Those who attended the ICAN conference last April might remember the stunning black and white photographic image at the silent auction table. It was a very challenging image and generated a lot of conversation. Such stark representations of inner emotions can be important points of catharsis in our healing journey.
Jennifer McNichols is a cesarean mother and a talented photographer who is looking for the assistance of you, our ICAN community. Remember, the first (and possibly the most important) part of education is getting someone to open their eyes, not their brains. You cannot take in new information if your eyes are closed or you don’t even know where to look. Powerful images like Jennifer’s help to open those eyes, including the eyes in our hearts.
Delivery by C-section is rapidly becoming the norm rather than the exception in U.S. hospitals, with medical policies of escalating interventions serving as a leading contributor to the rise in emergency situations requiring this procedure. The effect of an unwanted Cesarean birth as well as post-operative complications leads many new mothers to feelings of loss, anger, shame, and depression at a time when society demands an uncomplicated celebration of new life, and the suppression of these feelings in turn can lead to a sense of painful isolation and self-doubt. In this series I have used handmade and hand-decorated cakes to document the charged and often despairing emotions such women experience in solitude and silence while those around them celebrate.
I am looking for 1-2 word descriptors of things women felt after their Cesarean, and wanted to draw from the community at ICAN for this, as they were one of my most important sources of support and understanding when I went through the experience of an unplanned Cesarean myself. Dominant emotions, undercurrents, things that were particularly hard to communicate or get others to understand – I’d like to incorporate some of these ideas from other post-Cesarean mothers to reflect how a community of women feels about the issue, beyond my own personal experience.
I’ll pick somewhere between 7-10 of the words or phrases and either use icing to write the words or create them in fondant somehow, and photograph them to show along with the cakes. I’m hoping to have a list of words by next Monday so I can work on these next week.
My background: I planned a natural hospital birth for the birth of my daughter 5 years ago. A series of interventions, a posterior baby and some choice words by the OB, and I had a Cesearan. I turned to ICAN where I found the community so incredibly supportive and the community helped me come to terms with and deal with my emotions.
If you would like to contribute words or phrases to Jennifer’s project, please post them here as comments. Thank you!