Who do You Blame for Your C-Section?

“What do you do?” asked the lady beside me on a plane.

After hearing I was an OB/GYN, she quickly launched into her own birth story.

She described a long induction followed by 2 hours of pushing, then an emergency c-section. About half way through the tale, her voice began to take on a bitter tone. As she spoke of her doctor, I noticed her hands began to clench into tight fists.

“If only I had been more assertive and demanded to walk, I’m sure I could have had a vaginal delivery. My doctor was awful. It was his fault. He didn’t care about my experience. I was just a number to him. I didn’t get to breast feed for hours because of the drugs from my c-section. The experience put me into a yearlong depression.”

She remarked that her baby had been over 10 pounds. As I listened and nodded sympathetically, I felt for her that her delivery had not been ideal. I looked at her small frame, though and doubted any amount of walking would have resulted in a vaginal delivery.

The woman, who was at least 50 years old, then changed the subject and showed me a pictures of her granddaughter.

This encounter played out in my mind many times over the next few weeks. I thought about the level of anger this woman had been carrying around for 30 years. Was it justified? Maybe. But what was the anger accomplishing? Nothing…other than making her a bitter person.

I see this occasionally as people rehash their labor stories. If things don’t go exactly as written on their birth plan, they feel someone must be at fault. Their anger feels so JUSTIFIED that they want to hang on to it. If ever the conversation swings to pregnancy they immediately pipe in about their terrible experience:

“My epidural didn’t work.”

“My mother in law was too loud in the delivery room.”

“The nursery gave my baby a pacifier.”

“The doctor gave me an episiotomy.”

There is a genuine sense of loss associated with a labor gone awry, even if mom and baby are healthy. It’s OK to be sad that the birth process didn’t go as planned, but not to let the feeling of sadness fester into bitterness.

As Christians we are commanded to forgive. The Lord’s Prayer Matthew 6 says we are to pray like this. . .often: “Forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors.”

You have to learn to forgive, and make peace with what happened in your delivery. If not, you’ll turn into an angry old woman on a plane.

Maybe it’s not a doctor or nurse that needs to be forgiven, but someone else in your life. Whoever that person is, take the time to really let it go and walk in forgiveness. If at anytime you are tempted to pick up the offense again, remember you are only hurting yourself.

“Unforgiveness is like eating a spoonful of poison everyday and hoping that it kills the other person.” ~ Farrah Moore in From Hurt to Hope .

What about you? Do you blame someone for your less-than-perfect delivery? Is there someone you need to forgive?

 {Photo used courtesy of Creative Commons}

About Dr. Heather Rupe

Dr. Rupe is a mom, wife and OB/GYN. She is the co-author of The Pregnancy Companion book and blogs at www.ThePregnancyCompanion.com. Her heart is to help guide women through as peaceful a pregnancy as possible. In her spare time she loves to run and laugh whenever she can.


  1. This makes me sad for that woman & her doctor. I love my doctor & pretty sure I still would even if my birth story wouldn’t have been as AMAZING as it was. I decided as soon as I started seeing her that I put my trust in her unless of course she did something unbiblical. Because after all she is the one with the medical degree, not me. Post birth I blamed the hospital & my pediatrician for our inability to get Emily to breastfeed, but then someone told me I needed to let that go. They were right & even if some circumstances that took place derailed the breastfeeding process it doesn’t really matter in the grand scheme of things. In all honesty, all the things I wish hadn’t been done could have been done “correctly” and Emily may still have not been able to breastfeed.

    • Jessica says:

      That is such a balanced viewpoint Jana. It’s ok to be disappointed but it’s not worth the bitterness to cast blame like we are often tempted to do. Thanks for sharing!!

  2. I think it’s important to have a plan, be flexible and remember God is in control. (much easier said then done sometimes!) :)

  3. Kayden Ezekiel says:

    Its a nice story of the birth of her baby. I think it was a horrible experience. But i think she become very pleased after the birth of her child.

  4. Oh, that makes me so sad. When my midwife discovered (mid-labor) that Levi was breech, the FIRST thing I said was “I’m not mad at you Janine.” Of course I was disappointed, and I SO wish she would have caught that. But I knew that mistakes happened. She was a senior midwife at the birthing center and her partner also checked me and missed it (another senior midwife). In this case, the only thing that would have caught it was an ultrasound as these were two highly experienced professionals, neither of which had ever missed a breech before. Anyway, as I locked eyes with her and said that, I could see the emotion in her eyes. She felt so bad and she was so grateful for my words. I believe my “moment of clarity” to respond well was genuine ministry to her at the time. It’s easy for moms to think birth is all about them… but it’s not. There are so many people involved. Birth is a profound experience that touches everyone involved. Mothers, yes, but many other too. I hope this post helps someone to “let go” if they need to. Unforgiveness and bitterness is such a trap!

  5. “Forgiveness is letting go of trying to change what has happened”. (A quote from the Oprah Winfrey Show”)

    I probably walk a path that does not get traveled much. I have four children, with only my last being a c-section that I demanded. This past winter, my OB-GYN (high risk) at 37 weeks rejected my first request for my c-section. At our 20 week ultrasound, we were given a ‘grim diagnosis’ as written on my medical records with Abby. She was born with Campomelic Dysplasia and passed away when she was only three weeks old. She died during her tracheostomy surgery, an un-forseen experience given everything that we had been through. Even though my doctor approved my request after demanding one and writing to the Department Head, I chose to find a new doctor, a new hospital and find someone who would give me a c-section since I felt it was the BEST for Abby. That’s what mothers do, we do whatever it takes for our children. It’s called sacrifice!!

    I was momentarily angry with my doctor for putting me in that situation. I felt betrayed. I felt so overwhelmed. But her response made me realize that she wasn’t the best fit for me and that experience lead me to a team that respected me and my choices. For that I am forever grateful!!

    I am also grateful for the grace of forgiveness. I’ve had to dig deep into the depths of my heart to forgive not only my OB/GYN but the ORL doctors that were responsible for Abby’s life. A tracheostomy surgery at Childrens’ Hospital Boston is routine and performed daily. I sat in front of them last month when meeting to discuss the day Abby met Jesus and professed that I forgave them. Doctors. Human beings. God’s children. It was one of the most rewarding experiences of my life!!

  6. WOW! Reading this does bring on some old feelings I have once had. My 1st baby was a section baby due to an emergency at 28 weeks. She had severe IUGR (380g @ 28w3d) and reverse end diastolic flow. Anyhow, in order to get her out alive the section was required. No worries, I was happy with how it went considering. Sadly she only lived 4 months. I went on to have a 2nd pregnancy. My OB never monitored me closely like I felt I should have been and continued to tell me that history wouldn;t repeat itself and for me not to worry. Much to my surprise, history DID repeat itself and this time we ended up with a stillbirth at 32w2d. I was crushed and even more I placed ALL blame on my OB for poor care. So not really a “bitter birth story” but I was beinging to turn bitter over “his mistakes”. It took some time but I eventually had to allow myself to forgive him and not place blame on him. Regardless of what he did, it just wasn;t God’s plan. HE knew it was going to turn out that way and HE was going to bring good from a bad situation. God wants nothing more than for us to be happy and when we can forgive and love like HE did then satan has won because he is pulling us further from the ONE who can restore all happiness and heal all wounds.

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