cesarean section

The child and the father/co-parent

The child and the father

The child's experience

Although not absolutely certain, many now believe that childbirth is triggered by a signal from the baby, depending on the maturity of its lungs. The entire birthing process is intimately linked linked to hormonal processes in the body of women and children.

Having gone through a period of rhythmic contractions and hormonal flows prior to Caesarean section, or being extracted from the mother's womb with no warning signs, or even with extreme urgency, obviously does not represent the same experience for the baby. For the baby, there are as many different situations surrounding a C-section as there are for the mother, and the consequences can also vary.

Depending on the type of anaesthesia chosen, the baby will be under the influence of the products used and the stress experienced by the mother, expressed for example by an increase in heart rate and stress hormones in greater or lesser doses. But he may also feel alone and disconnected from his mother, especially in the case of general anaesthesia.

All these factors can lead to problems breathing or adapting to extrauterine lifeThese difficulties will usually be temporary, but will still have repercussions on the baby's early life. Most of the time, these difficulties will be temporary, but they will still have repercussions on the baby's early life, and that of his or her parents. "bonding with his mother. The conditions under which newborn babies are received in the operating theatre are not very favorable: bright light, cool temperature, foreign hands and voices as first contact, being taken to a resuscitation table for more or less invasive measures, being separated from their mother, etc. In some cases, the baby will be placed in the neonatal unit for increased surveillance. In some cases, the baby will be placed in a neonatal unit for closer monitoring.

If the baby is having difficulty adapting to its removal from the uterus, medical measures to help it are obviously valuable and essential. In this case, the intervention of a paediatrician is necessary, and can take place in a room adjoining the operating theatre. The new father will be able to follow the child's progress as far as possible, and the parents will be kept up to date. Very often, however, the baby is well enough at the caesarean section not to be taken away immediately, and separation from the mother should be kept to a minimum.

It's easy to imagine the effect of stress and fear on the unborn child, and we're only just beginning to investigate the long-term consequences for children born under particularly stressful circumstances. In any case, it doesn't bear much resemblance to the welcome that most parents imagine and wish for their child. Further on, you'll find proposals to help your baby find his way around.

Father's/co-parent's experience

The place of the father/co-parent in the birth environment is now widely recognized, but it does require a little preparation. This can be done as a couple, of course, and also in a birth preparation course or a (still quite rare) father/parent sharing group.

But when it comes to C-sections, we can imagine a certain relief on the fathers'/co-parents' side: if it's scheduled in advance, the couple can prepare and support each other for the big day. On the other hand, they can make arrangements with their employer, for example, regarding time off work. If the decision is made to have a Caesarean section during labour, this means the end of a state of relative helplessness, and a move to action. If the urgency of the situation becomes paramount, their stress and anxiety are enormous, as they fear for the lives of the two dearest people in the world.

Many people are apprehensive about entering the operating room. Having to change clothes, put on sterile garments, mask and hat, and adapt one's behavior to this highly medical and often unfamiliar world requires considerable effort and is a major stress factor. And that's without mentioning the fear of not being able to stand the sight of the operation, the possible odors, of fainting ..... In general, the expectant father/co-parent will be taken care of and reassured by the operating room staff, and their place will be explained to them. An exception is a caesarean section under general anaesthetic: in this case, no one other than the medical team is admitted to the operating room.

Emotionally, this first hour is not an easy one to live through: the worry about their wife undergoing surgery, the worried wonder at their baby, the appearance of cumulative fatigue when the general tension subsides, the desire to live this special moment together, the desire to inform the family of the birth, feeling alone and helpless when the medical team is busy elsewhere ..... Talk about it afterwards would be so useful, but often other occupations quickly take over and also, it remains difficult for some men to talk about their feelings.

Testimonials page is also here for you to express yourself freely, perhaps in just two or three sentences, with your initials as a signature. Your participation would be an invaluable enrichment for all readers and for this site. Don't hesitate to let me know how I can be more accurate in the part that's specifically addressed to you.

We could say that for women, birth is a very corporeal event, which confirms and reinforces their femininity when everything goes well ("empowerment"). But for a man, recognition of his role as a father is more social. The important thing is not the birth itself, and his masculinity is not made vulnerable. As for co-parents, there are certainly also interesting issues to know and share.

Experience and various women's stories show that their listening and patience in relation to their wife's C-section experience lasts for a while, but then it's necessary to move on, forget about it, don't make a big deal out of it. This attitude is almost inevitable, as their lives return to normal with all their professional obligations after just a few days. Unfortunately, their message  which is meant to be consoling and forward-looking, is not received as such, and is further reinforced by the woman's wider entourage: she may feel really isolated and misunderstood. A gap may develop within the couple, making dialogue difficult and leading to a momentary estrangement.