When I had my first baby, I was young, and healthy...and naïve.
In fact, I was so young and so healthy, and so naïve, that I was convinced I would be giving birth naturally.
The possibility of me having a c-section only ever fleetingly crossed my mind during my entire pregnancy and was almost immediately -foolishly- dismissed.
I took antenatal classes, and I hung on to every word the midwife said when it came to birth plans and the physical process of giving birth - how to breathe and when to push -but I hardly paid any attention when she discussed caesarean sections.
This, I knew, - or so I thought- did not concern me.
Before long, I hit my due date, and the baby was showing no signs of being in any hurry to meet the world.
At 41 weeks, feeling like a penguin (with all the mobility of one), and suffering from severe water retention, I was called in for a checkup with my Ob-Gyn, to discuss an induction date. I was to be induced on Monday of the following week.
But I went into labour that following Friday, just short of 42 weeks. And although my waters broke on Saturday, and my contractions were only a few minutes apart for the best part of 36 hours, my cervix was not dilating, and by Sunday morning, I was exhausted, and my baby was in distress.
Within minutes, a decision was made to perform an emergency caesarean section.
No one was allowed to accompany me into the theater for support, and the epidural I had been given 12 hours previously had worn off- this I only came to realise as the first incision was made.
I'll spare you the gory details.
In the end, my beautiful daughter was born safe and well, and that is really all that matters.
Although it riddled me with guilt and made me feel like a failure as a mother, it doesn't matter that I wasn't able to deliver her naturally.
It doesn't matter that the caesarian itself was an extremely traumatic event for which I was totally unprepared.
But over the past 12 years, I have read many articles and comments on social media stating women are taking "the easy way out" having a caesarean.
Some even go as far as claiming you "haven't given birth" if you have had a c-section.
I find this deeply hurtful, as well as unfair and upsetting.
I did give birth to my baby, although I did not push her out.
She was taken from my womb through major abdominal surgery.
Had I had a choice, would I have preferred to give birth to my baby naturally? Of course, I would.
I also would have preferred to have been able to bring her home the next day, instead of spending a week in hospital. But I didn't have that choice.
An emergency c-section had to be performed, to save my baby's life, and to this day I don't understand why I have to be vilified for that online.
I went on to have three more c-sections since then, for various medical reasons.
And although I am now a self-proclaimed expert on the subject, and I know every trick in the book to help speed up recovery, I can tell you that it doesn't get any easier.
So amongst mums, let's give each other a break.
Let's be more tolerant, more understanding, less judgemental and more empathetic towards one another.
Each individual birth story is unique, be it a cesarean or a vaginal birth.
Giving birth is not a competition.
Does it really matter how baby gets here, so long as Mum and Baby are alive and well?
Most definitely not, in my personal opinion.