Coming to terms with a "bad" birth experience? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 10 Old 03-21-2008, 01:42 PM - Thread Starter
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My DD3 was born last week. It was a badly failed VBAC and a traumatic c/s that resulted in her being in NICU (she is still there...). I am having some very strong feelings of failure, guilt, and loss of the birth experience I have been dreaming of. I feel like I dont have a "real" newborn, that I have nothing to celebrate since she isnt here.

I keep getting flowers from friends and almost feeling like "why are people sending me this?".

This was probably my last baby, and I definitely think that is contributing to this. Even my prior c/s's were a billion times better than this. I find myself having fleeting "after the baby is born I will do _____" or "That will be great for the birth!" thoughts before it kicks in "Oh right...thats done already." I hate the thought that this will mark the end of my pregnancy and birth journey.

DH keeps on telling me that I dont have a right to be upset since she will be fine and that soon it will all be over. I understand that in theory, but its not helping at all.

Mama to nine gorgeous babies, with finale #10 due April'14.
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#2 of 10 Old 03-21-2008, 04:46 PM
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you definately do have the right to be upset. don't let anyone tell you otherwise. you need to grieve and that's okay. be easy on yourself if you can. it is not your fault, it's so easy to think that way (i did for months after dd was born). do you have a therapist that is understanding that you would be able to talk about the birth to? i found that to be really helpful in processing my dd's birth and getting over the feelings of guilt, and to work through the sadness and grief. it's so hard when birth doesn't go as you dream it will, and you need to be able to grieve the loss of that dream. congratulations on your dd and i hope things get better for you soon.

Mummy to dd (Jan 13, '07) born by emergency c-section at 35 weeks due to severe pre-e  :ribboncesarean.gif and ds (Jan 30 '09) :hbac.gif and stork-suprise.gif    (06/11)
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#3 of 10 Old 03-21-2008, 05:16 PM
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Don't let anyone talk you out of greiving your birth. You need to greive, in order to move past it. Having a healthy baby is a separate issue from having a great birth experience, IMO.

The best thing you can do is hold your baby. You need eachother.


Canadian mama to A (C/S May 2004) and R (induced VBAC Dec 2007) expecting #3 in July.  Currently obsessing over permaculture, photography and beekeeping.

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#4 of 10 Old 03-21-2008, 05:17 PM
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HUGE hugs mama... you have more than a right to mourn. You have a need. It's normal and necessary to feel your way through this event. My OBs called birth a "mountain top moment"... everything builds up to that one moment and so even when everything goes beautifully it is totally natural to feel let down and unhappy afterwards. And when everything doesn't go beautifully... well. Maybe your dh would understand it better in those terms? That you were climbing a mountain and at the last moment got altitude sickness and within sight of the summit you had to be med-evaced back down the mountain. Sure, everyone is "all right" in the end. But that doesn't make the whole situation "all right". I dunno if it will help, but that analogy did a lot for my DH (who was very sympathetic after my c/s but just didn't "get" what made it such a big deal for me). It sort of let him in on the visceral loss a mama can feel.

On top of all that, you're only a week post partum. Even in an ideal world your hormones would be all over the place, and your world is far from ideal right now. It's totally normal to feel like the babe isn't there yet... after all, the babe isn't there yet, snuggled in your arms at home. The birth is still happening and will be until that little one is safely where she belongs, with you. So don't let anyone make you feel guilty for those feelings.

Is there a post partum therapist or nursing aide you could speak with? Or who you could speak with and who could then speak with your dh and/or close family about how they can best support you? Do you have anyone helping with your other children? It took me over 6 months to work up the courage to tell my family practice dr that I had PPD (and another month in therapy to be finally diagnosed with both PPD and PTSD)... and even now 3 years after my c/s I still have feelings that are difficult for me to sort through on my own. Asking for help, or just asking someone to listen to you, can be a huge source of relief.

Is there a doula, midwife, caring family practice dr, ICAN or LLL leader, religious person, or close friend in your area you'd feel comfortable talking with? Someone who will just let you talk and not try to "convince" you of anything? I wish I was close enough to offer a shoulder and tea...

I hope you heal quickly and with hope, and hang in there...

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#5 of 10 Old 03-29-2008, 01:02 PM
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#6 of 10 Old 03-29-2008, 03:11 PM
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Oh Mama I'm so sorry you are so down. I totally agree with the pp's, you most certainly have every right to feel what you feel and to grieve the loss of the birth you envisioned. You have had a hard time birthing your dd and you must be exhausted and she is not with you at home, that must be really hard. I know what ppd feels like after I birthed my first I went over and over it, writing endless letters to the hospital I never sent for over a year, my relationship with the father broke down permanently and he also disregarded my feelings about the birth and I could not process it all, it's so wrong to be told that mama. Be kind to yourself, you haven't failed or anything like that, you do have a new babe and I hope she comes home soon so you can both properly bond. You must still be in shock from the birth and you may need appropriate help to get through this, please don't suffer in silence mama, like I did, with a bit of TLC and understanding and practical help you can get through this. Congratulations on your new babe way to go mama do not forget how Great you are!
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#7 of 10 Old 03-29-2008, 03:17 PM
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I'm so sorry that you've had to deal with all this. I'm sorry that birth didn't go like you would have wanted. While I didn't have trouble with the delivery, my son spent his first month at the hospital and it was hell. There are so many different emotions and I completely understand feeling frustrated with the well meaning friends' gifts/visits. Are you pumping right now? I remember that being a whole added stress - on top of trying to take care of yourself PP, and beign at the hospital all the time and being there to talk with docs when they finally decide to come by, you have to escape at least 8 times a day!!

It might not help this second but I promise it will get better and you will have that sweet baby home. Don't feel guilty if your first mothering experiences with this one don't go quite like you imagined or if you don't feel the emotions you think you should. Just remember, you did a wonderful job growing such a special baby

Lots of to you mama!!

Jenna - student RN and mommy to a cutie pie 3 yr old.
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#8 of 10 Old 03-31-2008, 01:54 PM
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I agree with everyone who says you have the right to feel this way! I was planning on a homebirth and ended up having an emergency c-section and was stuck in the hospital for 2 1/2 months due to a blood disorder induced by pregnancy. I hardly got to see my baby during that time. And due to this illness, I can't have anymore children so that is the only birth experience I'll get.

It is devastating to have your birth expectations ruined and right now you should accept your feelings and disapointment. I cried everyday for a long time. But as time goes by it gets better. It helps to remember how you cared for and nourished your baby while in the womb and to keep in mind how nice it is that she will be okay. Even so, it is a long process to accepting everything, but eventually this time will be over, and you can focus on all the other beautiful aspects of parenting and all you can do as a mother for the rest of your life. Birth is only a small aspect of life and motherhood, although it seems and feels big now.

At least that's how I see it. Hugs and love to you while you journey through this difficult time.
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#9 of 10 Old 03-31-2008, 02:48 PM
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I would have never put ptsd and birthing together but pts is a real part of birth for many people. I was googling PPD and found a check list for doctors in the state of Indiana and one of the columns was PTSD. I had a seemingly perfect midwife/birth center birth with my first child because I chose to take the best and forget the rest. My second birth was an awesome hospital birth and I saw the difference. After starting Lexapro 2 weeks ago and seeing how great I feel now and the reasoning behind why I didn't feel so great for the past 4 years goes right back to that first birth experience and the stress and lack of sleep and inablility to breast feed and all the peepeekaka that came with it as the perfect world crashed down around me and my idealism. You are dealing with something very real. Not only to you but many. Just remember this is your experience and do everything you can to make it work for you. You can choose to get lost in the experience or you can choose to work through it and come out better on the otherside healed. Take the help that is handed you and don't feel guilty as to where it comes from or what it is. Trust you will find the right way for you.


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#10 of 10 Old 03-31-2008, 03:09 PM
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*hugs* I had a very bad birth experience with my first one. I would say PTSD is definitely a reality/possibility after a bad birth. It takes a long time to get through the bad feelings and upset, but it does happen, things do get better...just not necessarily on the timeline everyone else is expecting you to march to. You are allowed to be upset for what happened.
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