Kim Kardashian gave birth today - and invariably there was reports it was an elective cesarean. And then a while later it was reported that she delivered "naturally".
The comments section on the elective cesarean story is like NCB (Natural Child Birth) activists greatest hits. With such tried and true statements like, "a cesarean is major surgery", "recovery from a vaginal delivery is so much easier", "our bodies were designed to do this", "how selfish", "cesareans should be reserved for those who need them", "cesareans are more dangerous for the baby", etc.. It seems as though almost everyone is an armchair OB, and if they could have a natural delivery - why couldn't Kim suck it up and have a natural delivery too?
I'm a little tired of the armchair OB's in this world and would like to put out the following:
1. Yes, cesarean is surgery it has risks, but vaginal delivery is a major medical event that also has risks. Discuss both options and their associated risks and benefits with your care provider - ideally someone with a real qualification for childbirth that was earned at an accredited post-secondary institution and not Google U or Anecdote High.
2. Recovery from a vaginal delivery is not always easier than recovery from a cesarean delivery.
3. Our bodies weren't designed. They evolved - somewhat awkwardly with tradeoffs made between head size and pelvic girth. Birth is not an easy process for many women. Many women historically died. Many babies historically died. Some were disabled. Birth is incredibly painful for many women. If this is something we're "designed" to do - would someone please fire the designer, or at least start a class action for negligent design.
4. Cesareans have some serious risk avoidance benefits for the baby and for the mother and may in many cases be safer for the baby and comparably safe for the mother - again discuss this with a qualified care provider.
5. Choosing a cesarean is often the anti-thesis of "selfish", mothers who choose cesarean often knowingly increase some of their risks in order to reduce the risks of delivery to their child. That seems pretty unselfish to me. Or at the very least not more selfish than mothers who choose vaginal deliveries for the sake of "easier recoveries".
I do not really care whether or not Kim had a natural delivery (maybe she did) or elected to have a cesarean (maybe she did) for the birth of her child. I care that she was able to have an open and honest discussion with her care providers about the options available to her, that she was empowered to make a decision and have that decision respected, and that she and new baby are happy and healthy at the end of the day. It's what I hope every pregnant women is able to do - have access to appropriately trained care providers who can advise accordingly, retain the right to make medical decisions, have access to timely care and go home at the end of the day with a healthy baby in her arms being mentally and physically ready to start parenthood.
I partly wonder if reporting one mode of delivery and then the other mode of delivery is strategic - a way of keeping the actual mode of delivery between the mother and her care providers confidential. If so - that is not such a bad thing, but wouldn't it be even better if they were straight up with it and take a few notes from a commenter here a few days ago who offered something along the lines of the following "We'd like to maintain the confidentiality of the medical care received, but we assure you that the baby and the mother will be receiving the best care possible."
It is rather sad though, that such a personal decision can spark such derision. But given the derision that is associated with other personal mothering choices right now (formula versus breast-feeding, cry-it-out versus never cry, stay at home versus work out of the home, cloth versus disposables) that it is not really overly surprising.
I guess we're still a ways off from a world where the majority of comments following a celebrity birth announcement manage to ignore the mode of delivery and focus on what really matters - a healthy and happy mother and baby!
In closing, "Congratulations Kanye and Kim and Little Baby Girl K - wishing you a long, healthy and happy life together as a family!"