At least, that was my response when I first saw the title of Joni Nichol's talk at ICAN's International Birth Conference in Atlanta last April. But after a few minutes of listening to Joni's descriptions of cesarean births with soft music playing in the OR and parents talking to their babies as they are born, I was warming up to the idea.
Joni is a midwife practicing in Guadalajara, Mexico. Her description of respectful cesareans included the following elements: cesarean is used only as an absolute last recourse, it is preceded by spontaneous labor whenever possible, the place of birth changes but not the philosophy of care, and the experience is made personal, positive, and memorable. Joni's talk left me dreaming of what changed attitudes in our medical community could do for women who truly need cesareans but who still want a peaceful, beautiful birth experience.
You can read about a respectful cesarean here on Joni's website.