Mums are renaming their c-sections ‘belly births’ to shake the stigma often linked to caesarean sections.
Childbirth educator and doula Flor Cruz is leading the push, saying she’s making a deliberate attempt to ‘spread the magic’ of the term belly birth. The Californian mum told Mum’s Grapevine that the c-section birth of one of her own children left her feeling ‘unattached’ to the birth.
“I felt like it was just a medical procedure, nothing more,” she revealed. “I felt left out in a sense. Using the term belly birth allowed me to open the door to knowing that I gave birth. It happened through my belly. I became a mother too, just like everyone else. My birth was worthy of praise and glory. I had the sweat and tears like everyone else. My birth was worthy of celebrating. It has helped me heal a lot of resentment and bad feelings I had.”
Flor says she first stumbled on the term belly birth as a hashtag on Instagram, and since then has been working to make it commonplace.
“Once I started to see the big positive impact it had on families, I made a deliberate attempt to spread the magic of this new term. Language holds a very firm place in how we interact and relate to each other. Certain words carry negative feelings, while others carry positive feelings. The word caesarean or c-section carries a lot of stigma.
“It’s been often thought that these mummies had ‘the easy way out’ or did not actually give birth. It prioritises the fact that a major abdominal surgery happened. We need to prioritise the obvious, that a birth happened.”
What do mums think?
The birth and postpartum doula says her clients are embracing the term and has prompted discussion in the wider community. “This gets the ball rolling into an area of learning and making informed decisions regarding their own births. It’s really becoming something so important,” Flor said.
However, the term has attracted a mixed response on social media from mums who have experienced c-sections.
“I don’t know, I feel like renaming the procedure to belly birth somehow trivialises it. It is a valid way to give birth and the stigma attached to it needs to be fought. But it is also a very invasive medical procedure which should not be taken lightly. So nickname yes, rename no.” – Liekenora
“Love it! I remember being told that I was ‘never born’ because I was born via emergency c-section. Using the term belly birth will surely avoid such a rude comment.” – Samantha Scott
Flor says the term is inclusive, and something she’ll continue to use. “It’s fresh and new. It gives so many mothers a chance to realise that they indeed belong to the fierce group of women who birthed. Vaginally or not.”
Having a c-section? We’ve asked the experts the questions mums-to-be want to know: