I used visualizations of God holding me through contractions, also of supernovas exploding. (An image of something powerful but beautiful) and those got me through it without panic, and those memories of the positive thoughts are quite strong though, and bring a feeling of positivity to my birth. It was NOT what I expected, and it was ... well... Just not what I expected. I thought it would be like my first labor, only probably a little shorter. It was different in every possible way!
My daughter also looked like an "induced baby"... you could tell looking at her that it wasnt' a gentle, slow labor!
I think that postpartum is a time of SO MANY mixed emotions and it can be really confusing. Feeling let down, scared, angry, overwhelmed... you can feel all those in the same moment that you experience joy and elation and pride! All these feelings are legitimate... take care of yourself, accept the care of those willing/able to give it, adn talk about your feelings with those you feel can be open and understanding. (Which might only be online, or you might be lucky enough to have very supportive family and friends IRL.) Processing birth can take a while so there is nothing wrong with still feeling like you're reeling so soon afterwards!
"When I'm sad, I stop being sad and be AWESOME instead."
There is a whole host of experience of birth, and for centuries women have been running the gauntlet of it. There are easy births, and hard births, and long slow painful ones, and whoa, not ever doing that again, and for centuries women have been acknowledging that some labours are shocking, intense, traumatic. Grandmothers talk about people who "had a hard time having them (the baby)" and they're not, in the most cases, talking about birth rape. They're talking about an ordinary birth that was traumatic, and often not from an outsiders perspective, or from any medical point of view. In effect, you're saying that because of the birth rape phenomenon our language choices should be restricted- because of the atrocities and impositions that are carried out on our bodies and our sisters bodies in medical childbirth, then we, the blessed, lucky, fortunate ones should choose to abandon our use of this word. Well, frankly, no. I'm not going to stand there and say "I had a natural birth and that's all that matters. I did it, and I feel empowered." When I talk about my birth, I talk about how it was- the surge of emotions, the confusion and despondency and despair I felt, and the total and utter shock I felt. THIS was my life. THIS was my reality, and my daughter's birth. The day she was born, I faced death in two real ways- the external reality of my son's ill health, and my internal reality, of that rite of passage of my child's passage to the outer world, and my rebirth as a mum of three. And I did it. And you know what? THAT was the single most traumatic day of my life, after a pretty difficult month. An awful lot of good things happened to me that day, but my mind interprets the way in which they happened as shocking and traumatic, and I don't feel like rewriting my birth story. That's how it happened.
Justthatgirl, I'm so sorry for doing this to your thread. Go back to bed, my love, and snuggle your newborn
It does seem to me, on the other hand, that some of you are making assumptions about me/my thoughts and wishes on this. Assuming that I am trying to tell what you felt or didn't really feel, that I'm trying to 'dictate' what words you can use, telling you how/what to think/believe about your birth. Nope, not a bit, and I did try repeatedly to make that clear in my comments. I offered some thoughts and another way of looking at word (and other) choices that we have. I asked some questions of the very same sort that I often apply to my own life experiences because they are, to me, helpful...questions, not directives. I find that it is SO easy to say things like "I felt so ripped off!" which isn't really a feeling, it's more of a judgement of someone else (the one who ripped you off)-- and tends to lead to blame/helplessness/victimization and no positive solution for me. If I stop and think, 'what do/did I actually feel?', then I realize maybe, hmm, I felt angry or maybe sad...and knowing what I really feel helps me first just to feel/express it without censorship, then to get a lot clearer on what I value and need, and how to resolve the distress and reach for the meeting of those values and needs.
However, I said at the outset that I was going to challenge you all on this point, and it seems I have succeeded in a useful way for some...and in a way deemed insulting to others. Well, that is the way of challenges; they can be useful to some people at some times, they can be seen as attack or an attempt to diminish another, by some different people. I like to be challenged in my thinking/perceptions of things, I find it helpful in general to my personal growth...tho if I'm really being challenged, it is seldom comfortable! And there are times that I am challenged on something, and I have to just reject it--because it really doesn't fit for me.
If my thoughts on this don't fit for some of you, I'm ok with that...I just hope it can be understood that I am offering something here that some might appreciate/accept and make use of, for their *own* benefit, not to make *me* feel good. And I am NOT trying to take anything away from anyone, diminish anyone's feelings or make decisions for anyone else about how they feel or speak.
Yes, the postpartum time is so...so much! Or it can be, what with the birth to process, the baby to greet, the milk coming in, the major hormone shifts, family stuff, etc...and all of this in a culture (for most of us) where pp women are NOT given the kind of tender loving care and time to rest that we really need. A lot of us don't even know we need it, and feel it is our personal failing when we don't feel so great, don't want to jump right back in with other kids/regular life, or have negative thoughts about our birth. We do too much...like moving furniture, for heaven's sake! and feel even more tired, etc.... anyway, as some others have said,
Justthatgirl, do please rest, relax, enjoy a babymoon! Honor your amazing, exceedingly intense work done so well so recently, restore yourself while getting to know that baby.
Sorry if this has been a highjack...and maybe if some want to continue this discussion, we could continue it via pm...or someone could post a new thread...I could move on now, or keep talking elsewhere if anyone else wants to.
thanks all for comments
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|I say, what *were* the actual feelings--and what *are* they now? Ok, I know, it hurt, it hurt a LOT, way too much. What were your emotions about that? Were you afraid that you couldn't take it, or afraid you might lose all control or even die? Did this make you angry, to be forced to feel so much pain? Were you sad to lose your hoped-for painless birth? Frustrated at how little you were able to reduce your experience of pain through learned birthing techniques? Did you feel resentment that your efforts to prepare had failed? I offer up these feeling words and possible explanations...believing that they are all quite valid and normal emotional responses by the way...not saying I know, just trying to imagine. And just trying to show what I mean by talking about the actual feelings involved instead of making use of a blanket term like 'traumatic'.|
|So, I submit to you that in a very real way, to say you feel 'traumatized' about your birth is a way to avoid talking straightforwardly about how you felt, and instead to define the experience with a word that is going to lead to beliefs and feelings. It is also a way to most definitely focus on what was 'wrong' and leave out what was 'right'--if you say it was traumatic, how can you or anyone believe there coulda been any good in it at all? Instead of the beliefs and feelings being stated more simply and down to earth, a potent and highly negative word is used that actually helps to shape the word-user's beliefs and feelings.|
Anyway, again, I understand what your concerns are certainly. But I feel that your words made those of us who declare our births to be traumatic feel as if you are dictating to us. I also felt that it was rather forward to deem yourself the "challenger" of our emotions. I mean this in a very non-snarky way, but who are you to feel that it's your right to challenge my feelings about my birth?
Talking about feelings...other people's feelings...is certainly a sensitive thing for most of us (me included! I mean, other people talking about mine). I can see what you mean, in my quotes--that I came on strong. And coming on strong with a sensitive topic can make for strong feeling reactions in those listening, can easily be interpreted in harsh ways, whatever the original intention. So--my bad in those places you quoted....ah, the wisdom of proof reading and careful editing! Which of course I didn't do that time
I will say that I get now that for me, 'trauma' is complex, a mix of various feelings/thoughts, something to unpack...I guess I did assume that that's a common understanding. To you, 'trauma' is a feeling, at least where your birth was concerned. I also would have done better, if instead of saying that using trauma is 'avoiding' talking about feelings, maybe something more like-- using that word is too 'shorthand'...that it might help to break it down and express it in its smaller parts (for those who agree that trauma is not a single emotion). Uh, maybe I'm just muddying here, hope you get me. Mainly just saying I see how I could have said things better...with greater sensitivity and less certitude.
Again, it was only an offering to consider--by those interested in considering...not an attempt to dictate. For you, it didn't fit. For some, there was some kernel of truth. I'm content with that.
As for who made me your challenger...? Me. Nobody. Life. That's up to you. You don't want to be challenged, blow me off entirely. I am not generally one to wait for permission...nobody told me I could UC (and there sure weren't support groups like this one, when I chose it), or breastfeed for extended periods, or or or a lot of things. I'm here, I have thoughts and feelings, I share them without asking permission. I'm not always trying to challenge people, but sometimes I do. It's not about anyone else, just a facet of me.
I appreciate you getting back to me to show me what bothered you specifically in my original post--it helps, always learning!
I cried for a long time about the scary parts of the birth for me. I was scared because it was so fast. I wanted him to be born for so long and then when the day came I realized I wasn't ready. And it hurt. It was too fast. Labor was too fast, pushing was too fast, I was scared. I was afraid of the pain. It wasn't the way dd's birth was, it wasn't bearable. Thomas came out so fast I didn't even get to process that he was crowning. He wasn't -- his head was already out. Then his body came out and I had a baby.
He has little burst capillaries on his head and it makes me sad because I know it's from the fast birth. I could not have changed anything, so I know it isn't my FAULT, but the "poor baby!" feelings are still there. That had to have been shocking for him to experience. (Birth in general would be for anyone, I think.)
I feel like someone took a baseball bat between my legs. The tears are healing nicely (they feel fine, anyway) but I'm scared of them. I'm afraid to feel them and to look at them to make sure they're healing well. In my mind they should not have happened. The birth was too fast and I wasn't ready. It was too fast and my skin didn't have time to respond the way it did w/ Rachel's birth.
It hurts. Not physically anymore, but inside me, emotionally. And I feel like my insides are all mashed up. Inside by abdominal cavity. Everything is misplaced. I feel like I'm going to lose an organ just walking to the bathroom. No, I don't feel like they'll fall out the bottom. I feel like they're flopping around in all the extra skin over my belly. If I lean forward you might see the imprint of a liver, a uterus, or an intestine. It sounds funny, I know, but it scares me.
Thomas is my little sidekick, my pal. He and I worked together and got through it. But it wasn't an easy or entirely pleasant experience for me and I can't imagine it was far different for him, either. Amazing, yes. But there were distinct parts that leave me very frightened.
I'm very shaken up by the whole experience. My feelings and emotions this entire pregnancy have been fearful. I'm not sure why, but I'm going to work through that, too, and figure it out.
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Just want to say that it might be that part of your feeling of fear/shakiness is what I think of as 'physically based'. This is in no way to minimize your feelings, only perhaps to provide some tools for understanding and healing. What I mean is, it's certainly true that in the first days/weeks following any birth, but especially following a fast birth and/or the birth of a biggish baby, the body IS unsettled, there IS some displacement/replacement/retoning/adjusting going on. Your body is having a reaction to this, homeostasis has been upset and is trying to be re-established--our bodies like and need homeostasis and do have a reaction to sudden changes. I'm saying it's very normal under these circumstances to feel both the physical and emotional elements of this in a strong way...even tho it's also true that the birth was totally 'normal/healthy', and there is no need to fear for yours, or baby's safety or ultimate recovery.
Just trying to affirm that while you take care of yourself emotionally, please know that your body was made to this work of birthing AND restoring itself so you need not fear actual dysfunction going on. At least, so far, I've not heard you say anything that makes me concerned about your physical ability to do that restoration perfectly normally. And I'm wanting you to understand that some part of your emotions of fear/upset has to do with physical elements that will reduce in time...this is not 'just' about beliefs and choices; the body does send real signals of distress that translate for us into fear, discomfort, being unsettled and upset. I think the more you rest and take time to nurture yourself *very gently*, the faster your body will make those normal adjustments to all that rapid, intense change--muscles will regain tone, organs will find their place again--those physical signals of distress will subside and with them your fear probably will, too.
Again, we live in a culture that simply does not in general respect the huge piece of physical, energetic, emotional and spiritual work that is pregnancy and especially birth. This is so much more of a problem for a woman like you, who had such a rapid and intense delivery and where there really IS more drain on resources than even a 'more usual' kind of birthing. You were not raised to think that a postpartum woman needs special care, lots of rest, etc, and perhaps with your other births you felt no special need for that. But this birth/pp time is what it is--right now, it is perfectly normal for you to need rest, gentleness, crying time, warmth, coziness in far greater measure than ever before.
Was this your first UC? If so--or if it was your first really totally challenging UC compared to others, there is probably another layer of emotional reaction going on as well. You have a lot to integrate right now! I'm curious about this...but it's another topic.
Do please ask for help around the house, take as much rest and quiet as feels right, and don't second guess your needs--just listen to em. Especially with that physical readjustment going on, you so need to be careful not to overdo it--and I"m telling you from experience and study both, it will not be at all hard to 'overdo it'. This perfectly normal and healthy period of physical adjustment/replacemnt/retoning can fairly rapidly become dysfunction and more discomfort (physical AND emotional) if you push your body and endurance too soon. Don't lift anything heavier than the baby. Lie down a lot, sit very little (this will help speed healing of perineum), and avoid being on your feet much at all. Stay warm and try to avoid getting cool/cold. Eat very well, drink plenty. Limit visits to only those you feel 100% relaxed with, and limit visit times from anyone--even sitting around laughing is an energy-use, tho of course there's no need to be lonely/isolated or anything! I guarantee you that the more rest/quiet you can get now, the quicker and more straightforward will be all the needed readjustments. And the less you get, the more likely for healing to be slower and for new issues to develop.
Sending warm cozy ease and light your way. This is a precious time in so many ways for you as a woman and a mom...listen to it, allow it, enjoy it, even the tears and fears.
I felt that way after Izzy was born. I was ready to transport when she literally came FLYING out of me in one contraction (without pushing!) but my feeling at the time was relief! I was so glad it was finally over. But I felt like Isabella didn't get a gentle birth and indeed she did not. The reasons for that were obvious when her placenta delivered so I had the ability to be OK with it. She had to be born that way to be safe. Since you don't have any concrete evidence that this was necessary, just rest in the knowledge that your body is very, very smart and that he was born just how he needed to be!
MsBlack, I do understand what you are saying! Thank you for the clarification. I think as it sometimes is when talking semantics we were missing each other in communication. Indeed, our definition of the word 'trauma' is different. I find it to be a clear word defining my experience of feeling bushwhacked.
I had mild PTSD for several months after the birth, mostly flashbacks. A few nightmares and some very scary and intense physical memories. It was not severe and it passed as I processed and dealt with the birth. I did not expect myself to get over it just because I did have a NCB and no one horribly disrespected me. It *was* a traumatic event for me and required a great deal of time, thought and patience to work through. Finally writing my birthstory meant I was finally ready to face the whole thing. Prior to that I was too upset by it to even consider thinking about it in its entirety at once.
Time, patience, and attention to the experience and its effects on you will help. You can't expect to be happy with it and feel fine so soon afterwards - it is a huge event in your life. I'm very happy that now I can think about the birth without feeling dread or fear. It's necessary for me to have worked through it as well since I'm due to give birth again in March. Let yourself have the time you need. It's okay to feel the way you do, and for it to take time for things to make sense and for you to feel acceptance for the birth.
I think it's words like "griping" that make me feel like I am being judged for my choice of how to view my birth. And I still find it facinating that I cannot both feel that the birth was incredibly difficult and also incredibly empowering. Just because I view my birth as something percieved as negative does not mean I cannot also see it as a positive, enlightening journey. I guess I just feel the tone of these posts is "buck up and quit your complaining"? Now *I* am the one who feels like she can't quite explain properly!
Since you don't have any concrete evidence that this was necessary, just rest in the knowledge that your body is very, very smart and that he was born just how he needed to be!
It's okay to feel the way you do, and for it to take time for things to make sense and for you to feel acceptance for the birth.
I tried to rest as much as possible today. Tomorrow will be the same.
I asked dh to please write the birth story from his point of view because I think it might help me process things a bit better. I'm interested to see his version.
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I had a very difficult labor with my UC baby. I felt both traumatized and empowered, ecstatic, confident about it. I wouldn't trade it for my much easier, midwife-assisted hospital natural birth any day. But come on people, it's not griping to tell the truth about our own freakin' births!
I'm having a hard time accepting that (bold). Like, I can't wrap my mind around that concept yet. But I agree w/ the part about the body being very smart and just knowing how to do just what needs to be done. So I know I'll get there, it's just a matter of time.
I think it was easier for me because when the placenta delivered, it was so obvious that she needed to be born as quickly as possible. That also happened to a friend of mine who suffered from "birth shock" from a very hard, fast labor like yourself. Her son was born with a 3X nuchal cord that was causing deep decels during pushing. It was also obvious to her that his birth was necessary. Just because it's not obvious, doesn't mean it wasn't necessary for him to be safe.
Just keep doing what you're doing and you will eventually get there. Time eases this a lot. As does the intense love for your child.
I, too, am doing well. I feel less rattled by the entire birth experience and have gone from feeling traumatized and shaken and unsure that I could handle it to feeling quite a bit like this:
You can also say, DAMN!!! That hurt!!! OMYFREAKINGGAWD I cannot BELIEVE how much that hurt!!! I was scared I woudn't make it through! I thought I was being torn apart!!!! You just don't KNOW how close I came to going for an epidural or whatever else the hospital wanted to do to me. Hell with those 'painless birth' LIARS, as IF! But I DID IT!!! I got through, I am AN AMAZON!!!! Who knew birth could hurt so much but I did it and I am a GODDESS! I am SO glad that is over now, I think I'll go get a heating pad and breathe through these afterpains cuz they hurt like a B**** too and you'd think I'd get a break by now but DAMN I'M GOOD! And wouldja LOOK at this gorgeous perfect baby and my breasts and all this MILK! I can do ANYTHING now...JEEEZO, I never even had a moment to think about it, did you SEE how fast that hellish labor became pushing and then the BABY was there!!!! WHeeeoooo! THought I was gonna lose it for SURE, but I DIDN'T! Oh my, give me a warm cuppa tea, more ibuprofin, another blanket --and go away now, I need some time to deal with this and besides there's this cute baby to love on right now....wow...
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Just my 2 cents worth, coming from someone who experianced a traumatic emergency C-section, and was brushed off afterwards.......Never tell someone/insinuate to someone what they did/didn't feel, should/shouldn't have felt....