/pain from that birth. 2nd time I was aiming for a natural (healing) home water birth but ended up with a emergency c-section...it was less pain and a much faster recovery...for me. I wouldn't have elected to have one but after I was 'glad'(as much as you can be when rushed into a hospital to birth your child a month early through unwanted surgery)prob more relieved that the recovery was easier/quicker than my 1st

Natasha Hodge said...

Absolutely!

CrispyMama07 said...

I really like this perspective! I have had three different births. A c/s, an all natural vbac in the hospital, and a homebirth. You know what I am scared of cesareans! I wish people were truly informed on the complications of c/s. Maybe if more women were informed of what can go wrong during and after your c/s and what issues c/s can bring to further pregnancies they would think twice and be more afraid of that than natural birth. It is a shame that doctors allow this.

Criss said...

To all the moms saying C-sections are much more painful: Donna's point still stands, and even stronger.

What we see on TV is the horrible, screaming, unbearable PAINNNNN of vaginal birth. I guess it makes "good TV" (for people who know NOTHING about birthin' babies).

We never see how the vaginal-birth mom can get up and walk two days later, pickup her baby, pick up her toddler, and her preschooler, without pain.

We also never see how the C-section mom is recovering from surgery weeks later.

We never see how the C-section mom has to deal with the scar tissue of the surgery by having choices taken away from her when she wants to birth baby #2.

Jessica Simpson's fear comes from what society/the media have shown her: NATURAL BIRTH IS YUCKY AND PAINFUL AND EEEWWWW. Let a doctor "rescue" you from your faulty body.

If she had ALL the information -- how your body recovers from a vaginal birth v. how it recovers from a C-section -- she may feel differently.

TV shows never talk about all the very scary things about C-sections, so she's not scared of those. LET'S TALK ABOUT THEM.

(PS: Every mother, every birth, is different. If a mom wants to choose a C-section after researching all of her options, and she has accurate information on all options and the consequences/aftermath of each, I fully support her making whatever choice works FOR HER and HER BODY. However, moms have to work to get accurate info on birth these days. Which sucks. And too many women are "choosing" elective C-sections without being fully informed -- I object to the lack of information, which is not necessarily the fault of the mother, not to the C-section itself.)

kfalting said...

I agree with your nip/tuck theory as well. Goes in foe c.s. comes out with a great bod...like magic!

Zara said...

I don't get why women think having a C-section would be less painful than having a natural birth, labour lasts hours, recovering from major surgery lasts weeks! Madness

Brittney Craven said...

WOW! "one faux mommy" So because I chose a c section, that means I am not educated? That's an awful blanket statement and you are one HATEFUL piece of work. Some of you are so judgmental. It is HER body and she can do what SHE wants to! I had both a natural and a c section, and my c section was nearly painless. My son was 10lbs and when birthed naturally, tore me to shreds. I couldn't walk, use the restroom, drive comfortably, etc etc for a good 6 months. I STILL have pain from that birth and my son is 8 years old. I opted for a c section because my daughter was measuring very large as well and we were scared there would be a lot of damage like there was when I had my son. You all act like you are about women and their freedom to choose, but in reality, you are just passing judgment on women because they don't choose the same path in life as you!

The Deranged Housewife said...

I've had two cesareans (for breech) and I chose them because I was uneducated about my options. My care provider told me zilch about the risks of cesareans in my first pregnancy, and by the time you're around to number two they just figure, you lived through the first one, you must know what it's about by now, no need to go over any of the risks. I wish I had known more and could go back and make difference choices, but I can't.

As far as terrible vaginal births, I'm not suggesting that every natural birth is a wonderful, peaceful and delightful experience. Some go "badly" despite low intervention, the best care, best decisions, etc. But I think our idea of vaginal birth is totally messed up to the point where we don't know what "normal" is anymore and think all the monitors, wires, machines and other crap is "normal." Those interventions are great if they're used correctly, but just make it horrible when they're overused. People's idea of vaginal births is basically dragging the kid kicking and screaming under any circumstance from the womb and calling it a day. One thing I regretted from my one vaginal birth is that they directed me to push, instead of me listening to my instincts. It would have made it so much easier and avoided a lot of trauma later on.

floatingworld said...

This whole story is probably just another Beyonce incident, though. But some people do have an actual condition, a phobia, that makes them scared of childbirth, so it's not as easy as you think to rectify that. Also, I do see fear on the natural side of things too. so many have a fear of hospitals. no matter what you do, many will have fear. having a baby safely is the main objective and I agree that we need to encourage women to advocate for themselves, within reason! Injustice occurs in many places.

KittyCraig said...

Someone needs to point her to Birth Without Fear Blog... Reading all those beautiful birth stories might help change her mind. Just saying.

Musing Momma said...

My husband wanted me to have a c-section because he thought it would be easier and save me pain. I reminded him that it is MAJOR SURGERY! I had both my boys vaginally, one after being induced and getting an epidural, the second drug-free because he came so fast I didn't have time for anything. With the first I was exhausted and woozy from the epidural for hours. But I felt SO great after the second - like I could have jumped up and started dancing! Yes, it hurt like hell, but then it was over and I was like, "Wow! I'm done! I feel AWESOME!" :)

Kelly said...

I personally do not support the choice of c-section unless medically necessary. Recent studies have shown that a vaginal birth is in the best interest of the child for long term health (decreased asthma risk and decreased chance of gastrointestinal problems), and I think as soon as we start equating ceseareans as "just another variation of normal" we will see MORE of them being preformed, which is NOT what we need. What we need is more education about the risks to mother and child, both short term and long term, as well as ObGyns who are more supportive of the natural (no intervention) choice for childbirth.
I have given birth three times. The first was an intervention full vaginal birth. My son ended up in the NICU with pnemothorax and I ended up having to have a spinal patch surgery because of a punctured spinal cord. My second was all natural vaginal birth. My daughter was alert, nursed great for 20 months, and I could have run a marathon the next day. My third was an ECS, my son and I got flown to a bigger hopistal right after his birth because we had hospital born infections that required antibiotics for a week. My cesarean caused massive damage and painful adhesions I am still dealing with. I am pregnant with # 4 right now and no matter what, I will try my hardest and will not consent to a unnecesearean unless it is life or death. The bond I have with my third child has suffered because of our birthing experience and the PTSD I suffer from it. I would not wish that on any women. I will fight to the bitter end to not be cut again.
I do not support a women's choice to have an elective cesarean for no medical reason. I believe doing so normalizes this procedure and I think an uninformed choice is not a choice at all. If women knew all the risks for their child and themselves of a cesarean, they would not choose it. If they would choose it despite the increased health risks, then I would think they were quite shallow. Why would you jeopardize the health of your child for convenience and to escape pain (which you don't....because c-sections hurt some of us forever:(

one faux mommy said...

BRITTANY CRAVEN - no one is passing judgement here! we are soley expressing our opinions, which last time i checked is an ok thing to do in this country! my opinion is "to each their own" and every momma has their own personal reasons for choosing the birthing method that they do. i am saying however that an elective c/s seems a little irrational due to "fear of birth." all first time moms are scared spitless! who knows what contractions are going to feel like, who knows how big baby will be (your case), and on and on. so please direct your negativeness somewhere else and read everyone's opinion with an open mind!

Jennifer Porter said...

It's so important that women -- dare I even say girls -- are exposed to what real birth can, should and does look like.

When facing the birth of our son, I realized that I knew no one in my close circle of family and friends that had had a natural childbirth. I knew that those closest to me really (and sadly) didn't know what they were talking about when it came to birth.

For me, empowerment came through hiring a doula who encouraged me to find a supportive care provider (34 weeks in) and reading, reading, reading and watching births. No animated pictures of what happens to the body during birth, but real, live, messy births. Seeing other women do it was so empowering to me. Seeing what it really was like -- unlike the images on TV -- made me actually excited to labor and deliver our son.

I AM thankful for the options that we have in this country, but deeply saddened at the lack of education.

Ms. MaryAnn said...

I am a mother of eight, my first child natural, next two c-sections, following five all VBAC deliveries. There is NOTHING like the pain of recovering from a c-section while dealing with the inevitable exhaustion that being a new mom brings. Embrace your fears-the female body is designed for the process of natural delivery. I HOPE Ms. Simpson has chance to experience natural childbirth. There is nothing like it. I applaud all doctors who do not advocate ceasarean delivery unless medically necessary. It is major surgery not a convenience to avoid pain.

kerseyra said...

The scariest thing on here is the fact no one has commented on the babys health. What's best for the baby (as long as its a normal healthy birth) is a natural birth. All of these moms were like yeah its scary but I got over it, yeah its scary so I had a csection, so on and so on. Why is nobody on here saying yeah its scary but its not worth my infants life. Children are made to go through the canal and remove all that waste in their lungs. There is only so much medical personnel can do to mimic that. So I'm assuming you would be a lot more scared if your baby is in the nicu dying from a respiratory infection. Also you should look up some of the pictures where the babys have been wiggling while they are trying to cut through the wall, way more scary than having to push for a while. All of this said I do support the moms who need to have a crash csection, or those who are unable to deliver. Its just a much higher risk process to do so. And I hope your decision has the baby in mind first. otherwise it just goes to show what kind of parent you will be.

Kelly said...

Actually Kerseyra, I did mention the health risks to infant in my previous comment. I totally agree with you. I really do not think most women realize how much higher the risk is to the baby.

Mary Anne said...

I haven't given birth, but am an older woman working on getting pregnant. I'll be 42 this summer and my ob/gyn has pretty much put me in the c-section bin due to my age. I was wondering about the thoughts on older mothers who are almost forced into c-sections by their doctors.

mamab said...

I had all 8 of my babies completely natural, not even a Tylenol. Correct Lamaze breathing techniques allow you to control, manage any discomfort and relax and allow your body to function as nature intended. 18 of my 22 grandchildren were also born this way with me as a labor coach. The other 4 were 3 epidural for really long (30 hr) labors and 1 c-section.
However, with all that said, ANY healthy baby, healthy mama is a great birth!!!

Meg said...

I know this is old news by now, but I just found your blog and I had to have a chuckle at this, only because I too made birthing choices based on fear: I was terrified of having a C-section, so I chose a natural birth in a birth center! They cut you open while you're awake! I think I've just seen too many horror movies to get past that, haha.

Dunnt said...

I think that we are all individuals and we deal with fear and pain in our own unique way. This is why we have so many options in regard to how we can labor and give birth. Natural may work for this author and an epidural may work for me and a c section may work for someone else. The tone of this author is so judgmental that her point really does not come across as anything more than nastiness! You really should be ashamed of yourself for being so nasty to the pregnant vulnerable population. Now go nurse your 7 year old!

Beauty dot COM said...

Criss is right.. I also strongly agree with Dunnt. Every individual is unique and each of us has the right to choose whichever works best for our body and decide what's good for our baby? Don't be so judgemental!

roxymama said...

This is such a personal decision and there is no right or wrong answer. you are as much a woman if you deliver vaginally as if you deliver via c-section. the miracle is in the process of conception and growing a baby in your body until the end. and the most important outcome is a healthy deliver, be it through surgery or not. there should be no societal expectations for a woman to deliver vaginally. if she doesn't want to then she doesn't and that is that. that's why we live in a country where we are free to make our own choices. just enjoy the miracle of creating a life and holding your baby once it is born through whichever means!