7 lies I believed about C-sections before I had one

They are not the 'easy' way out.

Baby and mom

I've had two C-sections in the last 3 years, and with each of them, I've learned more and more about what women are sometimes made to believe about them.

My first C-section was an emergency, I went in for a regular check-up and my midwife discovered that my amniotic fluid was alarmingly low. After a quick huddle with other providers, it was decided that my baby needed to come out and he needed to come out fast. To say that I was unprepared for major surgery is an understatement. I had not read anything about C-sections because I was fully convinced that I was going to get the birth I wanted (the fairy tale, unmedicated vaginal birth with no complications). I cried from the moment they told me it was happening until I finally had my baby in my arms (which was about 6 hours of crying). It was rough physically and emotionally and I still, 3 years later, have some feelings I haven't fully processed yet.

My second C-section was planned. I was carrying twins and one was very stubborn and decided to stay breech my entire pregnancy. This time I knew what to expect in terms of the process, but at the same time, every surgery is different and I was thrown a curveball when I lost copious amounts of blood which made my recovery even harder.

So for any woman out there preparing for a C-section (whether planned or medically needed), here are the lies I believe before I had my own:

That I wasn't going to feel anything during surgery.
Here's the thing, you feel things. You shouldn't feel pain and if you do you should absolutely speak up. Right before my second C-section started, the anesthesiologist had everyone pull their hands up because I told her I could fully feel my abdomen as they pinched to test if it was numb. She adjusted my anesthesia, triple checked I couldn't feel pain, and the surgery started. That said, you will feel pulling and tugging, which I wasn't prepared for and also can be a lot to deal with on top of excitement, anxiety and adrenaline.

That recovery was going to be smooth.
I took notes when the doctor said to take it slow the first weeks and to not lift anything heavier than the baby to help my incision heal. I took of the peri-strips exactly the day they told me to, without really looking because I was terrified somehow my stitches were going to pop, and I took my pain meds around the clock. Still, recovery was so hard. So much harder than I anticipated. Especially because major surgery takes way longer to heal from than 6 weeks (when women in the US are having their first and last check-up with their providers). I was surprised when at 6 months postpartum my abdomen was still numb. So listen to your doctors, listen to your body and take it as slow as you can. I am currently 10 months postpartum and still massaging my incision to soften the scar tissue and help my body heal from the inside.

That my body failed me.
I was bombarded with the messaging of "your body was made to birth babies" that when I had to be wheeled into an operating room the one thing I kept thinking was that my body failed me. That somehow, I was already a bad mom because I couldn't even push out my son and instead needed modern science to help me with the process. Here's what I've learned since: Thank goodness for modern science and for all the technology that has allowed us to figure out when babies need help coming out. My body didn't fail me. Pregnancy and birth are not a 1+1 sum and a lot of factors go into it. My body created a beautiful human being from scratch, which is far from being a failure.

That I couldn't ask for pain medication as I recovered.
Like I said, for my first C-section I was totally unprepared. Especially for recovery. While my husband was taking our son to get weighed and measured, I laid in post-op recovery and I struggled a lot. I was in so much pain but the nurses didn't believe me. Because this was my first time having surgery, I did not know how to advocate for myself. Luckily, my doula was allowed to sit with me in recovery while my husband was dealing with paperwork and she kept telling the nurses that I needed more pain medication. It took her five times, FIVE TIMES, for them to listen to her and double up my dose. I felt judged, like no one in the hospital had my back. It was a rude awakening as to what birthing in US hospitals can be like. The second time around I came prepared to speak up for myself, but also thankfully had a wonderful nurse taking care of me that immediately noticed I was in discomfort and gave me more meds before I even had to ask for them.

That I wasn't "giving birth."
Someone who I considered a friend told me after I had my first "well, you didn't give birth, you had a C-section" and three years later I still feel my blood boil when I think of it. I birthed all my children. I created them from scratch, grew them, nurtured them with my own body, and then they came out of the emergency exit. Any type of birth is birth. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise.

They are the "easy way out."
I heard this over and over and over and over again. Again, the toxic messaging that society has institutionalized on what type of birth is worth celebrating and what is not. Major surgery is not easy. Recovering from major surgery is not easy. Doing so while also trying to bond, establish feeding, manage hormones and sleep deprivation, is not easy. It's not lazy or bad or selfish to have a C-section. Babies are born the way they need to be born and no one should ever judge anyone for their choice or necessity, only they and their providers know the full picture.

That it was less magical than vaginal birth.
Both times I got to advocate for myself and, given the circumstances, ask for as much as I possibly could of what I wanted my birth experience to be like. With my first, his umbilical cord was 'milked' since delayed cutting was not an option, I got to do immediate skin to skin in the OR while they closed me up which lasted upwards of 45 minutes. With the twins, I had a clear drape and was able to see both babies come out, one of their cords was milked, while the other we discovered as she was being born had a true knot in it, something that shocked everyone in the room, all while 'Girl Just Wanna Have Fun' blasted in the background. I got to hold the twins next to my chest before it was time to move us all to recovery. Not everything was possible, but some were, which is a lesson everyone should take and talk to their providers about what they want, what is possible and what is not.


Here are some products that will help you recover from your C-section:

Original Postpartum Compression Wrap

Need to provide an extra layer of support for your growing baby bump? Or want to protect your clothing from belly oils and creams during pregnancy? The Belly Boost has got your back (and your front)

$40

Earth Mama Organics scar cream

EARTH MAMA ORGANICS  Organic Skin & Scar Balm

C-section warriors, this is for you: Earth Mama's Organic Skin and Scar Balm was formulated with a powerhouse of organic herbs and oils traditionally used to help reduce the appearance of scars and stretch marks.

$25
True

The HATCH Mama collection is everything your pregnant body needs right now

Their oil is the only thing that stopped my belly from itching as it grew bigger.

Conz Preti

Let me start by saying I'm not a fan of moisturizing. I hate being wet and sticky and after applying product to my body, I have to stand around awkwardly until I'm fully air-dried—a practice that is not compatible with having three kids under the age of 3. However, as someone who has carried three children in her body, I also know how much your belly needs hydration as the baby grows.

This was especially true with my second pregnancy. My belly popped way sooner (a thing that happens with subsequent pregnancies) and on top of that, I was carrying twins, which meant I became super pregnant super fast. My belly was itching constantly from the skin stretching (I checked with my doctor to make sure I didn't have Cholestasis) and there was no scratching in the world that could ease my discomfort. My doula recommended the HATCH Mama belly oil and changed my life. The oil is nourishing—but more important to me, quick-drying—so I could apply it all over my planet-sized twin belly and get dressed immediately after without having my clothes ruined nor stuck to my body. Because of how much I loved the oil, I tested other products, and let me tell you, they're all equally amazing.

Curious about the HATCH Mama collection? All of their products are non-toxic and mama-safe, designed to help pregnant people overcome the challenges unique to pregnancy. As their website claims, "from stretch marks to thinning hair, to sleepless nights, we're helping you tackle every prenatal and postnatal beauty issue head-on so you can continue to feel like the best version of you." I'm here for all of this. For the entire Hatch Beauty collection click here.


Here are my favorite products from HATCH Mama:


Belly oil

HATCH COLLECTION  Belly Oil

Intensely hydrating + fantastic at reducing the appearance of stretch marks and scars, this will be your favorite through pregnancy + beyond.

$58

Belly mask

HATCH COLLECTION  Belly Mask Set

Not only does it help to minimize the appearance of stretch masks + scars during pregnancy + postpartum, but there is a little non-toxic wink (and that's to you, mama.)

$42

Nipple + lip ointment 

HATCH COLLECTION  Nipple + Lip

Calming + soothing, this magic sauce is lanolin-free & made of tropical butters and super fruits. I'm not lying when I say you will not want to stop using this, even way after birth.

$28

Belly tattoos

HATCH COLLECTION  Belly Tattoos

A very rock and roll way to honor your bump. And non-toxic + plant-based at that!

$18

This article was originally published in March 2021. It has been updated.

We independently select and share the products we love—and may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.

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Motherly created the flexible online birth class moms need

The Motherly Birth Class is completely online, which means you can take the class at your own pace.

Taking a birth class is a pregnancy milestone. Whether you've been excited to take a birth class for a long time or have just recently decided that you wanted to take one, sitting down for that first lesson feels big—spoiler alert, this is really happening! But finding time for a birth class isn't as easy as it would seem.

We know new parents are busy (hello, understatement of the year). Between diaper changes, pediatrician appointments, healing from birth and the general adjustment to #newparentlife, the days can fill up quickly. But a lot of people are caught off guard by how busy pregnancy can be, too! That first trimester is so often full of symptoms—like nausea and fatigue—that can make previously easy or simple tasks exhausting. The second trimester begins and (usually) we start to feel better. But then our days get filled with planning out baby registries and deciding on questions like, "Where will this tiny new human sleep?" And before you know it, it's the third trimester—and, well, then you're in the home stretch. Plus there are so many appointments!

All this to say that we get how busy you are—and how hard that might make it to fit in a birth class.

And that's why we created The Motherly Birth Class. The Motherly Birth Class is completely online, which means you can take the class at your own pace.


Think you'll want to watch each lesson a few times over? Great!

Due date's next week and you need the option to take a birth class very quickly? No problem!

Like everything at Motherly, we designed this class with you in mind.

Taught by Certified Nurse-Midwife Diana Spalding (who also wrote "The Motherly Guide to Becoming Mama"), this class is broken into 12 lessons—and you get to control how and when you watch them. We'll teach you about what your (amazing) body is up to in labor, how to decide when it's time to head to the hospital or birth center (or when to call your home birth midwife), what your options are for coping with pain and so much more.

When you sign up for The Motherly Birth Class, you'll get access to a downloadable workbook and meditations. Plus, you'll be invited to join our supportive private online community (where you can chat with the class instructor!)

Oh, one more thing: Your insurance or flexible spending account might even able to able to cover the cost of this class.

Pregnancy is wonderful—but it's a lot. You deserve a birth class that works for you and empowers you to have your best birth. Because vaginal or Cesarean, unmedicated or medication, birth is incredible. And you are the star of it all.

You've got this.

Sign up for The Motherly Birth Class today!

The Motherly Birth Class

pregnant-woman-looking-at-her-belly

Take our completely digital birth class from the comfort of your living room. We'll help you have your best birth—because you deserve it.

$79

We independently select and share the products we love—and may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.

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BABYBJÖRN

This post is sponsored by BABYBJÖRN. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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14 toys that will keep your kids entertained inside *and* outside

They transition seamlessly for indoor play.

Keeping kids entertained is a battle for all seasons. When it's warm and sunny, the options seem endless. Get them outside and get them moving. When it's cold or rainy, it gets a little tricker.

So with that in mind, we've rounded up some of the best toys for toddlers and kids that are not only built to last but will easily make the transition from outdoor to indoor play. Even better, many are Montessori-friendly and largely open-ended so your kids can get a ton of use out of them.

From sunny backyard afternoons to rainy mornings stuck inside, these indoor outdoor toys are sure to keep little ones engaged and entertained.


Secret Agent play set

Plan-Toys-Secret-agent-play-set

This set has everything your little secret agent needs to solve whatever case they might encounter: an ID badge, finger scanner, walkie-talkie handset, L-shaped scale and coloring comic (a printable file is also available for online download) along with a handy belt to carry it all along. Neighborhood watch? Watch out.

$40

Mini golf set

Plan Toys mini golf set

Fore! This mini golf set is lawn and living room ready. Set up a backyard competition or incorporate into homeschooling brain breaks that shift focus and build concentration.

$40

Stepping Stones

Stepping-stones

Kiddos can jump, stretch, climb and balance with these non-slip stepping stones. The 20-piece set can be arranged in countless configurations to create obstacle courses, games or whatever they can dream up.

$99.99

Wooden doll stroller

Janod wooden doll stroller

Take their charges on a stroll around the block with this classic doll stroller. With the same versatility they're used to in their own ride, this heirloom quality carriage allows their doll or stuffy to face them or face the world.

$120

Sand play set

Plan Toys sand set

Whether you're hitting the beach or the backyard sandbox, this adorable wooden sand set is ready for action. Each scoop has an embossed pattern that's perfect for sand stamping. They're also totally suitable for water play in the wild or the bathtub.

$30

Sensory play set

kidoozie-sand-and-splash-activity-table

Filled with sand or water, this compact-sized activity set keeps little ones busy, quiet and happy. (A mama's ideal trifecta 😉). It's big enough to satisfy their play needs but not so big it's going to flood your floors if you bring the fun inside on a rainy day.

$19.95

Vintage scooter balance bike

Janod retro scooter balance bike

Pedals are so 2010. Balance bikes are the way to go for learning to ride a bike while skipping the training wheels stage altogether. This impossibly cool retro scooter-style is built to cruise the neighborhood or open indoor space as they're learning.

$121

Foam pogo stick

Flybar-my-first-foam-pogo-stick

Designed for ages 3 and up, My First Flybar offers kiddos who are too young for a pogo stick a frustration-free way to get their jump on. The wide foam base and stretchy bungee cord "stick" is sturdy enough to withstand indoor and outdoor use and makes a super fun addition to driveway obstacle courses and backyard races. Full disclosure—it squeaks when they bounce, but don't let that be a deterrent. One clever reviewer noted that with a pair of needle-nose pliers, you can surgically remove that sucker without damaging the base.

$16.99

Dumptruck 

green-toys-dump-truck

Whether they're digging up sand in the backyard or picking up toys inside, kids can get as creative as they want picking up and moving things around. Even better? It's made from recycled plastic milk cartons.

$22

Hopper ball

Hopper ball

Burn off all that extra energy hippity hopping across the lawn or the living room! This hopper ball is one of the top rated versions on Amazon as it's thicker and more durable than most. It also comes with a hand pump to make inflation quick and easy.

$14.99

Pull-along ducks

janod-pull-along-wooden-ducks

There's just something so fun about a classic pull-along toy and we love that they seamlessly transition between indoor and outdoor play. Crafted from solid cherry and beechwood, it's tough enough to endure outdoor spaces your toddler takes it on.

$16.99

Rocking chair seesaw

Slidewhizzer-rocking-chair-seesaw

This built-to-last rocking seesaw is a fun way to get the wiggles out in the grass or in the playroom. The sturdy design can support up to 77 pounds, so even older kiddos can get in on the action.

$79.99

Baby forest fox ride-on

janod toys baby fox ride on

Toddlers will love zooming around on this fox ride-on, and it's a great transition toy into traditional balance bikes. If you take it for a driveway adventure, simply use a damp cloth to wipe down the wheels before bringing back inside.

$79.99

Meadow ring toss game

Plan Toys meadow ring toss game

Besides offering a fantastic opportunity to hone focus, coordination, determination and taking turns, lawn games are just plain fun. Set them up close together for the littles and spread them out when Mom and Dad get in on the action. With their low profile and rope rings, they're great for indoors as well.

$30

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New line of Barbie dolls includes a COVID vaccine developer

Six female scientists and global frontline workers are honored in Mattel's latest Barbie line.

Mattel

Barbie celebrates role models in a variety of different careers—over 200 to be exact—and their newest line is no exception. The continuation of the "Play it Forward" platform (that Mattel, Inc. uses to give back to communities in times of need) will now honor six real-life female scientists who have been integral during the pandemic, including a COVID vaccine developer.

It was announced today that Barbie will donate $5 for each eligible Barbie doctor, nurse and paramedic doll sold at Target to the First Responders Children's Foundation (FRCF), a charity that benefits the children of first responders during the COVID-19 pandemic.


"Barbie recognizes that all frontline workers have made tremendous sacrifices when confronting the pandemic and the challenges it heightened," said Lisa McKnight, Senior Vice President and Global Head of Barbie & Dolls, Mattel in a statement. "To shine a light on their efforts, we are sharing their stories and leveraging Barbie's platform to inspire the next generation to take after these heroes and give back. Our hope is to nurture and ignite the imaginations of children playing out their own storyline as heroes."

One of the one-of-a-kind Barbie dolls is created in the likeness of British vaccinologist Sarah Gilbert, who helped lead the development of the Oxford/AstraZeneca COVID vaccine. How cool is that? And what an inspirational toy for kids!

Gilbert told The Guardian she hopes the dolls inspire other young women around the world to work in science, technology, engineering and mathematics careers (STEM).

"I am passionate about inspiring the next generation of girls into STEM careers and hope that children who see my Barbie will realize how vital careers in science are to help the world around us," she said. "My wish is that my doll will show children careers they may not be aware of, like a vaccinologist."

The other five women recognized by Barbie and Mattel, Inc. are also role models amid the ongoing pandemic: Dr. Audrey Sue Cruz, a U.S. healthcare worker and advocate for anti-Asian racism, ER nurse Amy O'Sullivan, Canadian doctor and anti-racism advocate Chicka Stacy Oriuwa, Brazilian biomedical researcher Dr. Jaqueline Goes de Jesus, and Australian doctor Kirby White, who helped develop protective gowns for healthcare professionals.

Mattel's #ThankYouHeroes program was created in 2020 to honor those who have led the fight against COVID-19, as well as the everyday heroes who keep our communities up and running.

Cheers to the new line of Barbie dolls, and may all the Barbie-lovers in our families find inspiration from these real-life heroes!

News + Trending

Car seat safety isn't a gray area: Why one mom's story is going viral

She texted her husband to remind him to tighten the straps. Minutes later, he was in a car crash.

This story was originally published on August 01, 2018

For most parenting tasks, there's more than one way to get things done. This is important to remember if you're parenting with a partner who has a totally different laundry system than you do or packs the diaper bag in a way that makes no sense to you. It's not the end of the world if the onesies are hung instead of folded or if the bottles are in the wrong pocket. We have to give our partners room to do things their way, too.

But when it comes to buckling our kids in their car seats, there really is only one way—the safe way—and one mama is thankful that she reminded her partner of that just in time.


Rebecca Tafaro Boyer is a new mom and nurse at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee. On her first day back at work after maternity leave she asked her husband to send her hourly updates on how her 3-month-old son, William, was doing on his first day without her.

When her husband texted her a photo of William in his car seat, Tafaro Boyer knew she had to let her husband know that there's really only one way to buckle a baby in. "My nagging wife reply was to correct William's position in the car seat—the straps were too loose and the chest clip was way too low. And because I know my husband, I'm sure that he laughed at me and rolled his eyes before tightening the car seat and fixing the chest clip," she wrote in a now viral Facebook post about the experience.

Just 15 minutes after her husband fixed the straps, he and little William were in a collision.

According to Tafaro Boyer, an unlicensed, uninsured driver pulled into oncoming traffic attempting to make an illegal left turn, and although her husband slammed on the brakes at nearly 50 miles an hour, he just didn't have enough time to stop and hit the other car.

"My precious little bundle of joy was so well restrained in his car seat, THAT HE DIDN'T EVEN WAKE UP. Even with the impact of the two cars, William only received a minor jolt - so insignificant that he was able to continue on with his nap," Tafaro Boyer wrote.

Her husband was injured, but baby William was snug in his Britax B Safe 35 car seat. Had the straps been left as they were, it could have been a different story.

"I am so thankful that my husband took the extra one minute that was necessary to put William in his car seat safely," she Tafaro Boyer explained. "I truly believe that the reason my family is at home sitting on the couch with a pair of crutches instead of down at the hospital is because of my annoying nagging mom voice."

Fellow moms are all up in the comments of Tafaro Boyer's post tagging thier partners and leaving notes like, "This is why I nag."

It's not nagging if it's a safety issue.

Sometimes our partners (or our child's grandparents or babysitters) just don't know that something isn't safe. We've got to tell them when they're doing something we know could hurt our child. That's a text worth sending. The ones about the way your significant other folds the laundry wrong, those are the texts you might want to keep to yourself.

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    Car Seat Safety