What I want people who discriminate against C-section mums to know...

Mother & Baby editor Erin Mayo says we’re all mothers – it’s just that some of us have the scars to show it.

By Erin Mayo

My son, who is now 4, was born via Caesarean section, and I don’t feel any less of a mother – nor should I.

After 14 hours of labour, it became apparent that my son ‘wasn’t going to fit’. Eventually the midwife said I would need an emergency Caesarean.

I’ll admit, initially I was upset, but after a few tears, common sense kicked in and I knew that it didn’t matter how my son was delivered, so long as he was delivered healthy.

I don’t feel that I have cut any corners in the way in which he entered the world. But that’s what a birth photographer has apparently accused an expectant mum who wanted her to photograph her baby’s birth of doing.

In a series of alleged screen-shotted text messages, an unnamed photographer accuses a mum-to-be of “cutting corners” and “not giving motherhood a go”, all because she gave birth to her child via a C-section.

Beautiful (yet graphic to some) images ahead.

Erin's son was born via emergency Caesarean four years ago.
Erin's son was born via emergency Caesarean four years ago.

While this text-message exchange is being called out as fake, it certainly brings to light the phrase ‘too posh to push’, which has often been bandied about to explain Australia’s high caesarean rate.

The latest report of the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare on Australia’s Mothers and Babies (2013) reports that 33 per cent of women giving birth in 2013 did so via a Caesarean.

This contrasts starkly with the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) recommendations that the Caesarean rate should be no higher than 10 to 15 per cent.

Yes, it’s true that you’re more likely to have a Caesarean if you go through the private health system than at a public hospital.

But not all Caesareans are planned.

After 14 hours of labour, Erin had no choice but to have a C-section.
After 14 hours of labour, Erin had no choice but to have a C-section.

The idea that having a Caesarean isn’t really having birth is antiquated and ill-informed. As is any notion that it’s the easy way out.

Not only did I have a newborn to look after, but there was also the added complication of recovering from major abdominal surgery.

I was unable to drive for several weeks, lift heavy objects and not to mention becoming unwell after refusing to take any pain medication post-surgery for fear it would affect my baby (ladies, don’t follow me on this one… take the pain meds!).

It certainly wasn’t the easy way out. And whether you elect to have a C-section, or have an emergency one like I did, it shouldn’t make you feel like you’re any less of a mother.

We’re all mothers – it’s just that some of us have the scars to show it.

Erin Mayo is the editor of Mother & Baby magazine, and mum to Ethan, 4 and step-mum to Joshua, 14.

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