A caesarean, or C-section, is a major operation used to deliver a baby by making a cut in the tummy and womb. The NHS estimates that around 1 in 4 pregnant women in the UK have had a caesarean birth. To put that into perspective almost 25% of UK births may have ended up being caesareans. Despite being so widespread, a C-section is a major operation that carries a number of risks. These risks can include anything from blood clots and excessive bleeding, all the way to damage to your organs or accidental harm of the baby Even though a wide breadth of women may have gone through Caesareans, there is still a damaging stigma surrounding the surgery. With the month of April being Caesarean Awareness Month, here at Merci Maman we have decided to place a spotlight on the lovely Elle Peterson to hear about her journey to motherhood. As well as her experience on having a caesarean and how she is fighting the stigma associated with C-sections.
Meet Elle Peterson
Elle Peterson, who you may know as @sheis.elle on instagram, is a soon to be Mother of two who is currently based in tropical Tanzania. Over on her social media she candidly shares her journey and experience with having a C-section. Alongside this she also documents the changes that pregnancy has brought to her body. Keep reading to find out more about Elle and her journey …
Our Caesarean Awareness Interview With Elle
So Elle can you let us know a little about your motherhood journey?
Becoming a mother had always been important to me. I knew I wanted to have children, so when conceiving a child didn’t happen as quickly as I thought it would, I realised just how badly I wanted it. Being adopted also played a larger part than I thought it would. My entire life I had never known someone with the same blood as me – I so badly longed to know someone who shared the same DNA. When I found out I was pregnant with my son, I had an intense feeling of anticipation to finally look at someone who was part of me. When that day came, I felt so extremely grateful. Motherhood has been a beautiful journey – but the hardest one I have been on yet. It comes with all types of rewards but at the same time, challenges and lessons. It has taught me to respect my body even when I don’t love how it looks, it has made me realise that no matter how hard I try and hope, most things are out of my control, it has forced me to give myself and others grace, it has showed me that sacrifice can be gratifying, and ultimately, it has allowed me to feel love in a way I had never experienced before.Elle detailing her journey to motherhood and how much she is appreciative of it.
Was a Caesarean something that you had always planned?
No, it wasn’t, however, I always knew that it potentially would need to happen. I feel like I was mentally prepared, which made going into it perhaps a bit easier.
How was your experience?
Thankfully my caesarean wasn’t an extreme emergency. They were able to prep me for surgery without feeling too rushed or panicked. The actual surgery went smoothly and my doctor did a wonderful job. It was after surgery and during recovery that was the hardest. After surgery, all I wanted was to do be with my family and hold that little bundle of joy, but instead, they wheeled me off to recovery alone.Recovery was also difficult. I felt discouraged for weeks, wondering if I would ever gain strength again or be able to do the things I was able to do before. On top of learning the ropes of being a mother for the first time, I was struggling to get in and out of bed and walk for more than 10 minutes at a time.
Do you feel there is a stigma around C-sections?
I think the stigma around Caesareans is definitely decreasing, but there is still shame around them, especially if someone has an elected C-section. I love seeing more conversation and celebration around them and how mothers are being more empowered about their C-section birthing experiences.
How was your recovery & support after
Immediately after delivery, I felt like the care workers in the hospital did not inform me with adequate information regarding after care and what to expect during recovery. I did a lot of the asking of questions and research. I am fortunate to have a fantastic support system around me from my husband, family and friends. They really were my pillars during that time of recovery and gave me the mental and emotional strength.
Are there any resources/support groups that you found helpful?
The best way I get encouragement is by seeing images and stories that normalise different parenting journeys. I don’t want to go hunting for it — I just want them to be on my main feeds because diverse birthing and parenting methods are regularly being celebrated. So, for me personally, it is important to follow a variety of transparent and honest accounts.One account that really helped me during that time was @mother.ly. You are welcome to also follow along my page @sheis.elle!Elle speaking about how important it is to be seeing inclusive and transparent parenting.
We want to massively thank Elle for sharing her journey with us.
Below we have linked some useful websites that may aid those who are looking into or have had Caesareans.