I had a baby but did I give birth?

Can I ever claim I gave birth?

More than 13 months on from welcoming Molly into the world I find it hard to say the sentence "I gave birth".

I often find myself quickly correcting myself when I go to say it, I feel I am not qualified to actually claim to having given birth - I had an emergency c-section - I did not push, not once. I did not have a contraction. I did not do any of the work of giving birth.

I suppose a lot of this is because since imaging having children, from a young age, I had always assumed it would involve a "normal" birth. I did not want to ever have a c-section. I actually felt ashamed for having a c-section thinking people would judge me as being "too posh to push". Some did.

I know that having a c-section saved both Molly's and my life. I truly believe that we would not be here to puzzle over a simple phrase like "did I give birth" if I had not had a c-section. Indeed I did not really have a choice - the Dr stated that they would do it if they felt they needed to despite me not arguing against it.

I know that if I ever needed to have one again I would have a c-section without trying to refuse one but I do want to have a "normal" birth so that I can feel like I have properly given birth.

I hate that the idea of saying "I gave birth" is such a hard statement to say. Why can't I say it? Maybe I should not say it?

Did you have a c-section and feel you did not "give birth?"

Training Mummy

Training Mummy is a 30 something mum to two beautiful children - a girl born February 2014 and a boy born in October 2015.


  1. I can relate to this so much! My situation was slightly different in the fact that I knew from very early on that I would not be giving birth - I had an elective C-section. See, even that phrase bugs me because my C-section was not elective, I did not want it, I had no choice in the matter. I had placenta praevia, of the worst kind.

    I get feeling like people judging you for a C-section... Especially seen as people would ask about my birth plan etc for me to say, oh, I'm having a C-section - that makes me sound 'too posh to push'. In many ways, I feel like I missed out on this amazing experience that so many other mothers get to experience... And the thing with me, as you know, is Alexander is 99% a one and only child - I will never get to experience 'giving birth'.

    I don't say, when I gave birth, I always, unconsciously, phrase it as 'when I had Alexander', because to me, I didn't give birth...

  2. 2.5 years on I say when I had, not sure whether that's conscious or no. Although I did experience some labour it wasn't much I only got to 4cm before he needed to get out and my contractions were provided by the syntocin. I think now I'm over it given that I'm about to do it all again and I am considering whether a c section is a better choice!

  3. I think we set ourselves up as women too much where pregnancy and birth is concerned. The reality is far from what we see on the soaps.

    Labour can be a long drawn out process and it can be exhausting. I gave birth to Daniel in a 'natural' way but I felt completely let down by my body when I developed pre eclampsia. My ideal of a home birth was a distant memory when I found myself lay on a bed with the obstetricians in charge and me hooked up to monitors. I felt like I had failed. Too much that I felt out of control with and not what I had anticipated at all.

    I know it is really easy for me to say, 2 and a bit years on and having experienced the pregnancy and birth I wanted I have made my peace with Daniel's entry to the world. What is, on reflection for me at least, the more important thing, is that Daniel and Emma have a settled life and have me daily x The birth is such a short period of time x

  4. I would be, and a will be annoyed if I need an elective next time round, to use the term "elective" as I, like you would never choose this way of birth as an option is I was given the choice.
    There is a stigma attached to c-sections which doesn't help those who have one with no choice in the matter.

  5. Good luck with your next baby. Sometimes a c-section is the best choice and I know that I will have that option next time too - not sure which option would be best but will be guided by the professionals.

  6. Oh I realise labour is not like TV and that is is exhausting, miserable and something you wouldn't want to do for the sake of it but I do still want to experience it. I was lucky that I never had a birth plan so I wasn't overly concerned about having a baby in the hospital or water birth. It would have been nice to have at the maternity unit but I never made a birth plan for that reason. It is the birth part of the plan that I want to experience.