Supporting your partner after a caesarian-section
Undergoing a caesarian section or C-section will require a much different and unexpected recovery for you. It might take a little longer and affect your body in ways you didn’t see coming. Having the support of your partner will help you feel comfortable, so this article may help if they need a little extra guidance.
Offer lots of practical support
This is major abdominal surgery and you will need a lot of physical rest and as little physical strain as possible in the weeks following birth. Your partner can help you by taking over household duties, bringing the baby to you for feedings, encouraging you to walk and gently exercise, and enlisting extra help from family and friends.
If you were not planning to have a c-section, this can leave you disappointed. A possible sense of failure at not having given birth as you had hoped or planned might happen as well. Your partner will need to support and reassure you.
Ultimately you need to be reminded that no one could have done more, or been stronger or braver, that you didn’t give in to the pain too soon, that you tried everything you could have to jump-start a stalled labour, that another few hours of labour may not have done anyone any good, and that the decision made was the best one—both for the baby and for you.
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Give praise and comfort
Some of the things your partner tells you may seem obvious to you but it is very important that they are the person to say them. If they were there with you at the birth, they know better than anyone else exactly what you went through. Being comforted and praised by them will mean a lot more to you than hearing the same words from a well-meaning relative or a medical professional.
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Give the opportunity to talk about your experiences and validate your feelings
Listening and encouraging you to talk can help you to mentally process what happened and create a sensible story out of a scary and potentially traumatic event. Let them know that saying things such as “You shouldn’t feel that way,” or “It didn’t happen like that” should be avoided. Listening and acknowledging your feelings and perspective is important to allow you to feel heard and understood, and move forward with the next stage in your parenting journey.
It’s essential to have the support of your partner at this time. A little nudge in the right direction can help them know how to best assist you in this process. At the end of the day, a good ear and compassionate presence will be the most important tools for you.
Dr Nicole Highet Follow +
Dr Nicole Highet is the Founder of COPE. As well as the Executive Director of COPE (the Centre of Perinatal Excellence). COPE is a not-for-profit organisation devoted to reducing the impacts of emotional and mental health problems in the pre and postnatal periods.
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