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Feeling disenchanted about childbirth?

post #1 of 46
Thread Starter 
After the homebirth VBAC of my daughter--I feel totally different about birth now. Anyone else?

With DS I had a very unwanted and unexpected cesarean after a failed induction. I HATED it, and was very depressed afterwards, I wanted a VBAC badly and planned on having one with future children, but my OB said I was "too small" for vaginal birth.

Fast forward, got pregnant with #2 and planned HBAC. Pregnancy was wonderful, and was expecting an "empowering VBAC" that everybody talks about.

Went into labor on my due date (that shocked the heck outta me!) and right away I was afraid. No idea why. I didnt want to be alone. I hated feeling fearful. I dreaded the contractions. They hurt like HELL. I coudn't stay on top of them or "breathe" through them no matter what I did or tried to tell myself. Pushing HURT. When crowning I was out of my mind in pain. I am on our home video saying,"This sucks!". When my MW told me to feel my daughters head when crowning, to give me motivation, I feel horrible to admit now that I didnt feel any joy, etc, I didnt even want to touch her head, I didnt care...I just wanted her OUT.

She ended up with Shoulder Dystocia-stuck for 4 mins. Scary as heck. She needed to be resusciated. I was in shock. No "birth high". Nothing. Everything is fuzzy. I barely remember the birth, especially after she was out.

After days passed and my daughter fully recovered from the SD, I was very disappointed in the birth experience. Bitter towards the ones who said birth was "empowering" and "orgasmic', etc. I didnt feel empowered. I felt like a wild animal, birthing her offspring. Thats it.

I am constantly being told to "trust my body" and to "trust birth". I trusted my body to not screw up this time, and my daughter got stuck. I lost my trust in birth, at least most of it. I trusted birth--and it just scared the living you-know-what out of me. I trused birth and was the .5% to have a shoulder dystocia. I didnt feel in control of anything. I just felt as if this huge life-force was just pounding the &%^# out of me. It didnt feel magical. It just felt like....a birth. It didnt heal me like I thought it would. Maybe I expected to much. Who knows. I honestly think if I get pregnant again--I WILL fear birth.

Maybe its because I have yet to have an uncomplicated, non-traumatic birth. Maybe I am jealous of those who do. I hope I get to prove myself wrong if there is a next time.

Can anyone commiserate?
post #2 of 46
I can absolutely commiserate! I feel the same way. So much about my birth sucked, and I had issues with preterm labor and polyhydramnios. I think when you have complications it's so hard to trust your body, and the platitudes about birth really don't help.

I wish I had some words of wisdom for you, but I'm going through the same thing. I WANT so badly for birth to make me feel magical and powerful, but I think it's important to just... let it feel the way it feels, and not beat yourself up over that.

~Rose
post #3 of 46
Hell yes! I have never had a birth high and I think birth sucks. Giving birth has been by far the most unpleasant physical experience of my life (and that's putting it mildly - it's been traumatic). Both births were unimpeded natural births, the second a home waterbirth.

For me, birth sucks. I think it just does for some women, no excuses or explanations required. Give yourself a big hug and know that it's ok to feel however you feel about birth.
post #4 of 46
Totally! I am just not "in" to birth. I tried to but you know to me it is nothing more than a means to get my children from point A to point B. More power to you if you have this amazing experience but I just do not see that happening with me and honestly I just don't care. A means to an end and that is it.

There just seems to be a lot of hype. Hey if birth is great for you that's all well and good but birth itself is just childbirth. We go on and on about how it is natural and just to do it and such but you know even the natural birth advocates are turning it into some huge thing that surpasses it's function and makes it about the experience and what not. When you don't experience it like that you think you did something wrong. Well, no, you gave birth. You did exactly what you were suppose to. I just think it'd be beneficial to everyone if we took the hype down a notch and let birth be what it is, ykwim?

/rant

mama!
post #5 of 46


I'm in a very similar place right now. I gave birth to my first a little over two weeks ago, and a lot of what you said rang true for me. I, too, had intensely painful contractions (not "surges" or "waves", but PAIN), pushing/ crowning hurt incredibly, the nurse kept saying things like, "I can see the head!" "Your baby has hair!" and I just didn't care, the only thing I wanted was for the pain to stop. My son got stuck too, although it was for a short time (maybe 30 seconds? A minute? I couldn't tell) and it didn't cause any complications, but it was so scary; time just stood still. Getting his shoulders/chest out tore the h@$# out of me-- I ended up with third-degree lacerations that, combined with our BF problems, have made the first weeks after his birth to be pretty miserable. Right after the birth, the emergency team took DS to the other side of the room to do whatever to him, while my doctor spent 45 minutes sewing me back together... we didn't get that immediate, post-birth bonding that everybody talks about.

Everybody keeps saying, "Wow, you had a 10 lb baby without drugs, that's amazing!" but I feel like they don't get it... If I'd known what I was in for, I would have just gotten the epidural. Not that it would have changed the shoulders/tearing, but at least my memory of labor would be a little less wild.
post #6 of 46
It is very difficult to feel trusting when you find yourself smack dab in the middle of a minute and crummy statistic. I had two beautifuly uncomplicated deliveries, and then one hell of a ride for my third. Her head got stuck (asynclitic, which I believe I read at some point happens in less than 4% of births? Something tiny) at 10cm and I had a cervical lip. Never in my wildest dreams did I think my phenomenally "proven pelvis" would result in what could have become a real cephalopelvic disproportion issue.

Because I had two other experiences to compare it to, I understand your feelings. I really felt like I had a handle on birth, that I trusted my body, that I knew how "I labored" and as a doula I felt like somewhat of an expert. I was looking forward to catching my own baby. That thought is laughable now (I'm 5 months out, and honestly mama...I can laugh about a lot of it, so hang onto that...it will feel less raw with time). I was in agonizing, mindblowing pain and when we transferred I spent the entire car ride asking my husband and doula friend what kind of pain meds they thought they'd give me, if they thought shift change would interfere with my getting an epidural, did they think I could have IV narcotics first? Some labors are far bigger a$$kickers than others. I did get some fentanyl when we got there and just getting a bit of sleep and relaxation, my baby must have dislodged and I pushed her out very quickly. But like you said...I had NO desire to see it, touch it, or have anything to do with it. I think I kept asking if it was almost over. Either because I was dopey from the drugs or just plain exhausted, I didn't have any of those birth endorphins like my other births. All I felt was relief that the whole thing was over.

I felt a lot of fear during her birth too which was new to me and really shook me up as a birth professional too. In the first weeks after she was born I was so relieved that she is my last baby because I couldn't imagine ever wanting to give birth at all again let alone at home. Now, with some distance, I know for sure if I ever did get pregnant again (not going to happen) I would absolutely plan another homebirth. What happened to me is very different than you...neither me nor my baby were ever in serious jeopardy...so be gentle with yourself as you process that level of trauma. I can't imagine how afraid you must have been. Ironically enough, my unmedicated babies came out blue and "slow to start" but not in danger, and those brief moments of blue raggedy breathing were terrifying, so I really feel for what you've gone through. It's a lot.

I worry too as a birth professional that we sell the idea of "perfect" or "orgasmic" birth as something that is just attainable if you prepare properly. The fact is that birth is wild and unpredictable and you kind of get what you get. No one can guarantee you the kind of birth you want. We'd all love the serene images we've seen on the videos, but crazy stuff happens out of nowhere and I think we'd all be better off to acknowledge that and maybe not have this extra bag of trauma to carry afterwards if we didn't also feel blindsided by it?
post #7 of 46
I know that when I was in birth, I was caught totally off guard by the pain. I felt like I must be doing something wrong, for it to hurt SO MUCH. Granted, I had a Pitocin induction, so that might be why, but I certainly know that calling it a rush didn't do a whole lot for me. I felt badly for wanting it to be over, and for not "enjoying" it. I think that the extremes on either end -that it's the worst pain anyone will ever feel in their entire life and there is no way to get through it without pain meds, or that it's this beautiful floaty transcendent experience that makes you see unicorns flying around- do a disservice to women.

I wish I had known that it's OKAY for it to hurt. it's OKAY for me to say I hate this and I want to stop and pick it up tomorrow! It's okay to cry and scream and be a whiner about it. I wish that someone had told me, no, you don't need the epidural, you can do this. It's okay to be glad that it's over and never, ever want to do that again. It is what it is, and you don't do yourself or anyone else any favors by trying to say otherwise.

~Rose
post #8 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by RoseRedHoofbeats View Post
I think that the extremes on either end -that it's the worst pain anyone will ever feel in their entire life and there is no way to get through it without pain meds, or that it's this beautiful floaty transcendent experience that makes you see unicorns flying around- do a disservice to women.


Quote:
Originally Posted by RoseRedHoofbeats View Post
I wish I had known that it's OKAY for it to hurt. it's OKAY for me to say I hate this and I want to stop and pick it up tomorrow! It's okay to cry and scream and be a whiner about it. I wish that someone had told me, no, you don't need the epidural, you can do this. It's okay to be glad that it's over and never, ever want to do that again. It is what it is, and you don't do yourself or anyone else any favors by trying to say otherwise.

~Rose
I agree. What I really dislike about the extremes of the natural childbirth movement is the condescending attitude that if you feel any pain in labor, the pain is all in your head and it's your fault for being stupid, uneducated, brainwashed, unprepared or whatever.

The cervix is very sensitive to being stretched. This pain is normal, natural, physiological. I felt it intensely, although I was prefectly relaxed, not scared, calm and on top of it. I didn't mind it, but to tell me it wasn't real or was just the result of brainwashing is absurd. Women's pain tends to be taken less seriously than men's in most cases precisely because of this paternalistic idea that it's all in their cute, brainwashed, hysterical little heads. It's not doing women any services.

Telling women that they CAN endure it, breathe through it, if they want to, because they're strong, is a completely different matter than refusing to call labor painful at all and blaming it on them if they do experience it as very painful.

And some women are not all that attracted to being one with the primal forces, or experiencing the extremes of our bodily existence, or getting in touch with your inner animal or Earth Mother or whatever. And THAT's OK.
post #9 of 46
Quote:
What I really dislike about the extremes of the natural childbirth movement is the condescending attitude that if you feel any pain in labor, the pain is all in your head and it's your fault for being stupid, uneducated, brainwashed, unprepared or whatever.
Thank you!!! Whenever I see anything quoted by Grantley Dick-Reed I want to throw a heavy object through a window.
post #10 of 46
I'm a doula and I totally believed in the empowering and beautiful aspects of birth until I gave birth myself. It's been nearly 4 years and I feel drained, devastated, weak, and depressed. My experience totally changed my beliefs and identity, not in a good way. I feel like Ina Mae,Henci Goer and all the rest offered up false advertizing. I wish I had known that giving birth could ruin my life... I might have just shown up at the hospital accepted every last intervention and moved on with my life.
post #11 of 46
I actually just had one of those awesome amazing births that people talk about and guess what my reaction to it has been? Same as what the OP described...just a birth. That's all it was. I don't feel empowered. I'm still just a month postpartum so I haven't really been able to formulate much more that. In fact, I feel lucky that it turned out that way because I know how much can go wrong in birth, and how much it can suck. With my role with Solace for Mothers, I've learned so much from others who have experienced birth trauma, and one of those lessons is that things go wrong. And when they do its scary, really scary. Anyway, I'm still processing. So I guess all I can say is a bit of a yeah that.
post #12 of 46
I don't really "belong" in this forum but stumbled on this post from the first page. I hope you'll forgive me for feeling compelled to post.

For a long time, I was all about birth. At 16, I wanted to be a midwife. I read, studied, prepared. Eventually even after a painful loss, I taught childbirth classes, did doula work, and also worked in the maternity unit of the hospital. Birth was a huge theme in my life!

After struggling for a while with secondary infertility, coupled with a previous commitment to eventually adopt and having been a foster parent for several years, I became an adoptive parent. Before my adoptions, I worried so much about not having that birth experience. I was sure I would miss it. Now, four years into adoptive parenting, I see what a blip in time birth really is. I do still want to experience a "successful" pregnancy and birth at some point, though even the feeling of being "incomplete" somehow without it has diminished. Nonetheless, my journey about parenthood has been so much more.

Birth can be amazing. It can be empowering and a beautiful first experience with parenthood. It can also be terrifying, painful, and traumatic. Either way, it is only one aspect of one way of entering into parenthood. And even when it goes on for days, it is such a small portion of time when we consider the length of our parenthood.

When my kids were babies and we'd get together with other moms, I often was left out in conversations that perpetually returned to birth and breastfeeding (adoptive breastfeeding was not an option for us due to legal stuff). Now that my kids are older, everyone is talking schools and homeschooling, discipline, extra-curriculars, and all that. Except when one of the moms is pregnant or has a new little one, it hardly comes up.

I'd say overall, birth can be powerful but we're all healthier when we don't *turn over* our power to it.
post #13 of 46
Wow - so good to hear I'm not the only one in this boat. I was so excited to give birth. Totally had faith in my body & my mental ability to do it. Figured I could handle it all with grace. It really sucked. It hurt more than anything I've ever felt in my life & the tearing left me practically bedridden for weeks. In fact the first couple weeks of ds' life are a blur of pain.

I really had no fear when approaching ds' birth but now I am literally terrified of the next time. Especially 'cause I don't really feel there is much I could have done differently to have a different experience.
post #14 of 46
First,

I'm not sure that I belong in this section either. After spending several months reading posts on MDC and starting to become depressed about my birth experiences and feeling like I had been robbed.... I had to stop and put things into perspective and think for myself. I came to this conclusion....I had two intervention laden births (due to HBP issues)....one was not very peaceful (DS born at 35 wks 5 days) and one I felt was every bit as peaceful as delivering naturally. DD birth was just magical IMO. I have a wonderful OB, I had probably the best L&D nurse at the hospital, everyone in the room was relaxed, and as soon as DD was born she was put on my chest, the nurse asked if I was going to BF, I said yes, and she said "well. Lets get this baby to the breast!!" It was beautiful! But, sometimes I feel that if some women on this board experienced what I experienced that day they would have cried foul!....and I can guarantee you there was nothing bad about that day!!!!
post #15 of 46
I can commiserate. With DD's labor, three years ago, I felt empowered and in love with birth, even though the labor was induced, it lasted 48 hours, and it ended in a C-section. I wanted a whole tribe of children after DD was born. I was sure that my planned VBAC with the next would be even better because it would not be induced and I would actually get to push a baby out (I enjoyed pushing with DD, but she was stuck).

Flash forward to about a week ago when I went into labor with DS. The labor was nothing like that with DD, and it didn't match anything I read in the Bradley books. Contractions started stronger than what I experienced with DD during transition, and they were two minutes apart throughout. I was sure it would be a short, intense labor, and had all of the emotional signposts that I was close to the end . . . 24 hours before the end. Despite the odds against it, my uterus *did* nearly rupture. I wanted to (still considering it) burn all of my childbirth books.

If we do have more children, DH and I are really relieved that this birth would require no preparation and we could just schedule the C-section. I never thought I would think of that as a good thing.
post #16 of 46
Quote:
If we do have more children, DH and I are really relieved that this birth would require no preparation and we could just schedule the C-section. I never thought I would think of that as a good thing.
I really feel you. We are also getting a section this time planned in advance and I cannot believe how relieved I feel.
post #17 of 46
I completely understand what you're saying. I will be getting an epidural with my next birth, no apologies. I did not enjoy my daughter's first few hours of life because I was so shaken up by the pain of pushing. I have a high pain tolerance, but it was more than I could stand -- So yeah, I'd gladly participate in the "natural childbirth" book burning. It was not for me!
post #18 of 46
I dont know if I'm off beat here, but I think I understand, at least to some extent. I too dont like birth. It hurts, its hard work, I never get a real birth high. I'm happy about having the baby here, but I'm more happy that the birth is OVER. I've never gotten emotional post birth (except, oddly, with my surrogate baby-I felt like I'd ruined the whole birth experience for her parents when I hemmorhaged, lol!) and I get very very mad during labor. I tend to hit walls and cuss-a lot.

Yet, at the same time-I say I loved my homebirth because, well, it was the closest thing to a perfect birth I could get. I had 3 previous births that werent what I wanted. They sucked. I had complications. Bleh. So yeah, I loved my homebirth, but not in the sense that the birth itself was magical or something. Heck no. It sucked too! The difference for me was post birth, being able to just nurse my baby, eat, go to sleep in our bed. Thats what I loved about it. Of course, not having to deal with hospital policy in labor is nice too

I'm sure having SD didnt help anything. The whole not being empowered stuff I totally get, since I'm right there with you, but the SD made it that much worse. Think more about what happened after they got her stabalized. Did you get to cuddle the baby? Nurse? Cuddle her, be comfy in your own home, etc? Thats what made it special for me
post #19 of 46
I totally identify with all the emotions here. Before I was ever pregnant I was a birth info junky. I thougth about using my massage background and combining it with being a doula. I wanted nothign more than to have an amazing birth experience. After my first c/s (transfer after 30 hrs of labor in a birth center) I felt even MORE passionate about birth. That I was going to do it right the second time. I planned my HBAC as if it were the magical answer to having the perfect birth. I had all the info, the support, and the confidence. Now that I have my second transfer and c/s under my belt I feel completely deflated. I have to carefully tread around here at MDC because I feel sick and angry everytime I see a birth announcement. Seems like they are all the same "Baby _____ born peacefully at home into daddys arms, or born in the water" I want to be able to claim that for myself but I never will.

I have been struggling with the fact that I am out of options for a 3rd birth. No doc will see me, and my homebirth midwives will not take me back on. So a c/s is my only option. Wheres the joy in that? I feel like I couldn't possibly wait a whole 9 months without having the planning and anticipation involved in a natural birth. I guess we'll see if that stops me at 2 or if "time" will heal me of it.
post #20 of 46
I can identify with your feelings as well. I found birth to be very physically difficult to deal with. It was beyond painful and it was way faster then I was told it would be which was faster then I could cope with it. I also did not care much to touch the babies head; I just did it because they yelled at me to do so, and by that time I had learned to just do what they said or I would be forced anyway. I didn't feel like I wanted it over so much as I felt like I didn't want it to be happening. I fought against the entire process, until pushing which was a huge relief for me.

I just don't buy into the whole joyful, ecstatic, orgasmic, trust birth ideals. I just want my next birth to be not-traumatic. I don't believe I can trust something that has proven itself to not be completely safe or satisfying of an experience. When you come away with physical and mental trauma, you just can't "trust" that this wont happen again. I can't delude myself that well, I guess I am just too firmly grounded in reality.
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