Healing from a Traumatic Cesarean Birth (Mentally and Physically)
Some women choose a cesarean birth and it is an empowered and educated decision; we fully support those women. But some women don’t plan to birth surgically at all, and end up with a birth story that is drastically different from the plan they had in place. This blog is for those women: if your birth did not go as planned and you are seeking guidance in healing from that experience, this blog is for you. Let’s get in touch with your emotions by feeling it all, reconnecting with your body and your scar by touching it all, and building a tribe to support you through it all.
Healing after a C-Section
Feel It All
It is normal to appreciate that your c-section surgery resulted in a healthy baby, while still feeling confused, heartbroken, or angry about the experience itself. These feelings deserve to be acknowledged. Here are some great ways to do so:
- Begin with diaphragmatic breathing and, when you are comfortable, touch your scar and feel your breath reach to your hands. Breathe, listen, and let the full range of your emotions come to the surface, no matter if they seem “appropriate” or not. Feel it all. Sit with it, process it, and connect back to you and your scar.
- Hold your baby skin to skin everyday. This can encourage the release of endorphins and oxytocin to boost bonding and decrease depressive symptoms.
- Give yourself permission and time to grieve the loss of the birth you desired and acknowledge the reality of this loss. Honor your pain wrapped around this experience.
- Put it to pen and paper and write about your birth story in detail. Find all the good in it. Explore all of the areas that didn’t meet your expectations or desires. Then share this story with someone close and process your feelings about it.
- Continue to give yourself self-affirmations.
Touch It All
What you eat can play an important role in physical healing by supporting proper tissue healing post c-section. Start from the inside and work your way to the outside. Bone broths are my favorite go-to. It will bring warmth back to belly and help with re-connecting you to your core. Bone broth is full of minerals, gelatin, and other healing properties. It also helps heal and form healthy connective tissue. Check out “Our #1 Postpartum Nutrition Recommendation” for a homemade recipe!
Continue to work on diaphragmatic breathing. Yes, you read that correctly: diaphragmatic breathing helps heal both mentally and physically! Physically it will help scar healing by gently expanding and mobilizing the tissue. When you are comfortable with touching your scar, begin self mobilizing the scar. I recommend starting a couple inches above and below before directly starting on the scar. You want to pinch and roll the tissue, use cross friction (pulling in opposite directions), and circular massage. Here is a belly massage video and don’t forget to check out the BIRTHFIT Basics: Postpartum program.
When you feel comfortable with the self-cesarean massage, it is time to get rid of all the toxins your scar might be holding on to. You will be able to do this with a magical thing called Mud! Mud Packing is a great way to remove all the toxins and chemicals from your c-section scar. The main ingredient it uses is bentonite clay, which is known for its unique ability to produce an electrical charge. When it is hydrated, it will expand, bond, and absorb the toxins while releasing its minerals for the body to use. This is also a great time to practice your breathing and connecting with yourself. Below is the recipe and instructions for mud packing.
Detoxing after a cesarean
Ingredients (I use Premier Research Labs Products)
Medi Body Pack
Medi Mineral Serum
Medi Body Bath
- Mix 2 tablespoons of the Medi Body Pack with approximately 1 1/2 teaspoons of Medi Mineral Serum. Mix the mineral serum slowly and stir, watching for the dry clay to become wet. Create a solution similar to uncooked brownie mix. Adding too much liquid will create a soup and too little will not wet the clay. If too much liquid is used just add more Medi Body Pack to thicken the solution.
- Mix the clay in a glass or wood bowl using nonmetallic stirring spoons. Do NOT use a metal bowl.
- Apply the mud to the trauma site and it’s reflex point. C-Section scars respond best when it is completed 3 separate times. Place mud on the scar and the pituitary reflex point (in between eyebrows), then do another session with mudding on the scar and the thyroid reflex point (right below adam’s apple) followed by mudding on the scar and the stomach reflex point (bottom of sternum).
- Leave the pack on for 35-45 minutes.
- Remove clay with a warm washcloth.
- Lastly, it is recommended to soak your hands and/or feet in 1/2 containers of Medi Body Bath in 1 gallon of hot water in wood or plastic bowl. (bathtub works too)
Support Through It All
The mental and physical practices are interlaced and you cannot fully heal without working on both. Healing is going to take time, patience, and continuous work. Don’t be afraid to talk to your tribe (care providers, family, friends, and other mamas) for support. Let them join you in this journey mentally and physically. Providers can support you and give you space to practice your mindset and mental healing. Additionally while your scar is healing, utilize a Pelvic Floor Physical Therapist and/or a Chiropractor to receive more intensive scar and soft tissue healing. You can also see a Mercier trained therapist to help incorporate movement and restore blood flow to the pelvic organs to help re-optimize the function of the pelvic region. BIRTHFIT is always here to help you heal mind, body and soul through the motherhood transition. Should you need provider recommendations please check our DIRECTORY. We are a part of your support team and are delighted to be on this healing journey with you.
Lacey Osterman, D.C.
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