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Did anyone ask you why you were having an ELCS?

(41 Posts)
DancingLady Tue 30-Jun-15 14:03:59

And if so, what did you tell them?

I am probably going to have an ELCS (on MH grounds).

I won't tell everyone I know, obviously, but family and in-laws will need to know (childcare for DC1 etc). I'm planning to tell anyone who is rude enough to ask asks that it's on health grounds, and leave it at that, as it's no one's business but mine and DH's.

Did you get people questioning your decision, and how did you respond? Any pointers gratefully received.

Number3cometome Tue 30-Jun-15 14:24:47

Yes, and i've had the 'too posh to push' comments.

I did have a labour with my first but ended up having an EMCS.

With second, I was going to VBAC but wasn't well enough.

This time straight for the ELCS no questions.

I would say your consultant recommended it on health grounds. If anyone pushes what those health grounds are, say high blood pressure.
No one can really prove that otherwise.

Heels99 Tue 30-Jun-15 14:28:01

No. Never.

GinUpGirl Tue 30-Jun-15 14:32:11

Just tell them the doctors think it is the safest option for you and the baby.

puddymuddles Tue 30-Jun-15 14:38:28

None of their business. I would say for health reasons. Fwiw I am terrified of c sections and had a homebirth for DC3 recently. I got asked why I was having a homebirth it was dangerous etc. People just want you to do exactly what they would choose.

Boosiehs Tue 30-Jun-15 14:40:31

If anyone asks I will say that the birth of DS was like something out of a fecking warzone, and I haven't really recovered.

Oh and he was nearly 10lb.

Then tell them to mind their own business.

FlumptyDumpty Tue 30-Jun-15 17:14:42

I have. I just said it was the safest option for the baby, which is true in my case. Felt really annoyed I'd been questioned though, and was soooo tempted to say "I'm just too post to push".

MemphisBella Tue 30-Jun-15 17:23:42

I've been asked lots. I'm really snarky though, and always reply that the consultant said it was that or risk my own and the babies' life.

If anyone is being an idiot about it, just tilt your head and ask them why it's important that they know.

Congratulations, too!

DancingLady Tue 30-Jun-15 19:21:22

thanks all. I think most people will respect my decision but I can think of a few family members who will question it, or point out that it's major surgery, like I've not considered that! I don't want to lie outright so saying "it's for health reasons" and refusing to elaborate seems the best option...

RedToothBrush Tue 30-Jun-15 19:26:00

I told people it was for mental health (anxiety). No one has questioned it or been odd about it.

I don't see what the problem with telling the truth is. The only way the 'stigma' will stop is if people are matter of fact about it. Tbh, I do think its a lot more widely accepted and understood than it was even 2 or 3 years ago.

There is certainly no shame in it.

So why try and cover it up?

DancingLady Tue 30-Jun-15 19:43:23

red - I didn't say I was trying to cover it up.

there are a few family members who will question my decision and I'd rather not get into a discussion with them about it. I don't want to lie, just tell them the very basics.

ChristineBrooke Tue 30-Jun-15 19:53:34

When I had mine a few years back it was for anxiety, although I was always clear with them that I didn't feel this should necessarily come under mental health reasons. I thought my anxiety was a proportionate and rational response to the prospect of natural birth, which I found and still find unappealing and frightening. I was 40 and a ftm.

I was not embarrassed at all, and told anyone who asked I was having one because I wanted one. I had to fight to get it, and had to use every ounce of my professional debating ability with some difficult HCPs (I am a barrister and even I found it very trying, god knows how more timid, younger women manage it) and after it was finally agreed I was delighted to be having one. If people pressed I said 'because to me it seems obviously the best way to do it, though I fully understand that for most people that might not be true.'

RedToothBrush Tue 30-Jun-15 19:59:31

In that case, just say medical reasons that are complicated. Mental health is a health reason.

Number3cometome Wed 01-Jul-15 08:05:24

Say you are anxious and it's putting your BP up so doc thinks a Csection is best, half truth there!

Dildals Wed 01-Jul-15 13:27:18

I am having it for 'MH' reasons as well, which, let's be fair, covers a plethora of reasons in itself. Most people around me know what happened first time round so they understand.

For the people who don't know I just say that the obstetrician recommended I deliver by CS. Make it a Dr's choice rather than my choice.

redtoothbrush I, personally, have no trouble telling the truth, but that involves telling them what happened last time and that can be a bit of a conversation killer. I agree that my experience was extreme, but my experience is that not many people want to engage with the fact that a baby can die in labour. And that babies can die because of human error. It's an uncomfortable truth that is sometimes just better left unsaid. Sometimes you are get pulled in to conversations, with random colleagues you don't know that well or minicab drivers, and it's just not worth to mention the entire story. (As soon as you have a bump it seems to be free game for everyone to comment and discuss! :-))

christine sorry to hear you had to argue so hard for your ELCS. I must say that I hardly had to fight for it all. To get the different silos in the NHS to communicate with eachother so I didn't have to tell my story again and again and again, now, that was difficult and I was also thinking, what about all those women that are not as assertive as me?

meglet Wed 01-Jul-15 13:29:42

yes. I explained my cervix was broken and the baby would be dead if I attempted a natural birth.

ChristineBrooke Wed 01-Jul-15 14:07:16

Thanks dildals. Sorry about your experience too.

There seemed to be a Kafkaesque circularity about the MH question in as much as merely asking for a CS puts yiu in that box, regardless of your mental health. Still, I ended up bolshy enough to just reply 'because I wanted one', cf the OP's question. Which I recommend as a response!

Dildals Wed 01-Jul-15 14:45:27

Yes, it's weird isn't it, that MH tag.

To be fair, no one in the NHS has put that tag on it. As far as the NHS is concerned I have simply 'elected' to have one.

I guess I have put the MH tag on it myself, only because there is not a physical health reason to have one! So, thinking about it, it's not a MH reason at all, I just think that, taking all facts & circumstances in to consideration, this is the safest way of delivering my baby!

TreadSoftlyOnMyDreams Wed 01-Jul-15 15:37:56

Yes - I said I was too posh to push in a none of your business tone of voice. grin

Just tell them that the baby is breech or you have a low-lying placenta so there's no choice if you want to give a reason.

Lilipot15 Wed 01-Jul-15 15:50:41

It was my new health visitor who was the most questioning of my elCS, only a few weeks before my delivery. It really gave me a wobble about it and I wish I had not feel so pressured to go over my first birth story with her.
I think it is best to have a line such as folk have suggested above so that when inquisitive folk ask you're not caught off your guard as I was.
Congratulations on your pregnancy!

RedToothBrush Wed 01-Jul-15 16:00:25

I really don't think lying helps anyone including you.

The MH tag is frustrating as I WAS categorically told that my anxiety made it a clinical need and it was a health reason yet the forms all state maternal request.

NICE deem it a legitimate health reason and part of informed choice. (And yep after taking all the facts into consideration I too felt it the safest option, but then I wouldn't have consented if I didn't think that an ELCS was safe on balance anyway).

I disagree that saying its for mental health reasons is something that opens conversations you don't want. That's down to how you phrase things and allow people to ask questions in the first place. Its very simple to say that you have health reasons or (mental health reasons) for wanting an ELCS that you have discussed at length with your consultant and you are both in agreement that its the best option for both you and the baby and it is not in your best interests to discuss further because you find it distressing.

Anyone who pushes you further is being really rude and pulling them up on their rudeness is the step you take from there.

Saying you are too posh to push is even worse because that reinforces the mindset that its a real thing and acceptable to say that. That is stopping people with genuine need feeling able to discuss the issue or ask for help because they fear they won't be taken seriously and they won't be treated with the respect and support they should get.

Its a vicious cycle that if you've been through, you should know better than most. And in that respect I do think how you handle it is important as it does impact on others.

elliejjtiny Wed 01-Jul-15 21:36:28

I had a C-section that was planned 2 days before I had it due to DS4's medical needs. That is the short explanation. The long explanation is that DS had a severe cleft palate so I had a lot of excess fluid. He also has ehlers danlos syndrome. So my waters broke at 35 weeks because there was too much waters and they just exploded. Because of his ehlers danlos syndrome and because he suddenly had less water, DS4 was in a very awkward position; head by one of my hips, feet by the other, cord dangling precariously in the middle. I was at risk of infection and cord prolapse so they gave me steroid injections, waited for them to work, waited for a free theatre and got DS4 out.

People asked why, both before and after he was born. Several people suggested I look at the spinning babies website hmm. It depends on a lot of things whether I use the short explanation or the long one. People who are being nosy just get the short version. People who make stupid comments about how everyone could have homebirths if they educated themselves and hired a doula get the long explanation, usually with a bit of added drama just to make sure they don't tell me that acupuncture would have moved my severely disabled DS into the right position.

I rarely ask people about their choice of birth beforehand. Sometimes I will ask if they are happy about having a C-section because I know some people fight to get one and some people fight to not get one. I don't want to commiserate with someone about their C-section that they fought hard to get.

UsernameAlreadyInUse Wed 01-Jul-15 21:47:52

I was asked plenty of times. My stock response was to say I had a chronic gynaecological condition that made a vaginal birth extremely inadvisable. I never got any further questions! Those two words 'gynaecological' and 'vaginal' made most people blanch.

ChristineBrooke Thu 02-Jul-15 07:03:52

"People who make stupid comments about how everyone could have homebirths if they educated themselves and hired a doula get the long explanation"


Re MH: the NHS put the MH tag on mine, because of the policy, I guess, in that particular hospital. Asking for a CS, for whatever reason, gets you referred to the 'anxiety pathway'. So asking for a CS is itself seen as defining you as having excessive anxiety. This is all very enlightened for those who do, of course, but also institutionally stigmatising for those who are making a happy choice (I would have had excessive anxiety if made to go through with a VB, but as it was I had no anxiety at all). It is also of course, pretty damn revealing ideologically speaking of the prejudices against CS within maternity services.

ChristineBrooke Thu 02-Jul-15 07:08:55

And in that hospital asking for a CS in itself means you get offered counselling. Again, great for those who want it, but the assumption that rational adult patients should be somehow re-educated out of the desire for a particular mode of birth is offensive, at best.

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