What it means to be a C-section mum in Nigeria
In Nigeria, women have been taught to pray against C-sections during their pregnancy and to feel ashamed if they don't have a vaginal birth. If you are wondering what it means to be a C-section mum in Nigeria, you should read on to know what these women pass through.
Many Nigerians do not understand the necessity of C-sections. For some, it’s a matter of physical strength. You are likely to hear misconceptions like: A ‘real woman’ births her baby vaginally; C-sections are for weak women. This is just one of those sad superstitions being peddled around because of ignorance.
“I understand what it means to be a C-section mum in Nigeria,” says Dr. Liz Bade, a gynecologist at Enugu Teaching Hospital. “Even as a doctor, I listened to prayer warrior’s advice to reject a caesarean delivery. I declared that it wasn’t my portion, as though a C-section birth was a terrible thing.”
But C-sections are actually lifesavers. Medical experts recommend C-sections in cases where the lives of the mother and/or baby are at risk.
• Placenta previa
• Obstructed labour
• Multiple pregnancy
• Breech birth
• High blood pressure
• Gestational diabetes
• Inadequate pelvis
“A caesarean delivery is also recommended for mothers whose last C-section is less than 2 years,” says Dr. Liz Bade.
Despite the amount of information out there, women still allow themselves to be stigmatized. Some mothers feel inferior when they have their babies through C-section. Some women start apologizing to friends and relatives for agreeing to have a caesarean delivery. But these women aren’t completely to blame.
The superstitions are difficult to deal with. Often, mothers are subjected to ridiculous superstitions such as:
• You were too lazy to push the baby
• Your body has a defect. You must have done something bad that ruined your reproductive health
• God must be punishing the C-section mother for a secret sin
• The lazy wife wants to make her husband poor and that’s why she chose an expensive caesarean delivery
Many might never understand what it takes to be a C-section mum in Nigeria. There are people who will forever resist logical explanations. If you are a C-section mum, don’t waste your time with this group. If you can, ignore them. If they happen to be important people in your marital life, change the subject whenever they bring up the issue of CS.
Here are other tips for coping with the stigmatization
Good mothers make decisions to save the lives of their unborn children. You are a good mother because you chose to protect your baby by having a caesarean delivery. If the people around you don’t appreciate the sacrifice you have made, don’t worry. Affirm yourself.
Here are a few affirmations you can use:
• I’m a wise and strong woman
• I’m a good mother
• I am blessed because my baby(ies) and I are alive and well
Use the affirmations throughout the day
Successful deliveries call for celebration and gratitude, not regrets and sorrow. The maternal mortality rate in Nigeria is high, but you made it through.
Count your blessings. Start off each day by writing ten new things you are grateful for. Make sure you don’t repeat any of the things you wrote the day before.
Because we live in a conservative society, it is considered revolutionary to cut off ties with family members, even when they make you miserable. The first thing to consider is tact. How can you tactfully avoid people who put you down? Change the topic or let them know you don’t want to talk about it.
Women recover from surgeries at different rates. If during your 6-weeks check-up your doctor encourages you to start your exercises, then make sure the doctor verifies each exercise routine you plan to use. There are plenty of exercises for women who had caesarean deliveries. Download some of the workout routines and incorporate them into your daily schedule.
Eat clean and drink the recommended amount of water. Sugary and fried foods will only increase the subcutaneous fat in your protruding tummy. You can lose the baby fat after a C-section. It might just take a little longer.
Love yourself and take care of your physical and mental health. Meditate, pray, exercise and eat healthy foods.
If you want other people to treat you with love and respect, you must learn to treat yourself graciously.
As the old saying goes, ‘charity begins at home.’
Every year, Nigeria records one of the highest maternal mortality rates globally. It is easy to see why. When women are subjected to stigma religious places, at home and elsewhere, preventable deaths are likely to occur.
It is high time Nigerians change their outlook towards C-sections. The stigma is driven by ignorance, and it has succeeded in causing the untimely deaths of pregnant women.
Read Also: C-Section: everything you need to know