I don't know what your MIL is talking about, but it ounds like birth was a horrible, traumatic experience for her for sure.
There are probably a few reasons for the increased rate in c-sections. I think the rise of electronic fetal monitoring is one. When someone is constantly monitored, every dip on the strip is cause for a "let's do a c-section" scenario. Also c-sections have gotten a bit safer with better surgical techniques and low horizontal incisions (not to say they are not overused). I think in the 70s they were still seen as a last resort, not the "no big deal" that they seem to have become today.
To Trenell, MizKerri and geeky:
I pray none of you ever has to live in a communist state.
Geeky is my hero. She's the true badass. The badass who doesn't even need to be a badass. There aren't enough O's in cool to describe her.