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Feeling Traumatized but everyone else thought it was a perfect birth (?) - Page 2

post #21 of 49
With dd1 I remember thinking through transition (which was really super painful and I would have accepted a c-sec right then and there) that yay, I did it, this was supposed to be the hardest part of labour.

Well. Pushing was EXCRUCIATING. I felt like my innards were on fire. I didn't want to push. Also felt panicy. (Btw, some people with a history of sexual abuse feel panic during the second stage.)

I had no birth high after dd1's birth either. I felt SHELL SHOCKED, like I had just seen and experienced otherwordly, like I'd seen and experienced something I shouldn't have. Had PTSD after. Everyone said I did so amazing, but I felt like a failure.

You're not alone mama. I wish you healing. You will heal with time.
post #22 of 49
i'm so glad i found this thread.
post #23 of 49
I feel strange saying it (which is probably why I haven't actually *said* it), but I also feel traumatized...by pregnancy, by birth, by the days that followed. Short of a homebirth, I had a natural birther's "dream" birth - labored at home (for a day, probably, but I didn't realize I was in labor until evening, and even then I thought it was "pre-labor") and spent only 1.5 hours at the birth center before my baby was born. No interventions, no complications, two small tears, and I feel, in a way, like I wasn't even "there" - I look back on it all like it was a dream (not a good one, just a dream) and I feel like I missed something or like it didn't even happen. When my son was born, I was relieved to no longer have that pressure in my pelvis, but that's all I remember feeling. I held him right away and I just felt so detached, not just from him, but from myself and everything else. All I can think of is that, as much as we talk and read and write about childbirth, it's not always some magical thing, or, if it is, we don't always realize it at the time. I don't know...I guess I'm just saying that I feel you on having had what some might see as a "good birth," but still not feeling it as such...

Edit: I wonder if, maybe in my own case at least (because I can't speak for others), I've become detached from it or blocked some of it out because of the intensity of the event. Even though I still can't see or feel it as even the "life changing experience" that it clearly was (because now I have a son and before, I didn't), there surely must be some significance to it...
post #24 of 49
Hugs mama. I can relate to feeling out of control and like I made an ass of myself...even though I fought long and hard and had a successful VBAC.

I believe your feelings will grow and evolve as you grow and evolve with your mothering and your healing and though you may not ever feel like it was perfect, you will see it with more all-encompassing perspective ...

All of our life experiences shape us and change us and teach us and hold our view of ourselves and others in a new light. And giving birth is a powerful awesome experience that causes such emotional strain and upheaval....well it can take years to fully process.

And talking about it helps. And hearing other women's true feelings and opening yourself to other expereinces with empathy and compassion: well, honey that's motherhood. You have arrived.

I hope you don't feel I am minimalizing your trauma. I have not that intention. Rather I want to lift you up and hold you high and someday soon you will feel mighty and empowered and brave and strong and experienced beyond the birth-story so that you can feel above it, around it, enhanced and emblossomed and emboldened by it.

More hugs to you, mama. Hang in there.
post #25 of 49
Yes, yes, yes to so much of this.

Yes to having a very natural, complication-free birth that still felt traumatizing.

Yes to hating labor, it was awful. Up until the moment she came out.

Yes to feeling angry that all I'd heard about endorphins, good preparation, relaxation and laboring techniques made no dent in the haze of pain. Not that it couldn't have been worse and thank god I had great midwives. But you probably could have hung me upside down by my toes and told me to labor that way, I wouldn't have cared. I was out of my head. (Did have back labor.)

Yes to feeling like a wimp for letting the pain of a natural birth overwhelm me.

Yes to knowing I shouldn't call myself a wimp but feeling it anyway.

Yes to being scared of this next birth experience.

So thank you, original poster, for sharing.
post #26 of 49
I TOTALLY relate to your post! I don;t thin k you are being petty or whining or anything like that. It was YOUR experience and you have every right to feel anything you want about it.

I had a HBAC and was expecting the beautiful, perfect and empowering VBAC that everyone talks about...

...except I was in so much flipping pain, I was screaming so loud I lost my voice for TWO DAYS! Pushing hurt so bad--I wanted it to stop. I kept yelling,"This sucks!!!" and "NO!" to which the MW's replied calmly, "yes". I wanted to punch them! : (and I LOVE these women!) I wanted a c/s too, and this is coming from someone who HATED her first cesarean.

I did not have a birth high either. I was very upset about that. (may have something to do with having a shoulder dystocia at the end--which was very scary) Everything was so fuzzy, I barely remember the birth, or what happened after.
post #27 of 49
I held him right away and I just felt so detached, not just from him, but from myself and everything else.
Exactly what I felt after the birth. Like...what the @$%& just happened? I felt very doped up and like I was dreamiing. I felt sad for a while after (still do sometimes) wishing I was still pregnant and have a do-over of her birth, so I could at least REMEMBER it. (we didn't have any pics or video of the birth either, so that really sucked..)
post #28 of 49

Thank you

I know this is going to sound silly, but thank you for your post. I am going into pregnancy with so many high-minded intentions and in a very very supportive environment, but there is this nagging part of me that fears the judgment of others if there is anything other than a "perfect natural birth". This is my first post on mothering because of that anxiety. I have read tons, but since I am not positive I will be that strong, natural woman I envision or others claim to be that I will be letting myself and others down.

Your post reminds me that there are so many births out there and the ideals put forth by the community are just that - ideals - and so every birth is different and perfect in its own way. Thank you.
post #29 of 49
Just wanted to say that I totally agree. I had a textbook perfect delivery
that left me traumatized. For me it's not about missing the "birth high" or unmet expectations (oh, please), it's about hours of sheer unending pain that stripped me of my previous innocence about the world being a good place. I remember feeling terrified because if childbirth could feel so tortuous, then perhaps death was also like that, and then, I couldn't even die to escape the pain.

Even now, almost a year afterwards, it's still really hard to deal with.
post #30 of 49
Wow, I was coming here to post about exactly the same thing. I could have practically written your story, with a few minor differences. No advice or help, just wanted to let you know you're not alone. I'm having a hard time with people saying, "wow, a drug-free birth and a ten-pound baby!" but they don't get it-- if I could do it all over again, I'd get the d*** epidural! It wouldn't have changed some things in our situation (shoulder dystocia and a lot of tearing) but maybe I would be able to look back on the labor and birth without cringing from both the memory of the pain, and of my reaction to it.
post #31 of 49
Oh yeah this thread is amazing! I totally went through the traumatized after a natural birth. I guess I had back-labour and after saying no like 50 times I had some pain-relief so after 33 hrs of agony(bout 20 hrs spent in my home) I had an hour of feeling no physical pain but mentally I was destroyed, sooo depressed on that stuff, then 2 more hours of forced excrutiating pushing and baby was born, I was too wiped to even deal with her for several minutes:and quite bad tears.Interesting that Liontigerbear says this posterior position can be helped during labour and nothing is done, I'd never thought about it like that, they wanted the drugs down me badly to shut me up for sure.Only then was I aware for the 1st time of other women in labour in adjacent rooms moaning quite quietlyProcessing the event was hard too and people seemed so uninterested in my feelings, the PND got bad and lasted a year. I uc'ed twice after that. So mama's so sorry for all the crap experiences we've had to endure, the pain that does feel like you're being ripped apart, the feeling that somehow we've failed or something, the lack of concern or interest in our real and valid feelings. OP I'm so sorry you have been left to deal with the trauma of your birth situation and everyone else is too ignorant to see how you really feel I know that when I uc'ed and took back the dignity robbed from me that I didn't suffer at all and labours were much shorter but still damn back painful, as LTB said the people around us expect us to suffer in labour and that is so true and wierd n horrible.I really hope you feel better soon.
post #32 of 49
Birth is hard, painful, and even in the best of circumstances can leave someone feeling quite shell-shocked.

I do NOT understand how some women describe pushing as feeling 'good' or being able to 'work with the pain'. I hate it. I dread it. I'd rather do transition 3x's than the pushing part. The pressure. Oh.my.gosh.

The only thing that gets me through the worst of it is that I know it doesn't last long. In that moment, I just think to myself, "The longer I resist this, the longer I fight it, the longer it'll last."

I hope you are able to feel better about it soon.
post #33 of 49
Originally Posted by LilacMama View Post
I want to preface this by saying that I am very aware that other women have had truly long, difficult births, often resulting in vacuums/forceps/c-sections and other things that have been far more difficult to process than my birth. I feel guilty for posting my "easy" birth story, but I also wanted sort through some of my negative feelings about my birth.

Anyway, sorry about the length and sorry to you mamas who really did have terrible birth experiences. I don't know what's wrong with me -- I should feel grateful about it. I just need to process some more and get my head around it.

Thanks for this post, I don't feel so alone in this... I'm a bit on the flip side as I did have that high and love my natural births, but I did feel a bit traumatized by a rude nurse and having to be hooked to the moniters and IVs. I know these are minor things, but they affected me greatly emotionally. I wrote about it in my blog...everyone makes me feel like I'm overreacting for being upset over this, I did have a great birth, just not in my mind. Birth is such a spiritual, emotional, unexplainable process, every women goes within herself to allow her body to do what it needs, and all the rationalizing in the world can't change how a women feels while giving birth or after.
post #34 of 49
I have not read through all the posts, but wanted to post quickly.

I know where you are coming from. I'll spare you my story (glad so many have shared so far!), but I'd like to share some resources that may be helpful to you as you process your birth experience.

The first is an article from La Leche League International about feelings after birth. One quote towards the end: Every woman has her own set of ideas and hopes about what her pregnancy and birth experience will be like. To the extent that yours was different from what you expected, you may be more likely to have a postpartum reaction.
(Dunnewold, A. and Sanford, G. Postpartum Survival Guide. Oakland, CA: New Harbinger Productions, 1994.. )

The article is well-written and well-worth the read. (link)

Next, Ina May Gaskin and Attachment Parenting International team up this month for a teleseminar about making choices for birth and also how to accept birth when things go differently than planned. Here's a link to learn more.

I know you have a lot of support here and you deserve it!
post #35 of 49
I honestly never heard of the birth high. And I have had a lot of babies.

I am very upset that they gave the bath without permission. But beyond that, it sounds like you really expected too much. I hate to say, it is hard, it sounds like you expected something that, well, I never heard of. I know I felt great after the baby was out, but not during, definitely not during pushing.

((((hugs))))) I think you need some time to heal. Whether your expectations were unreasonable or not, they were still your expectations and it can hurt to lose that.
post #36 of 49
Originally Posted by Lisa1970 View Post
I honestly never heard of the birth high. And I have had a lot of babies.

I am very upset that they gave the bath without permission. But beyond that, it sounds like you really expected too much. I hate to say, it is hard, it sounds like you expected something that, well, I never heard of. I know I felt great after the baby was out, but not during, definitely not during pushing.

((((hugs))))) I think you need some time to heal. Whether your expectations were unreasonable or not, they were still your expectations and it can hurt to lose that.
WOW... I don't want to start a big argument or anything, but, WOW, I can't help but think that what you wrote is pretty darn offensive! You seem to have said, if I may paraphrase "because I never heard of this, I think you expected too much"
WOW.... that is pretty indifferent to this OP's feelings and expressions of what happened to her!
I have felt the "birth high" and also NOT felt it. I've had 4 babies. Two in the hospital and two at home. Oddly enough, I had the biggest endorphin rush with my second hospital birth, even though, overall, I MUCH preferred my homebirths. Both homebirths were straightforward and uncomplicated and no midwife (UC). My last homebirth and last baby was almost "boring". It was less than 5 hours of active labor, easy pushing, squatting in the tub, no attendants, not too much bleeding, easy placenta delivery, etc.
It was so "normal" that I was almost a bit let down that there wasn't, oh, more drama? to it. Absolutely NO story to tell... other than "had a baby".
My expectations were a little different than what I experienced with EVERY baby. This can be cause to revisit the issue mentally over and over and feel frustrated with certain events or feelings. It's TOTALLY NORMAL! And talking about it is the best way to find ways to deal with it, heal from it and move on!
hth a little - Jen
post #37 of 49
OP, I am so glad you shared your feelings. I identified so much with what you wrote. I just gave birth several days ago to my 3rd child. It was by far the most traumatizing birth for me and sadly, I did not brace myself for it, b/c I had two previous births that were OK (not great, but I was happy enough with them). This time, I had prodromal labor for over 2.5 wks, I was upset to find out that my ob who birthed my other two children was on vacation during my, "window" of time and I was going to end up with an OB who was big on medical intervention. In addiition, this was the first time I experienced back labor. I had a natural birth with DS2 (epidural with DS1), so thought that since I had done it before, I could do it again. Wrong, the back labor had me acting like a total crazy person, I could tell by my DH's reaction that he just didn't know what to do to help me feel better, I was all over the place and acting really pitiful. By the time it was time to push, I felt totally trapped. I was already exhausted, and in so much pain, the thought that I still had to do the pushing part was overwhelming. Luckily, it went quickly, but I ended up with a much larger baby this time than my other two and an episiotomy as well (had episiotomy with other two, but this one definitely hurts more).

After I had my baby, I was still in this horrible state of fear. My eyes were still closed and I was still screaming and crying. The nurse had to, "call" me back to remind me that it was all over and my baby was out and healthy. I am very upset with how the birth of my 3rd child went, even though by most stds, it would be considered a successful, "natural" birth. It was like a nightmare to me and different from my natural birth for DS2, which is what I was expecting it to be more like. It sounds awful, but on my DDC, I described my birth exp as, "sucky." That is the nicest way I could put it. I am an advocate of natural birth, but omg, this last exp, with the combo of the bad back labor and a larger than expected baby... yeah a c-section would have sounded really good to me had I known what I was in for and I am not ashamed to admit that I would have gone for that option had I known what I know now. {{{HUGS}}} You are not alone in the way that you feel and you have every right to be upset that your birth did not end up the way you thought it would be. I'm really upset about mine as well, even though to others it appears to be a, "good" birth.
post #38 of 49
I don't post a whole lot here, but wanted to thank you for your honest post. I too remember reeling after my natural "perfect" hospital birth. I too had back labor and felt completely out of control in the last 2 hours...not at all what I thought I would feel. I kept asking my MW (when I was coherent) "am I doing this right??" because I couldn't fathom that this was the was the way it was supposed to feel. I couldn't walk or bounce on a ball during labor. I ASKED for a wheelchair when we got to the hospital. I was so embarrassed about this. And when my MW arrived, she was irate seeing me in the wheelchair and was like, "Why did they make you get in a wheelchair? This is so typical!" Bless her, I know what she meant, but I then felt rather weak because I had actually wanted one...and then I also felt insecure about my ability to actually do it at all, that kind of carried through the rest of my labor. I know it's a small thing, but still...
post #39 of 49
I've had 5 completely and uterly different births. Some were terrible and others werent so bad, though I've never had a birth high and none have been *perfect.* My first was terrible, though I was induced, stuck flat on my back, and had a 3 hour long, non-stop contraction. I was rather scared to have another one after that and I still to this day hate the way his birth went. It was so NOT what I had envisioned.

Same with the next one, it was better, but still nothing like I had wanted and I was very sad. It again was very painful and wasnt empowering at all.

With the 3rd, my labor was insanely easy. I was like wow, this is totally going to be a perfect birth! Woo! It got hard right at the end, for all of 15 minutes, and even in that little bit of time, I sort of lost it. I felt silly. Then I hemorrhaged and well....there went that!

The 4th was a fast, hard labor, again totally different. I was totally on top of things though, until the midwives hadnt gotten there, I wanted to push, and my now ex was saying "OMG DONT PUSH!!!" That made me panic, totally lose focus, and the rest of the birth was craptastic.

My 5th doesnt really count since I had HELLP and a cesarean at 33 weeks. But needless to say, it sucked too.

The point behind this is that yes, birth can suck and you dont have to be happy with the way it went, even if everyone else sees it as being totally awsome. You had expectations that werent met, you had a lot of pain you didnt expect, and it just plain wasnt what you were planning. But, you did it! You had a baby! You might've lost it, you might feel unaccomplished, but you most certainly did accomplish something great. Its hard work to birth and you did it Good job mama!
post #40 of 49
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