I’ve thought long and hard about sharing my birth story on my blog. I am acutely aware of how fortunate we are to have had our beautiful baby delivered safe and well. I realise that in that sense, birth did go “to plan” and I will be forever grateful for this.
But I hope that sharing my story might help even just one person to feel less alone following a difficult labour.
Since having our amazing and beautiful daughter in August I’ve struggled at times when thinking back over my labour, which let’s just say went a little off track and ended in an unplanned c-section and additional treatment.
I’ve found the way we speak about birth when a woman is pregnant vs. after the baby is born all a bit strange.
When you’re pregnant, people often talk to you about the difficult time they had in labour. When I was pregnant I literally had strangers in the supermarket queue telling me gory details of painful and long labours.
But talking about a tough or frightening labour straight after the event can be met with well meaning promises that “you’ll forget all about it!” or statements such as “oh well, at least you’re both here!”
The first few days after labour I felt incredibly guilty and confused about feeling so traumatised. I didn’t understand how you could feel so happy and so sad at the same time. I felt so mean for not feeling 100% elated post birth.
I was really sad that my birth hadn’t gone “to plan” and that all of my visions of a natural birth with minimal pain relief hadn’t worked out. Honestly, I felt a bit naïve for ever thinking it would have.
During the days following birth I panicked that I would never get over how scared I had felt during labour. Just thinking about it made me cry. I had no idea how I would ever “forget all about it”.
A turning point for me was when I spoke to my midwife about how I felt and she said “you didn’t get pregnant to have a birth, you got pregnant to have a baby and you’ve done an amazing job”. It really helped me to put things in perspective.
Looking back, I realise that I was also completely exhausted from a lack of sleep and trying to establish feeding which was pretty relentless!
Almost three months on and my feelings about labour aren’t so painful now, it almost feels like a bruise that is slowly fading.
Being able to talk openly, honouring my feelings by crying if and when I needed to and most importantly of all, actively feeling grateful for our healthy and happy daughter whenever I look at her beautiful little face have all helped me to feel better.
I realise now that feeling scared when you’re in a lot of pain and when you’re unwell is natural and taking some time to process what has happened doesn’t mean that I’m a bad mum or that I’m any less grateful for our beautiful baba.
I’d love to hear from you if you’d like to get in touch and please find links to further support below.
If reading this post has caused feelings of distress, you may wish to speak to your GP or another relevant healthcare professional such as your health visitor.