C-Section Stories: Janis Gray

1. Briefly, please share the circumstances that led to your c-section birth(s):

Ultimately, the reason for my c-section was my baby was in distress, causing his heart rate to get slower and slower and at times not able to be heard at all. However, contributing to this was that he was overdue, large, me not progressing past three centimeters, and my pelvis isn't the right shape (something my doctor told me afterward).

2. What surprised you the most about having a c-section?:

I think what surprised me most was the lack of understanding of what it takes to heal. This was a lack of understanding from friends, family, and myself. I kept seeing other new moms killing it. They didn't bat an eye at climbing stairs, could walk around the block, they could sit up without the use of a pillow. I was so exhausted. I contributed it to a fussy baby but looking back it was a new baby AND my body trying to heal without proper rest and nutrition. I failed to see my c-section for what it was - a major surgery. Instead, I was so focused on being a 'good' mom.

3. What kind of support do you feel you received (from friends, family, healthcare team) after your c-section(s)?:

My parents helped by cooking meals. My husband helped by letting me sleep and taking baby whenever he could. For some reason, I was hell-bent on breastfeeding (I think I was just too tired to realize there was another option) so I refused a lot of help. I should have asked for more. I think I felt like I 'failed' at birthing and now I had to make up for it by doing everything. I didn't want to ask for help and pushed people away who offered. I realize now this way of thinking is wrong. I birthed my baby the best and safest way for my family. I didn't fail. I was also the only one thinking that.

4. What’s your #1 piece of advice/encouragement for a new c-section mom?:

As a new c-section mom, know it's okay to not be okay. It's okay to be upset with how your birth happened. It's okay to be mad at your body. It's also okay if you don't feel angry or sad. My biggest piece of advice would be if you aren't feeling okay to talk to someone. Anyone and everyone. Once I started realizing I wasn't okay and reaching out to other new moms (those who had c-sections and those who didn't) I realized I wasn't alone and really started the emotional healing I needed.

5. How do you believe having a c-section birth(s) made you stronger?:

I don't know if having a c-section necessarily made me stronger but I believe birth, in general, made me stronger. By accepting my truth, it had helped me to not pass judgment on any new family (mom, dad, vaginal delivery, scheduled c-section, etc). We all do what we believe is best with the information we have. I will never know exactly how or why a birth occurred a certain way but I can trust the parents did and made the best choice.

Name: Janis Gray

Your Profession: Nurse

How to Connect With You on Social Media: DM @janis_nicole on Instagram