The unofficial patron saint of c-sections

A doctor holding a beautiful baby boy minutes after the birth.Anyone who’s had one could tell you that c-sections are far from easy. Beyond the standard post-partum challenges of balancing regular duties with keeping a fragile human alive, there’s also the added inconvenience of an abdominal incision. Healing from a major surgery like that isn’t a joke.

Things can be made even harder if there are further physical or emotional complications or — most irritating of all — highly unnecessary assessments from strangers as to whether or not the recovering mom “really” gave birth. (What does that even mean? Is that baby yours? Did he come out of you? Then you gave birth, duh.)

To all those struggling c-section moms out there, today’s feast day is in honor of little-known St. Raymond Nonnatus, and he’s your man for c-section intercession.

Not born

Raymond was born in the 13th century, probably in a place called “Nonnatus,” right?

Nope!

His name actually means non-natus…literally “not born.” He was delivered via c-section as his mother died, which was the only circumstance under which the procedure was even attempted back in the 1200s.

The phrase “not born” is uncomfortably reminiscent of those unsolicited comments from ignorant people regarding the “realness” of birth by c-section, but that’s only the case for our modern ears.

In Ray’s days, surviving a c-section was considered something of a miracle. A procedure like that was always a last-ditch effort and survival was a long shot. “Raymond, Not-Born” was actually a badge of honor and a testimony to his endurance, kind of like “Daniel, Lion-Tamer” or “John, Golden-Mouthed” (the literal meaning of St. John Chrysostom, who was known for his eloquence). The miraculous Raymond Not-Born would go on to become a wonderful evangelist and ultimately a saint.

Back to today

While technology has since improved and c-sections have become safer and more prevalent, the availability of an alternative way to save a baby’s life is no less miraculous. In fact, if ol’ Ray were to walk into a maternity ward today, he’d be astonished that the mother can now survive the procedure that saved his own life. C-sections are miracles and time can’t change that.

While St. Ray is, officially speaking, the patron saint of babies, you can bet that c-sections have a special place in his heart.

To all the c-section moms out there, don’t let anyone make you feel less than because of the circumstances of your delivery. Just as St. Raymond Nonnatus wore it as a badge of honor and bravery, so should you — you’ve earned it.

Ask St. Ray to intercede for you and your families during difficulties brought on by this life-saving procedure, and use it as an opportunity to praise God for your own life and that of your child!

— Forest Hempen
Marketing and Communications Associate