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15 things not to say to a mum who has had a C-section

Updated: Apr 30

April is C-section awareness month.

Adele Morris Photography Maternity Photographer Port Talbot, Bridgend, Swansea, Neath, Cardiff, South Wales.

It’s Caesarean section awareness month, let’s set the record straight and curb the c-section stigma.

If your a C-section mama or experienced caring for a loved one who has had a c-section, you will know how rotten it really is!

C-section deliveries are very common, in-fact as common as One in four pregnancies in the UK, and it’s surprising that many are still uninformed about the procedure. So, if your a C-section mum like me, you will be flooded by misconceptions… some of which can be offensive and cut deep, pun intended!

In most cases, there is no option to choose between having a vaginal delivery or a Cesarean section, it’s a lifesaving procedure to ensure mum and baby survive. What most won’t realise is, C-section mums can feel they have missed out, which brings on profound sadness, shame and guilt. The C-section mum clients and friends who visit have collectively complied a list of all the funny, ridiculous, hurtful or downright rude things people have said to them after their C-sections.

Adele Morris Photography Maternity Photographer Port Talbot, Bridgend, Swansea, Neath, Cardiff, South Wales.

Now let’s set the record straight on some of the misinformed statements heard and what not to say to someone who has had a C-section:

1. “You’re so lucky you didn’t have to go through labour.”

Lucky, not really for the mums who have had to go through hours of Labour. It’s assumed we rock up at the hospital and get wheeled to theatre! My Labour was around 26 hours before midwives on the Labour ward told me they were preparing to deliver the baby by C-section.

Clare, Margam Maternity Photoshoot.

2. “All that matters is you had a healthy baby.”

One of the most-heard phrase by my C-section mums. I’m not going to argue, a healthy baby is important, and it matters so much. All mothers who have undergone an emergency C-section knows it likely saved her baby’s life, in fact this is what my midwife told me before I was rushed down to theatre. Some mums are left traumatised by the whole experience, possibly not remembering the baby being delivered, and can also feel robbed of what was supposed to be a life changing experience, those feelings matter a lot to many mothers.

Rachel, Baglan Maternity Photoshoot.

3. “Can I see your scar?”

No! It’s not a show and tell type of moment, that’s what google is for! I was shocked to learn how far down they make the incision. So it’s a big... NO!

Louise, Port Talbot Maternity Photoshoot.

Adele Morris Photography Maternity Photographer Port Talbot, Bridgend, Swansea, Neath, Cardiff, South Wales.

4. “Oh, too posh to push, eh?” *wink*.

Nothing posh about being in a brightly lit room, full of medical machinery and being watched over! Reality hits when a C-section mother is introduced to a theatre room full of medical staff, too many to count when apprehensive about the delivery of your baby.

There are so many factors to consider with a c-section delivery, and the staff to pregnant mum ratio will depend on how many babies are being delivered and if there are any complications with the baby and/or mum. There could be anything from 10 medical staff, to over 20. you might be shocked at how busy theatre can get for a csection, so let’s break it down, there will be the parents, your obstetrician, an assistant surgeon, anaesthetist, anaesthetic nurse, paediatrician, midwife, scrub nurse, scout nurse and an operating technician. It is a busy place, with all eyes on you.

So No! It’s really not posh!

Jenn, Neath Maternity Photoshoot.

5. “You can try for a natural birth next time.”

Really! Natural?! The medical term is vaginal birth! Anything else suggests a baby was birthed “unnaturally”. So let’s end that stigma.

Danielle, Laleston, Bridgend Maternity Photoshoot.

6. “So technically you didn’t actually give birth?”

Come on! You make it sound like a C-section baby is hatched for an egg! We all know how babies are made, we create life by birthing a child, regardless of how it happened. So don’t diminish that experience away from C-section moms.

Sarah, Pyle Maternity Photoshoot.

7. “Failure to progress.”

These are the words my consultant told me when I was in my twenty-sixth hour of Labour as the reason why for my emergency C-section. It really is a bitter pill to swallow, especially after working so hard to meet my baby. The term failure associated with a C-section mum needs to be stopped, it doesn’t do anything to help postpartum recovery.

Hannah, Maesteg Maternity Photoshoot.

Adele Morris Photography Maternity Photographer Port Talbot, Bridgend, Swansea, Neath, Cardiff, South Wales.

8. “At least your vagina didn’t get obliterated”.

You can swap Obliterated with annihilated, stretched, and the list goes on!

Correct! Vagina is all good, but my abdomen is another story! I think they forget us C-section mama have been sliced in half, our insides have been pulled out and a child has been pulled out of us! But let’s not make it into a contest, every birth is different.

Megan, Penarth Maternity Photoshoot.

9. “You got a free tummy tuck.”

Believe me when I say a C-section is no tummy tuck! No surgeon will give you a 2-for-1 offer and remove belly fat whilst they have you cut open.

Sara, Pencoed Maternity Photoshoot.

10. “You went for the easy option.”

Yeah! That’s right! It’s like a magic show in theatre, “abracadabra… Ta-da… baby is born”.

If you really think a C-section is the easy option, please read up on what a C-section is. It’s major surgery, which you are awake for. Your not even off the operating theatre and your role as a mum starts, settling, feeding and changing baby, even when then surgeons are stitching you up. And let’s not forget we can go hole as soon as 24 hours later, with a goody bag of regular paracetamol and co codamol Painkillers, and your baby to look after. Anyone else going through major surgery would be sent home with heavy duty pain meds and strict instructions not to move for a weeks. So, yeah, you need to rethink that one.

Kim, Porthcawl Maternity Photoshoot.

Adele Morris Photography Maternity Photographer Port Talbot, Bridgend, Swansea, Neath, Cardiff, South Wales.

11. “Aren’t you worried that (insert medical reason why it’s better for babies to be born vaginally)?”

Do we really need to hear this? It’s not very helpful after we’ve had a C-section, it’s not like we can jump into a DeLorean and get transported back in time! We all know we can’t do anything about it now!

Lauren, Baglan Maternity Photoshoot.

12. “You know, the rate of C-sections are on the rise, because…”

Okay, you’ve read up on C-section stats? Not sure what your point is here, it’s not like I had a choice!

Ash, Port Talbot Maternity Photoshoot.

13. “Bet your glad you won’t spend the rest of your life peeing your pants when you laugh.”

You might need to sit down for this one, a weakened pelvic floor can happen to anyone who’s been pregnant, no matter how they gave birth. So all pregnant ladies cam look forward to getting a free pass to the peeing our pants club.

Heather, Cardiff Maternity Photoshoot.

Adele Morris Photography Maternity Photographer Port Talbot, Bridgend, Swansea, Neath, Cardiff, South Wales.

14. “I’m sorry. At my natural water home birth, we lit lavender candles and listened to meditation music while my midwife/Doula massaged my head with essential oils whilst sweetly whispering labour and birth affirmations”.

We all dream of bringing life into the world with the least amount of intervention as possible, that’s what a women’s body is designed to do, but it’s not the case for all. Some Mums wouldn’t be here today without intervention, hands up I was first inline for pain relief, and if csection wasn’t my only option to see tomorrow with my daughter, a vaginal birth could have resulted in an assisted delivery (vacuum or forceps).

Like pregnancy, no two birth stories are the same, I find it all very fascinating. But please stop apologising about a C-section births, it’s the best option for some, allowing mums to still here today to cherish and watch their babies grow up.

Natalie, Sandfields Maternity Photoshoot.

15. “Sun roof option, hey?”

Kept this one until last, it always makes me chuckle!

A naive comment, and makes me think that us C-section mums have a hidden button, we press when the time is right to pop out our babies. Can you imagine it being that simple?

Samantha, Bridgend Maternity Photoshoot.

Did I miss any out?

I would love to hear what you’ve been told, so we can keep adding to our list. Let us know in the comments below.

We all know people usually mean well, and most are simply misguided, but so many things people say to C-section mums only add guilt, sadness, anger and fear to an experience that may already be suffering from PTSD and depression.

Wondering how is best to help a new mum prepare and/or recover from a C-section?

Visit how to prepare for a c-section.


If you’ve enjoyed reading about my Maternity photography, you might like to read the below:

VOGUE Published Maternity Photographer

How To Throw An Amazing Baby Shower

11 Reasons Why You Should Book Maternity Photos


About the South Wales Maternity Blog Author:

Adele Morris Photography, is a specialist Maternity, Newborn, and Family studio photographer based in Porthcawl in Bridgend.

The studio is located within easy access to clients travelling from Swansea, Bridgend, Cardiff, Llanelli , Port Talbot, Newport, Neath, Carmarthenshire, and all over South Wales. To find out more about the author, visit the about me page.

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