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Embracing Gentle C-Sections: A Journey Towards Empowered Birth Experiences


The world of childbirth is witnessing a beautiful shift towards natural birth, homebirth, and freebirth. This movement, rooted in a deep desire to honor the body's natural processes, has empowered countless women to embrace their inner strength and trust in the wisdom of their bodies. As a Reiki Master Teacher, Womb Healer and Yoga Teacher, I wholeheartedly celebrate this shift. However, I also recognise the need to address an often unspoken aspect of this movement: the shame that sometimes surrounds C-sections.



In our quest for natural birthing experiences, it is crucial to remember that every birth is unique, and each journey into motherhood is sacred. For some, a C-section may become a necessary part of their story. My own experiences have taught me that a C-section can be a gentle, spiritual, and positive experience, filled with empowerment and love.


My Birth Stories: From Trauma to Empowerment

(Please note my babies faces have been blurred to respect their privacy x)


My journey into motherhood began with the birth of my first son Luca, in 2017. It was a challenging and traumatic experience. I was a scared girl, not living in my power. I was under the care of an obstetrician in Wellington. 

Due to the baby not growing towards the end of the pregnancy, I was scheduled for an induction on his due date. I was actually excited as I wanted him out (IYKYK!). I was unaware of the side effects of having an induction. One being that the contractions are significantly more painful. I had been so determined to have a natural and medication free birth. However, after 8 hours of induction labor I opted for an epidural, which felt like I had failed. 


When the time came to begin pushing, Luca went into fetal distress. So much so, that we were rushed into theatre for an emergency c-section. It turned out that he had the umbilical cord wrapped around his neck two times, preventing him from descending into the vaginal canal. I felt overwhelmed, frightened, and disconnected from the birth process. The experience left me feeling disempowered and filled with a sense of failure. From here, I struggled alot with early Motherhood. Breastfeeding was incredibly difficult and I stopped after two weeks. I was very disconnected from myself, my body, those around me and my baby. It took awhile for me to recover, and it wasn’t until I started on my Healing path that I fully began to understand what had happened, and began to make movement towards Healing and integrating the experience. Below is a picture of me one hour after surgery with Luca, in 2017.




However, the birth of my second son in 2023, Theo, was a completely different experience. Having gained wisdom from my previous journey, I approached this pregnancy, birth and postpartum with a renewed sense of empowerment and a deep desire for a different experience. As a Womb Healer, I felt an immense pressure within myself to have a VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean). And I had planned a water home birth right up until two weeks before I gave birth!


However, during those last two weeks of my pregnancy, in that beautiful sacred pre birth portal, I really tuned out the external world and looked inward to what felt best for myself, and my baby. In the past, I had been actively healing my very tight pelvic diaphragm muscles, which was going very well, until I became pregnant and they began to be very rigid again towards the end of the pregnancy. This alongside having polyhydramnios (excessive amniotic fluid) I decided to opt for a planned c section. When I made this decision, it was a full body yes. Every part of me felt relaxed, open, and excited about the prospect of paving a new way for C-sections, and for re-writing this traumatic story for myself. 


I worked closely with my midwife, surgeon, and doula, ensuring that my wishes were respected and that I was an active participant in the birth process. The result was an incredible, planned C-section that was calm, empowering, and filled with love. I felt connected to my body, my baby, and the entire process. 


My waters broke the day before my planned c section! Which I actually loved having the experience of! I spent 6 hours in natural labour at North Shore hospital. Matt set the room up with dim lights, my gentle birth playlist, crystals, essential oils, and we spent the time laughing, chatting, and breathing through the waves.


In the theatre I continued to have my beautiful music. I had my wonderful man with me supporting me, my beautiful midwife holding my hand and advocating for me every step of the way, I was doing self Reiki the whole time as well as receiving distance Reiki from many beautiful souls. We had delayed cord clamping, immediate skin to skin, breastfeeding while I was still being stitched up, dim lighting, the surgeons weren’t speaking unless absolutely necessary. After surgery I went back to my room and had the beautiful bone broth stew I had made prior, and I was out of hospital within 24 hours, to recover and rest at home. 


Postpartum I was able to and still am breastfeeding, I healed well, and I felt empowered, connected and so in love with my baby and my life! This experience reaffirmed my belief that a gentle C-section is not only possible but can be a deeply spiritual and positive experience.





Creating a Gentle C-Section Experience


For those who may need or choose a C-section, here are some ways to create a gentle and spiritual birth experience:


Communicate Your Wishes

Clearly communicate your preferences and birth plan with your birth team. Discuss aspects such as immediate skin-to-skin contact, delayed cord clamping, and a calm environment with dim lighting and soothing music, or whatever feels important to you.


Involve Your Support System

Having a trusted support person, whether it’s a partner, family member, or doula, can provide emotional support and advocacy during the birth process. I had an incredible doula - Carla Sargent from Healing Birth. 


Incorporate Reiki and Mindfulness

As a Reiki master, I found that incorporating Reiki and mindfulness techniques helped me stay centered and calm. Consider having a Reiki practitioner present or practicing self-Reiki to create a peaceful and healing environment.


Create a Sacred Space

Bring elements that make you feel grounded and connected, such as crystals, essential oils, or a favourite blanket. Transform the surgical room into a sacred space that resonates with your energy.


Empower Yourself with Knowledge

Understanding the C-section process can alleviate fears and help you feel more in control. Attend prenatal classes, read empowering birth stories, and ask questions to your healthcare provider.


Visualise a Positive Outcome

Visualisation and positive affirmations can be powerful tools. Envision a smooth and gentle birth, focusing on the joy of meeting your baby.


Use Gentle Language

Encourage the surgical team to use gentle and respectful language throughout the procedure to create a calm and positive atmosphere.


Music and Mantras

Play calming music, mantras, or affirmations that resonate with you. This can help create a serene environment and keep you centered.


Gentle Touch

Ask for a gentle touch approach from the medical team when possible, ensuring all movements and interactions are slow and considerate.


Personalised Birth Plan

Create a detailed birth plan that includes your preferences for a gentle C-section. Share this plan with your birth team ahead of time.


Partner Involvement

Have your partner or support person actively involved. They can hold your hand, maintain eye contact, and provide comfort and reassurance throughout the procedure.


Aromatherapy

Use essential oils or aromatherapy diffusers (with hospital approval) to create a soothing environment. Scents like lavender or chamomile can be particularly calming.


Delayed Cord Clamping

Delayed cord clamping can be a significant part of a gentle C-section. It involves waiting for a few minutes after birth before clamping and cutting the umbilical cord. This allows the baby to receive additional blood from the placenta, which can improve iron levels and blood volume. Discuss this option with your healthcare provider to see if it's feasible in your situation.


Immediate Breastfeeding

If possible, arrange for immediate breastfeeding or skin-to-skin contact in the operating room to promote bonding and calm both you and your baby.


Postpartum Support

Arrange for postpartum support, including lactation consultants and emotional support, to help with the transition and healing process.


Homeopathy

Homeopathy can be a gentle and supportive addition to your C-section experience. Remedies such as Arnica for bruising and trauma, and Hypericum for nerve pain, can aid in the healing process. Consult a qualified homeopath to create a personalised plan for pre- and post-surgery care.


Below is a photo one hour after surgery in 2023 :)




Honouring Every Birth Story


It's important to honour every birth story, recognising that each journey is unique and beautiful in its own right. There should be no shame in having a C-section; instead, we should celebrate the strength and resilience of every Mother, regardless of how her baby arrives into the world.


For those who have experienced an emergency C-section and are grappling with feelings of shame or inadequacy, know that your experience is no less significant than any other birth. The circumstances surrounding an emergency C-section can be overwhelming, and the emotional aftermath can be challenging. However, it’s essential to acknowledge the incredible strength and courage it took to bring your baby into the world under such conditions. Your journey is valid, and you are remarkable for birthing life and navigating the complexities that came with it.



Healing and Planning for a Gentle C-Section


If you have experienced a traumatic birth and are wishing to plan for a gentle C-section next time, it's important to engage in healing work. Seeking support from various practitioners such as counselors, womb healers, and therapists can help process the trauma and prepare emotionally for a positive birth experience. Healing past birth trauma not only supports you but also energetically heals the experience for your child. By addressing and releasing these emotions, you create a clearer, more empowering path for future births.



Moving Forward with Empowerment


As we continue to advocate for natural and empowered births, let’s also create a space where gentle C-sections are acknowledged and respected. By sharing our stories and supporting one another, we can foster a community that values every birth experience and empowers women to embrace their journeys with love and pride.



Embracing the Different Birth Experiences of Our Children


Sometimes, when we have a better experience with our second child, we may feel guilt about the experience our first child had. It’s important to remember that each child's birth story is their unique path and part of their journey. By healing our own experiences and emotions around their births, we also help to heal them energetically. Each experience shapes who they are, and by embracing and honoring these stories, we contribute to their growth and healing.



Whether your path leads you to a natural birth, a homebirth, or a C-section, know that your experience is valid and beautiful. Embrace it, honour it, and let it be a testament to the incredible strength and love that defines motherhood!


Thank you for being here and for allowing me to share my story. If you’re preparing for a birth, know that you have a community of support behind you. Trust in your journey, and remember that every birth is a miracle.


If you enjoyed this blog, keep an eye out for my next blog which will be on my tips on Holistic Healing after a C-section!


With love, respect and devotion,


Sophia xx


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