Giving birth is amazing right? Natural.. Incredible.. One of those days you will remember all of your life.
What if it isn’t a blissful..happy day? What if you hated it?
What if you didn’t feel like “you could go back and do it again in a second”?
What if following the birth instead of elated you felt petrified? Scared to close your eyes because of flashbacks and utterly traumatised?
It’s hard to admit feeling that way.
I really really struggled with whether to write this blog post and its not going to be my birth story or the sharing of any gory details as in my head I’m still not ready to rethink it all and well there are some things that I don’t need to share on here but I am writing it because I am SURE that I am not the only one who has felt this way.
My pregnancy was hard and far from straightforward. I was anxious and stressed..tired and worn down before I even reached the week of my labour. My labour didn’t start spontaneously and I was in hospital for four days prior to giving birth. I missed my daughter. Everything that could go wrong seemed to go wrong. Every little delay that could have occurred did. My body did not seem to want to take that big step towards active labour and instead I contracted for days getting more and more exhausted and sad. Yes sad. I was incredibly sad. All day long but especially when members of my family left the hospital. I felt so alone and I really started to feel scared. By day 3 I was spending most of my days in tears.
By the time I gave birth I couldn’t have felt less physically or emotionally ready for the experience and I really felt (still feel in a way) as though I let myself down. Not that I did anything wrong. I somehow managed to deliver with just a little gas & air (I wish I had had more pain relief in a way) and did everything I needed to do but I was a mess. I was far from the strong woman who gave birth to Izzy two years ago and in my head I just felt out of control.
As I said this isn’t a birth story so I won’t go into more detail but it was without a doubt the hardest day of my life.
Talking about it is hard but writing this feels strangely therapeutic.
The night after giving birth the midwife who delivered our wonderful daughter came to chat to me. A very lovely midwife who was looking after me on the ward could see I wasn’t coping with how I felt about the labour and so asked her to come to see me. And it helped. She reassured me about the things I felt went wrong, was just generally lovely to me and explained about how traumatic my labour had been. Talking to her made me feel as though the way I was now feeling was not weird but similar to how anyone can feel after experiencing a traumatic event. I’ve now discussed meeting to chat to someone (arranged via the hospital) who deals with after birth thoughts/counselling and I think it will help again.
I still feel anxious and as if something really bad happened – however the fact is something truly wonderful also occurred and that is that our second amazing daughter arrived and she is healthy..happy and has barely moved from my chest since that moment.
I’m sure I will write more on this subject but for now I will just say that if you feel this way after your childs birth don’t try to bury it or hide the way you feel as it will only make things worse. Talk to someone and accept that unfortunately for some birth is harder than expected.