The former Olympic gymnast opened up about her 22-hour experience in labor.

By Faith Brar
November 08, 2019

Last week, Shawn Johnson and her husband Andrew East welcomed their first baby, daughter Drew Hazel East, into the world. The two seem overwhelmed with love for their firstborn, sharing tons of new family photos and calling her their "everything."

But the birthing process didn't quite go as planned, Johnson shared in a recent heartfelt Instagram post. After enduring 22 hours of labor, Johnson said she ended up needing a Cesarean section (or C-section)—an unexpected part of her birth plan that left her feeling like she'd "failed" as a new mom, she wrote.

Instagram/tealephotography

"I went in with such a stubborn mindset of thinking the only way I could bring our baby into the world was naturally," Johnson wrote in her post. "No meds no intervention. At 14 hours when I chose to get an epidural I felt guilty. At 22 hours when we were told I had to get a c section I felt like I had failed." (Related: Fed Up New Mom Reveals the Truth About C-Sections)

But looking back at the experience, Johnson said she's had a change of heart. She now realizes that her baby's health and safety was more important than the birthing process itself, she shared.

"After holding our sweet girl in my arms and being told everything went well and she had made it to us safely I couldn't have cared less,” she continued. “My/our world no longer has anything to do with us but everything to do with her. It's all for her and I will forever do anything for this girl that I love more than I ever could imagine. A love no one can ever prepare you for."

Johnson's feelings of "failure" resonated with many of her Instagram followers, who flooded her comments with support and similar stories. (Did you know C-section births have almost doubled in recent years?)

"I wanted a 'normal' delivery 36 years ago and I ended up with an emergency c section also and felt like I failed too," commented one of Johnson's followers. "But in the end, it only mattered that my baby was ok. Thirty-six years later, she is still ok. Good luck to you and congrats on that beautiful little girl."

Another person added: "Same exact thing happened to me and I felt the same way and also had the same realization...it doesn’t matter how she got here...most important that she’s here safely."

While a C-section may not be part of every mother's birth plan, when your baby needs to come out, anything goes. The truth is, 32 percent of all births in the U.S. result in a C-section, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)—and many moms who undergo the surgery will be the first to tell you that it's no joke.

Bottom line: Giving birth via C-section doesn't make you any less of a "real mom" than those who give birth the old-fashioned way.

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