You have probably heard that 'all that matters is a healthy baby'.
And you may have thought, "yes, of course!'.
You have probably heard that you should 'leave your dignity at the door'.
But then you hear a birth story where the mother is clearly upset, even traumatised, by her birth experience and start to think there is more to birth than a healthy baby and perhaps dignity does matter.
And you'd be right.
How a woman feels about her birth experience matters. It matters A LOT!
The type of birth we have is not the core of the Birth Story. The birth experience (that is, how the mother feels about the birth) and the level of support received are integral to the emotional health of the mother. The emotional health if the mother is integral to the health of the baby.
Post Natal Depression is less likely if the experience is positive. A positive experience results when a mother feels central to the process. A positive experience means she was respected.
For many woman, the experience of a caesarean is less than positive. Part of this is because they are no longer 'needed'. This can impact negatively on their ability to bond with and care for their baby. One way to help overcome this problem is to include the mother in the caesarean. Maternal Assisted Caesareans (MACs) are possible, and appeal to many. When an image from a MAC is shared on social media, it is clear how universal the appeal of this approach to caesarean is.
Amey Bencke-Doula of Breathe Birth Support reasons that
"it allows women to be actively involved in their birth, it's giving them back their power."
Another Bellabirther says Maternal Assisted Caesarean appeals because
"it puts the mother back into the equation, and means the hands that help that baby are its own mothers. Making the best of what many mothers feel is less than ideal situation."
Not all caesareans can be MACs, but all MACs are caesareans. There is agreeance that a caesarean is not usually the first choice, but that a woman should be central to the procedure should it be required.
This woman-centred approach to caesarean can be viewed and better understood by watching this video (by 'natural', they mean 'maternal assisted'):
This pdf from Department of Health (Western Australia) describes the procedure, stating that this approach is possible for 'elective' caesareans. 'Elective' does not always mean wanted, it simply means that you have time to prepare and know the reason for it in advance. An 'emergency' caesarean means it was performed after labour started.
As MAC is relatively new, you can not assume your surgeon will offer it. Even when MAC is not possible, a CS can be respectful and woman-centred. I encourage you to include this pathway in your birth map. A doula can help you prepare for a positive caesarean, planned or as your contingency.