C-Section Moms, This One’s for You


This piece started as a journal entry about three years ago, while I was a newly-minted mom contemplating the healing process after my C-section. I learned that even among other moms, there can (understandably) be really strong opinions, and (unfortunately) a lot of judgment, about caesarean sections and becoming a c-section mom.

April is C-Section awareness month, and this post is dedicated to all the brave mamas who have belly-birthed their babies!

My Birth Story

I am  a “C-section Mom.” Proud. Brave. Strong. Beautiful. More than once, I have come across someone who either expresses some type of sympathy, or judgement about the fact that I did, in fact end up giving birth to my son via C-section. Yet those four words are all I feel when I look back on my birth experience. I do not have a single regret about being a C-section mom – how could I when the outcome was a new, healthy little guy and a new me: I’m a mom!

That does not mean it was my birth plan: I had so diligently planned and prepped for quite the opposite. As a pseudo-crunchy mom-to-be, I imagined myself refusing even the epidural and gracefully pulling my child out of my body after a couple of pushes for an immediate skin-to-skin experience, reminiscent of Kourtney Kardashian giving birth to her first kid – hah! (Does that reference date me?)  However, when my husband and I learned that our boy liked riding around in utero sideways (transverse), already nearing nine pounds, and very unlikely to turn, I trusted my awesome physician, myself, my body, my husband, nature, and most of all my BABY. So I “let go and let God.”

Plans Change

My doctor provided some of the best input I received during this time: “Your baby at this point may know what’s up in there, he is safe and happy. If we try to force him to turn, he could get tangled in the umbilical cord.” I trusted my physician, who had been very supportive and on board with my birth plan dreams, and even then assured me we could return to my plan if somehow our boy’s position changed.

I felt there was a reason he wasn’t turning. Maybe he was avoiding cord entanglement, maybe he was just really comfy. Indeed we were not going to force the issue with the “spinning babies method” or painful measures unlikely to succeed. It was safer for him and me. He is our rainbow baby. I wasn’t about to take any chances that might put us at more risk.

The caesarean section was the most physically challenging thing I’ve ever experienced, and it was not my first major surgery. It WAS the first time I birthed an amazing, and thankfully healthy, tiny human. Every moment of his delivery was a beautiful and joyful experience, and one I’ll never forget. My husband held my hand while we waited, describing everything during the the fleeting moments I couldn’t really see. 

The Joy!

Together we heard that little lion cub roar as he made his entrance, and tears of thankfulness spilled down my cheeks. There was excitement and joy in the operating room at the delivery of a robust little man, which is beautiful as I’m sure that team had seen many! I watched my husband cut the cord before our precious little boy was placed on my chest. I wouldn’t trade any of that for whatever I had envisioned prior.

Mama and Son – Our First Moment

Healing for a C-Section Mom

Recovery was/has been a work in progress. The books and courses my husband and I used to prepare for pregnancy, birth, and the postpartum periods did not cover C-section recovery adequately. I definitely embarked on a rollercoaster of emotions when it came to the aftermath of my C-section. Even with zero complications, there was still so much healing to do as I returned more or less to myself.

In the first few months, I had to frustratingly slow back down to focus on extensive work with a PT to reconnect my core. My milk supply dropped, and I had to up my calories and forego the intense running I had jumped into, while feeling very aware I was still many pounds over the happy healthy weight I had been pre-pregnancy. No doubt a lot of moms out there can relate: babies take a toll on the body, and the mind! However, do not ever regret or let anyone make you feel ashamed of the way you brought life into the world, or the adjustments you have to make. What you have done is powerful. All other things fall into place, and the challenges are worth it. My boy is worth it. Your children are worth it. Three years later and I’m still grateful for and proud of our story every day.

Helpful resources, recommended by our Contributors:

ITR Physical Therapy is helpful and they even offer free weekly pelvic floor Zoom sessions.

Dr. Rachel with Core Elements is not only knowledgeable but compassionate. Put in the work she gives you, and you will feel results.

Wolomi is an app tailored especially for pregnant and postpartum women of color that offers perinatal support including group sessions. Moms can speak directly with doulas, midwives, therapists, and physicians. C-section planning and recovery is a hot topic in this digital community.

Who better to help you through the process than a mama who has experienced c-sections herself? “The Fit Doula” offers valuable guidance and her own powerful birth stories.

Amber at “Mothering the Mom” is great because sometimes giving birth via caesarean section can present extra challenges for the nursing mom. A lactation consultant can be invaluable during those first few days. Amber is professional, kind, and oh-so-helpful in the breastfeeding department and beyond.

Make sure to check out these local empowering support groups for moms in the DMV area and full Pregnancy & Postpartum Guide for more resources.

Favorite recovery products, tips and tricks: 

We all know and love the Frida Baby brand. Did you know they have a line dedicated specifically for the C-section mama?

Scars heal – and this really helps: Earth Mama Skin & Scar Balm.

Getting in and out of the shower or tub can be challenging when you’re healing from a major incision across your midsection. Play it on the safe side with a little help from these grab handles: Shower Grab Handles

You may or may not be prescribed bedrest. In the hospital, they use these compression boots to assist healthy circulation. My husband thoughtfully got me a set for home. I cannot recommend them enough, especially if you need extra recovery time. I still like to use them on my tired feet now, when I have that rare free moment!

Perhaps the weirdest thing on this list: a bidet has been touted by many as the thing you didn’t know you needed. But then again, certain movements can be difficult, and anything to help a mama feeling fresh and clean during this time!

A belly band provides extra support while your core heals, and it helps posture as well. Belly Bandit has a line of bands and wraps dedicated just for those recovering from C-sections.

Lastly, ask for help!

I was lucky to have a husband who brought me breakfasts in bed, did the majority of night feedings, diaper changes, and bottle service during those first weeks. My mom stayed with us and took over a lot of the housekeeping items such as laundry, dishes, and meals! It allowed us to settle in as a family of three and focus on our baby, and it greatly helped my recovery process and stress levels. It’s not always easy or possible, but if you can, ask for help, and accept it. You just made it through a major surgical procedure to bring life into the world! And don’t forget, you have a community of local moms right here at your fingertips ready and happy to provide insight and resources whenever you might need it. Congratulations on being a “C-section mom” – you rock!

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Catie Misleh
Catie has lived in the DC area since 2012 and currently resides in McLean, Virginia with her husband, and their son Basil (2020). She spent most of her childhood in California, and then Hawaii before leaving to attend school on the mainland. Like many, after graduating from law school she moved to the DC area for work opportunities and began exploring right away. Now that it is the place she has lived longest, she officially calls it home. Catie describes herself as a hybrid stay-at-home-working mom: she recently started homeschooling her toddler, and also works part-time remotely as a contracts consultant for a nonprofit healthcare system. Favorite things include spending time with her family outdoors, reading, cooking, travel, and exercising. She really, really dislikes being cold, prefers tea over coffee, and enjoys board games as much as binge watching mindless shows after a long day. One of the best parts of momhood for her has been rediscovering all the awesome things this area has to offer through the eyes of her little boy!