Bringing a baby into this world is a beautiful, terrifying and sacred experience. But, sadly, for many moms, it can also be an experience that leaves them feeling ashamed, judged and inferior. Moms who deliver babies via C-section (as opposed to vaginal birth) often feel as though they didn’t “really” deliver and that their birthing experience is somehow less valid than that of moms who delivered without surgical intervention.
In an attempt to reverse these harmful myths in birthing culture, some women are seeking to change the term “C-section” to the much more appropriate and beautiful term “belly birth.”
The idea took hold when mom-to-be Jordan Grissom was faced with the realization that she was going to have to abandon her birthing plan and get a C-section. At first, she was very upset (as she too had internalized many messages that C-sections were not “real” delivery), but then her doula Flor Cruz said something very comforting and wise to her. She said Grissom would be “having a belly birth rather than a vaginal birth,” according to POPSUGAR.
And with that simple change of phrase, the terrified and emotional mom suddenly found peace and strength, and she was able to be present and empowered during her “belly birth,” rather than feeling ashamed and inferior because she was not able to deliver vaginally.
As for the doula, Flor Cruz, she explains that she always tries to use the term “belly birth” whenever speaking of C-sections, because she knows how powerful and important words can be, especially when we are talking about issues that are overwhelming and issues that cut so close to the heart such as motherhood.
“Change the language, change the mindset,” she told the website. “Change the mindset, and it changes the experience like a chain reaction. We connect more to the surgery aspect when we say cesarean or C-section. We are describing the act of major abdominal surgery. We don’t necessarily highlight and celebrate the bringing forth of life. The joy of a child being born. Parents being born. [Belly birth] is far more inclusive. It reminds everyone that a birth did indeed happen, not just a surgery.”
What an awesome idea. Becoming a new mom is already such a heart-rendering experience, so we need to make sure that we are empowering all women and all methods of giving birth. Changing the term “C-section” to “belly birth” is a simple yet incredibly powerful way to do just that.