Boundaries in Birth – A Partner’s Trauma During a C-Section

Woman giving birth in delivery room of hospital

Relationships are often colored by personal histories, as displayed by a recent social media post, which forced a conversation about personal boundaries.

This story revolves around the dilemma of whether the original poster (OP) was wrong for not being present during his wife’s C-section, despite her request.

Scars Of The Past

OP’s story unfolds with a poignant narrative that begins with a traumatic experience: a c-section experience with his ex-wife that spun into a life-threatening ordeal, leaving him grappling with feelings of helplessness.

Trauma embedded deep within him manifested as an acute aversion to operating rooms and hospitals at large. This open wound resurfaced when OP’s current wife chose to have a c-section for their impending child.

Clear communication is the foundation of any relationship, and OP demonstrated this by having a candid conversation with his wife about his apprehensions regarding the operating room.

OP made it abundantly clear that he would support her in any delivery method, but he wouldn’t be able to be present in the operating room due to his visceral reaction to such settings. OP’s wife, seemingly understanding his perspective, invited her mother to fill the role he couldn’t.

The day of the surgery arrived, a day meant to welcome new life but also a day of reckoning for OP’s emotional boundaries.

A Lonely Delivery

His wife, in a poignant moment, asked him to be by her side during the operation, hoping for an intimate moment between them. However, OP’s past trauma prevented him from entering the operating room despite the emotional significance of the request.

This decision, while a product of his past, led to a heart-wrenching scene where his wife went in with her mother instead, leaving him outside with a storm of emotions brewing.

The surgery unfolded successfully, bringing forth a healthy daughter into the world. OP was stationed outside the operating room the entire time, awaiting the arrival of his wife and newborn.

The Aftermath

The aftermath of the procedure was as complex as the situation itself. In the intimate moments that followed, OP’s wife voiced her disappointment, feeling abandoned at a time when vulnerability was at its peak.

As word spread, extended family members also criticized OP for not being in the room with his wife. OP’s wife remains upset, and they are barely talking.

In a state of confusion, OP turns to the online community to seek advice.

Online Opinions

OP’s post soon became a canvas for a large number of viewpoints, shedding light on the intricate complexities of relationships in the face of trauma.

User ECU_BSN, a labor and delivery professional, provided a unique vantage point.

“Traumatic births are VERY traumatic. The sights, sounds, and smells of our OR [operating room] will trigger any PTSD in a jiffy.”

The user’s professional stance validated OP’s decision to adhere to his boundaries, acknowledging that the OR doesn’t need a third patient, and sometimes the best support is providing a supportive presence outside the surgical suite.

Another user, bambrini16, honed in on the power of personal boundaries and mental health.

The user pointed out that OP had been unequivocal about his limitations and the emotional turmoil he experienced within the sterile walls of the OR.

“Mental illness doesn’t care if you’re only going to be in that situation for a short while; the panic is likely to be immediate (realistically probably starting before he even goes in). She asked him to do something he had made abundantly clear to her that he couldn’t do.”

LazyOpia delved into the concept of support in a relationship. The user acknowledged that OP had been present during the birth itself, thus negating any argument about being an absent or unsupportive partner.

The user’s comment deftly underscored that support comes in many forms, and being there emotionally and physically outside the operating room was an act of compassion and understanding.

BlackBrantScare employed a practical perspective rooted in safety. The user expressed that OP’s fear-induced panic within the operating room could potentially exacerbate the already intricate medical proceedings.

In a situation where the medical team is focused on the life of the mother and child, introducing an element of panic and potential fainting might inadvertently hinder their efforts.

The comment dissected the practicality of the decision, highlighting that prioritizing the safety of the wife and child outweighed any societal expectations of ‘manning up’.

The Verdict

OP’s poignant tale exposes the deep-seated trauma linked to operating rooms, shaping his emotional landscape. His transparent communication with his wife regarding these boundaries clashed with her desire for his presence during her C-section.

Some users acknowledged OP’s decision based on professional insight, highlighting potential triggers in the operation room, while some underscored the significance of prioritizing mental well-being.

The majority of the commenters were of the view that OP remained a steadfast pillar of support in his own way, underscoring that support isn’t always about physically being in the room, but rather being there for each other in the ways that matter most.

What do you think? Let us know in the comments. Do you think the OP from this social media post was wrong?

Featured Image Credit: Kzenon /

This article was originally published on Ash & Pri.

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Pri Kingston

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