Healing the Emotional Scars of a C-Section

The C-section can leave as much of an impact on your mind as your body.

Healing the Emotional Scars of a C-Section

Each day I look at my son Oliver, I am in wonder of his perfection. Even when his actions are a little unruly (hello terrible two’s), there isn’t a time I ever think he could be better. And somehow as he gets older, the idea that I grew him inside of my body becomes even more amazing. What you mamas are doing, growing that baby inside of you at this moment, is a tiny miracle. And one day you will have a birth story to call your own. Some of you will wait for any given opportunity to relive the moment in your birth story. For others it will be a blur, and a few -- for one reason or another -- will try and avoid the question altogether.


I fall into the latter group. Like many of you, I set out to have a “natural, unmedicated” birth. I had gone my entire pregnancy without touching a glass of wine, switched to all organic food and beauty products and exercised because I didn’t want to harm my baby. While exhaustion was the number one issue in my first trimester, I never experienced morning sickness and was lucky enough to have what some might call a perfect pregnancy throughout.

Yet, I found myself as a c-section statistic on November 5, 2011. Yes, of course, that was the day that I became the mother to the most perfect boy in my world, but what I think a lot of people fail to realize is that one is not exclusive to the other. Time and time again I hear people say, “Well, you have a healthy baby and that’s all that matters.” But does it? From a mom who went through a c-section and cried herself to sleep for weeks -- yes, the hormones were running through my veins -- I’m not sure I agree. While c-sections are common, that does not mean it is a minor surgery. It is in fact a major surgery. And not only is the physical healing rough on a mama, but the emotional trauma can be just as difficult. Especially when you aren’t prepared.

For me, I just couldn’t understand how I actually got there. Sure, I watched “The Business of Being Born” and sort of knew that the moment induction started, I could be on my way to having a c-section. But when you’re 41 weeks pregnant and have already told the doctor that you want to give the baby a few more days, what is one to do? Like my family, I was scared to go against my doctor’s recommendations too much. What if -- after that perfect pregnancy of mine -- I compromised my baby? I tried some last-minute acupuncture to no avail.

My medical induction started with the cervix softener cervidil, which prepped me for a foley bulb that then led to the doctor breaking my water, which brought on the pitocin. Over 26 hours -- and many tears -- later, my doctor suggested they had done all they could do. Oliver just didn’t want to come out. I kept asking myself why I had done this to us. He just wasn’t ready to come out in my eyes. Yet I was there. And yes, in a way, everyone is right: once Oliver was out, it didn’t matter. Once I heard his cry, I knew the previous worries of not being able to bond with baby without immediate skin to skin was wrong because I felt the bond from the first note of his loud, strong cry (he’s still a loud strong crier). Even with my delayed milk because of the c-section, my babe was an avid nurser, which after a few hurdles was a gift.

But it was when we got home and the baby was sleeping that I had time to really think of what my body had gone through. My body, which felt like it had been hit by a truck, was a nice reminder for weeks and months later. Every wrong movement made me think “what if I made my doctor wait just one more day?” But that is behind us. There are no take-backs.

I remember talking to one of the founders of Birthday Presence for the first time and she described post-c-section as a mourning period. I realized that even with a beautiful baby to call my own, it was okay to mourn the birth I didn’t experience. For me, there was also a feeling of violation that came a long with it. It was my body, my baby, yet I had no final say in what was about to happen.

I’ll spare you the details of what actually happens during a c-section but it’s not something a mama should feel forced into -- which in retrospect, I did. It’s a major surgery and one that most mamas wouldn’t want to happen unless absolutely necessary. And while I’m leaving it behind me, the best I can do going forward is to encourage mamas-to-be to become informed about c-sections just in case you end up in the situation. Not because your baby won’t be perfect if you have one, but because you deserve to have the birth you choose if possible.

Here are a few things I would have done differently.

1. Get a doula. They are not a luxury. Of course, I’m sure your partner, like mine, is amazing but they are not trained in labor support. And while yes, I’m sure your doctor is wonderful, chances are they will not be with you throughout your labor. This is the most important day in your life. You deserve the support.

2. Do your research. I kept thinking, “Women all over the world give birth everyday, I can do this anywhere.” Except for the fact that there are hospitals that have higher c-section rates. I wish I wasn’t so cavalier about my choice.

3. Push your medical providers a little harder. I know women who did and had kickass natural births. If your baby is not in any danger, don’t get peer-pressured because of hypothetical situations.

4. Keep your environment monitored. My hospital was way too lax and let more people than I was comfortable with into my room during my labor. Don’t be afraid to tell people to get out if your hospital doesn’t. You don’t want any extra stress that might scare that baby from coming out.

5. Don’t tune it out. Be informed about your birth options. But also be informed about c-section. If you end up having one unexpectedly, the situation can feel less jarring when you're prepared.

Image via Pinterest.

14 outdoor toys your kids will want to play with beyond summer

They transition seamlessly for indoor play.

With Labor day weekend in the rearview and back-to-school in full swing, most parents are fresh out of boxes to check on their "Fun Concierge" hit list. It's also the point of diminishing returns on investing in summer-only toys. So with that in mind, we've rounded up some of our favorite toys that are not only built to last but will easily make the transition from outdoor to indoor play. Even better, they're 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 toys are sure to keep little ones engaged and entertained.

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.


Balance board

Plan Toys balance board

Balance boards are a fabulous way to get the wiggles out. This one comes with a rope attachment, making it suitable for even the youngest wigglers. From practicing their balance and building core strength to working on skills that translate to skateboarding and snowboarding, it's a year-round physical activity that's easy to bring inside and use between Zoom classes, too!


Detective set

Plan Toys detective setDetective Set

This set has everything your little detective needs to solve whatever mystery they might encounter: an eye glasses, walkie-talkie, camera, a red lens, a periscope and a bag. Neighborhood watch? Watch out.


Wooden doll stroller

Janod wooden doll strollerWooden 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.


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.


Water play set

Plan Toys water play set

Filled with sand or water, this tabletop 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.


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.


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.


Wooden rocking pegasus

plan toys wooden rocking pegasus

Your little will be ready to take flight on this fun pegasus. It gently rocks back and forth, but doesn't skimp on safety—its winged saddle, footrests and backrest ensure kids won't fall off whether they're rocking inside or outside.


Croquet set

Plan Toys croquet set

The cutest croquet set we've ever seen! With adorable animal face wooden balls and a canvas bag for easy clean up, it's also crafted to stick around awhile. Round after round, it's great for teaching kiddos math and problem-solving skills as well.


Wooden digital camera

fathers factory wooden digital camera

Kids get the chance to assemble the camera on their own then can adventure anywhere to capture the best moments. With two detachable magnetic lenses, four built-in filters and video recorder, your little photographer can tap into their creativity from summertime to the holidays.


Wooden bulldozer toy

plan toys wooden bulldozer toy

Whether they're digging up sand in the backyad or picking up toys inside, kids can get as creative as they want picking up and moving things around. Even better? Its wooden structure means it's not an eye sore to look at wherever your digger drops it.


Pull-along hippo

janod toys pull along hippo toy

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.


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.


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


Time-saving formula tips our editors swear by

Less time making bottles, more time snuggling.

As a new parent, it can feel like feeding your baby is a full-time job—with a very demanding nightshift. Add in the additional steps it takes to prepare a bottle of formula and, well… we don't blame you if you're eager to save some time when you can. After all, that means more time for snuggling your baby or practicing your own well-deserved self-care.

Here's the upside: Many, many formula-feeding mamas before you have experienced the same thing, and they've developed some excellent tricks that can help you mix up a bottle in record time. Here are the best time-saving formula tips from editors here at Motherly.

1. Use room temperature water

The top suggestion that came up time and time again was to introduce bottles with room temperature water from the beginning. That way, you can make a bottle whenever you need it without worrying about warming up water—which is a total lifesaver when you have to make a bottle on the go or in the middle of the night.

2. Buy online to save shopping time

You'll need a lot of formula throughout the first year and beyond—so finding a brand like Comforts, which offers high-quality infant formula at lower prices, will help you save a substantial amount of money. Not to mention, you can order online or find the formula on shelves during your standard shopping trip—and that'll save you so much time and effort as well.

3. Pre-measure nighttime bottles

The middle of the night is the last time you'll want to spend precious minutes mixing up a bottle. Instead, our editors suggest measuring out the correct amount of powder formula into a bottle and putting the necessary portion of water on your bedside table. That way, all you have to do is roll over and combine the water and formula in the bottle before feeding your baby. Sounds so much better than hiking all the way to the kitchen and back at 3 am, right?

4. Divide serving sizes for outings

Before leaving the house with your baby, divvy up any portions of formula and water that you may need during your outing. Then, when your baby is hungry, just combine the pre-measured water and powder serving in the bottle. Our editors confirm this is much easier than trying to portion out the right amount of water or formula while riding in the car.

5. Memorize the mental math

Soon enough, you'll be able to prepare a bottle in your sleep. But, especially in the beginning or when increasing your baby's serving, the mental math can take a bit of time. If #mombrain makes it tough to commit the measurements to memory, write up a cheat sheet for yourself or anyone else who will prepare your baby's bottle.

6. Warm up chilled formula with water

If you're the savvy kind of mom who prepares and refrigerates bottles for the day in advance, you'll probably want to bring it up to room temperature before serving. Rather than purchase a bottle warmer, our editors say the old-fashioned method works incredibly well: Just plunge the sealed bottle in a bowl of warm water for a few minutes and—voila!—it's ready to serve.

Another great tip? Shop the Comforts line on to find premium baby products for a fraction of competitors' prices. Or, follow @comfortsforbaby for more information!

This article was sponsored by The Kroger Co. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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Parents shouldn't feel as though they have no other choice.

Parents across the nation are adjusting to school being back in session during a pandemic. From converting dining rooms into virtual classrooms to totally derailing their careers, parents are finding ways to make it through this unprecedented crisis.

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