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Struggling with jealousy

post #1 of 33
Thread Starter 

Just when I think I've come a long way in processing my birth, something will happen and I'll be swept over by a wave of jealousy.


I was at the grocery store this afternoon with DH. I saw a woman there with another baby around the same age. I realized I'd seen her at a mom's group during my prenatal days. She didn't recognize me, but I remembered her. The first thought I had was- I bet she had a dream birth.


Of course I don't know that for a fact. Maybe she didn't. But in that moment I was sure she did. I was sure her experience was better and that she didn't go through months of recovery hell and post partum ptsd. I felt like she probably enjoyed her baby sooner, and as a result, her life was just better in every way that mattered. 


I want to not feel like that when I see other moms. I want to be able to be positive when I hear positive birth stories. But I will admit it. There is always a part of me that is insanely jealous.

post #2 of 33

I know what you're talking about and I totally understand! Sometimes I wish I could tell the doctors just what they are stealing from women. Western medicine never looks at the whole body/mind and family picture.

post #3 of 33
Thread Starter 

Thanks. I'm glad to know I'm not the only one who feels this way. 


All these feelings just lead me to a lot of self-hatin'. I labored for 70 hours with my son and he just would. not. come. out. We tried so many things. Loads of different positions. Castor oil. Walking. Running up steps during contractions. A doctor tried to turn him. We tried pitocin. Nothing worked, and the pit gave him heartrate drops that scared the doctors. Finally, even my midwife who went with us when we transferred agreed there was no alternative.


I just feel mad at myself sometimes. Like, what more could I have done? What did I miss? Is my body just that messed up that it couldn't do what it was designed to do and birth a baby? *sigh. Whenever I hear the whole "trust birth" message or the "my body knows what to do" I just feel down on myself. I just think- there must be something wrong with mine because it sure didn't know. I needed someone to go get my son because I couldn't get him out myself. 



post #4 of 33

Sounds like you did everything you could. I wonder if you would have a worse outcome if you didn't transfer? Have you had any other children? Or do you have plans for more kids? I can't describe in words how healing it is to birth the way we were designed to. I know you can do it! If I can do it, you can too.

post #5 of 33
Thread Starter 

I did ask my midwife what would've happened to me and my kiddo if c-sections were nonexistent, or we were living in a place w/out access to them. She said eventually, it is likely, in her opinion, that in our case we would've ended up with fistula. 


My son was born with a double nuchal cord in the OP position. So he was sunny side up with a cord wrapped twice around his neck. My MW's conclusion was that the combo of these two things made it so that he had to be born via c. She said that OP babies can be born vaginally, but they come out much more slowly. With that double cord, a baby needs to come out quickly or at least normally so that he doesn't choke. My son's slow descent through the birth canal (due to OP position) might've meant that he would've been deprived of oxygen too long with that double wrapped cord.


So I mean, I guess bad things would've happened without our c-section. I know that in the end, I had to throw myself under a knife to get my baby planet-side. And I made the ultimate sacrifice for him because I faced my greatest fear about birth (having a csection) for him. He tried for 3 days to come to us, and he couldn't. And he needed me to be willing to say yes, we will come and get you.


Still, I ask myself constantly why was he OP. Should I have done one more yoga class? Gone to see the chiropractor one more time? Should I have started those pelvic stretches two weeks earlier than I did? It's really that piece of it that I blame myself for.


I don't know if I'll have any other children. I would guess not. My husband and I didn't want children until later in our lives, and one seems to be pretty overwhelming. Great, yes, but... dang. You folks with more than one, I have no idea how you manage. You all amaze me.





post #6 of 33

I found it harder with one child than with three.

post #7 of 33
Thread Starter 

Really? That totally blows my mind! :)  My sis in law has 3 kids, and they're all w/in 18 months of each other. I don't know how she does it, but she's happy as a clam. Amazing. 

post #8 of 33

my kids are each four years apart. the oldest helps out a lot. they play with each other  instead of looking to me and dad for entertainment. I have actually been thinking about having a fourth child in a few years.

post #9 of 33

Partaria-  We have very similar stories.  I was a homebirth transfer after 30 hours of no progression I hadn't even dilated to 1.  Baby was acynclitic and we tried everything to get him into the right position.  I walked down the stairs on all fours face first, did rebozo belly shifting, all kinds of weird downward dog walking.  eventually we decided it was time to transfer.  We tried everything else there, including tons of pit. and nothing worked.  When my water broke at 45 hours he was locked into that position and wouldn't move down at all. Finally at 60 hours I was only dilated to 7 and threw in the towel. 


I get incredibley jealous with women who I imagine had an ideal birth and feel like they don't deserve it.  I did everything I could during pregnancy to have my home birth.  I did even more during labor.  WHy didn't I get to have my perfect homebirth?  What did I do wrong?  A friend of mine recently had a baby and I don't even know the circumstances of her birth but I haven't even been able to talk to her other than a congrats on facebook because I'm so filled with envy and anger right now.  For days after her baby was born I would wake up with panic attacks thinking about how unfair it was.  I know it's insane to obsess about it this much but I couldn't stop what I was feeling. 


I'm really hoping that time and (fingers crossed) a healing HBAC will help me stop feeling so much jealousy towards other mothers.


post #10 of 33
Thread Starter 



Mama, that is so so hard. My heart goes out to you. Yes, our stories are very similar. I had all these same feelings. I still do on many days. I don't know if this helps, but my dear, you did NOTHING WRONG. It sounds like you jumped through every hoop for your baby, walked over every metaphorical bed of coals, and then some. You have real grit, mama. I know you didn't get the birth you worked so hard for, and that is a loss that cannot be ignored or denied. But I do hope that one day you can be proud of all that you did. That labor sounds harrowing. And at the end, after hours and hours of labor and pit and all of it, you allowed yourself to be cut open for the sake of your child. WOW. 


Sometimes I feel like this idea that if we just do x, y, and z, we can have a perfect natural childbirth really sets women up for devastation and disappointment. The fact is, you can do x, y, z, and every letter in the greek alphabet too and still end up with a c-section. I don't think that is clear enough in a lot of the natural childbirth literature. And it was my experience that after all was said and done, I truly felt like a failure because of my c-section. Having people say things to me before my birth like (a yoga teacher) "Here's the positions you can do during labor to avoid a c-section" imply that we have total control, so when we "fail," it's something lacking in us.


When the truth is, I did do all I could, and in spite of my best efforts, my son just was the way he was (OP and nuchal cord). You gave this birth everything and more, my dear. And I am so so sorry it turned out the way it did. But I also think your story is one of honor and going through an extreme sacrifice for your kiddo. You are an amazing woman.



post #11 of 33

The thing I've been struggling with lately is jealousy of women who heal from their traumatic births by having a great subsequent birth. It just sounds so great...getting to try over again, make a different set of choices, have a different outcome, redevelop a sense of trust in my body, feel like I accomplished something great. But going through another pregnancy is just NOT in the cards for me. At all. Ever.


It seems like the women who are most "at peace" with their traumatic births are the ones who had at least one really great birth. I am trying to figure out how to be a mother who has only experienced traumatic birth, and yet still arrive at a place of healing. It's been over 3 years...progress has been made...but I'm not there yet. Sometimes I think I'm just going to spend the rest of my life as "damaged goods." Or maybe I will continue to learn how to carry the damage with ever greater grace???


And here's a weird sort of 2nd cousin to jealousy that pops up for me...I get sort of giddy with relief when I meet someone who has been through a difficult birth and who I feel "gets" me. Sick, I know. I wouldn't wish birth trauma on anyone, and the last thing I should feel when I hear about someone's difficult birth is "yay, someone who understands!" Ug, it's so selfish. But when I hear about someone's great birth, I think "we'll never be able to relate to each other" and when I hear about someone's tough birth, I think "we're part of a secret sisterhood."

post #12 of 33

I really had no choice but to use another birth as healing my personal trauma. I knew it was the only option for healing. I was still crying daily three years later. Why can't you have another child? Only if you feel like sharing, of course.

post #13 of 33

I'm a 42 year old lesbian. I put my body, my bank account, and my marriage through a lot to get pregnant the first time around, and there's just no way it can happen again. Though frankly, even if I'd had a fantastic first birth, I would only have one kid. It's just what works best for me and my partner. I guess that's part of why I really hoped the birth would be a good experience, because I went into it knowing it was a one-shot deal for me.


So, I've got to find a path to healing that doesn't involve a "redo". And I'm getting there...just not as fast as I would like!


Thanks for responding to my post.



post #14 of 33

wow, I wish I had the right words to say. The f@#$^% doctors stole your only chance. Some things in life are so so hard. I wish I could fix everything. HUGS!

post #15 of 33

I appreciate your outrage on my behalf, but I actually don't feel that any doctors took anything away from me. I don't really know why my c-section became necessary, but I had a good long time to give natural birth a go. At any rate, lingering resentment towards my doctors is not something I have to deal with, thankfully!

post #16 of 33
Thread Starter 

Oh I totally get that secret sisterhood thing. I've had that too. I don't know that it's really something I feel too bad about, though. I mean, of course, as you say, you don't wish this on anyone. But why deny that when you meet someone with whom you share a connection with, something in common, that it's not something that gives you a positive feeling? I know for a fact that when I've met mamas who've had difficult births and been glad for it, they've been secretly giddy to meet me too. It's just, I think, about the pleasure that comes in knowing you aren't alone. :)


I get what you mean about the second kid. I do not think it's in the cards for us either. Plus, I feel really wary of the idea of trying for a second time in order to heal. I know this has worked wonders for many women, and I think that's rad as hell. So what I'm about to say isn't meant to take anything from that experience, because I know that VBACs are pretty magical for lots of women.  But for me, I learned well that birth isn't something I can really plan or control. So I mean, I could end up with an awesome VBAC, but I could also end up with c-section number 2, and then there goes the whole point of going through it all again to achieve the birth I didn't get the first time around. I know myself and I know I would pin all my hopes and happiness on a "better birth" only to crash even lower than ever before if it didn't happen again.

post #17 of 33

Thanks, I feel better knowing that I'm not the only one with the giddy "secret sisterhood" thing. smile.gif


About having a "healing" 2nd birth...it's funny, even though I know I'm not going to do it again, sometimes I still fantasize about another birth. And my fantasy usually involves imagining another c-section, but a better one. One where I can see it coming, I make "the call" when I'm not exhausted and depleted and just crazy to get the damn thing over with, and I can actually make choices and be more present with it. I guess it's more of a fantasy of my birth re-done with the things I wish I had known & done & said the first time around. For example, I always picture myself telling the surgeons, "Quit talking about politics! This is the birth of my baby--be respectful!" That kind of thing.


post #18 of 33
Thread Starter 



"Quit talking about politics! This is the birth of my baby--be respectful!"

OMG YES to this!


Mine were talking about which was the better show- The Sopranos or Nip/Tuck while they were doing my c-section. Thanks for treating this like the special moment it is, guys.

post #19 of 33

Wow, jealousy is such a tough one for me.


After DS1 and the c/s I was so jealous of other mamas, especially the ones who did nothing to prepare and still got their natural birth.


After DS2 and the awesome HBAC my jealousy turned to my sons. I was so jealous that DS2 got that "perfect" birth and calm start to life, while DS1 got none of it. DS2 is almost 9 months and I still haven't been able to find that middle ground on how different it was for them. Its so hard to explain in words. I did everything I could think of to give DS1 the birth his younger brother got, but I "failed" and at times feel so consumed by the whole "unfairness" of it.


DH won't even let me talk about DS1's birth anymore. As far as he is concerned we've had the successful HBAC so there isn't anything left to talk about. I'm still all over the place in my emotions about both births. I'm not sure where I go from here with these feelings. I just hope that at some point I can let it go. I can't go back and change how DS1 was born or how the hospital treated him. I can only do my best in how I raise him, but I do so long to have been able to give him the same kind of start his brother got.


HBACs can be healing. In many ways I found mine to be healing too. At the same time though they also can raise other issues about the differences between the births.

post #20 of 33

Hugs mama, I know exactly what you're talking about and how hard it is to put into words. My DH sounds a lot like yours.

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