getting over a disappointing birth experience - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 16 Old 07-24-2006, 03:59 PM - Thread Starter
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Any recommendations for resources and/or things to do to help yourself get over a disappointing birth experience?

I had a number of complications and ended up with an emergency C-section. Then DS was in the NICU, I couldn't hold/nurse him for quite a while, he got a ton of formula and we had a rough time getting bfing going.

Everything is OK now. I'm healing well and bfing is going well. However, although I'm glad and grateful that both DS and I are OK, I'm still doing a lot of over the birth and the immediate postpartum experience. I feel like I'm being a total suck about it all, although I know intellectually that it's normal to have intense emotions about one's birth experiences.

Any suggestions?

professor & maman de DS1 (6) & DS2 (1)

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#2 of 16 Old 07-24-2006, 05:46 PM
 
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Lots of hugs to you mama. Dealing with a baby after major surgery is not easy physically, and then there are the emotional aspects of birth not going as planned as well. I had an emergency c-s with my first and it was very traumatic for me. Being pregnant carries that risk, to some degree, and having the previous c-s has caused extra stress both subsequent times, although much less this time than last.

I would recommend talking to other women who have had similar experiences. I believe there is a cesarean support thread here, but a place I found a lot of healing in recent months is ICAN. There is an email list that is high volume, but full of women who have had difficulty getting through the emotional impact of cesarean birth. www.ican-online.org has the info for joining the mailing list whenever you are ready.

Don't bottle it up inside. Having a healthy baby is a wonderful thing, but it does not discount your very valid feelings about the birth outcome. This is an article that you might find helpful. Very validating of your feelings while still being grateful the baby is well. http://www.birthtruth.org/grateful.htm
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#3 of 16 Old 07-24-2006, 07:59 PM
 
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#4 of 16 Old 07-24-2006, 08:09 PM
 
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#5 of 16 Old 07-24-2006, 08:25 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kstsmith
Lots of hugs to you mama. Dealing with a baby after major surgery is not easy physically, and then there are the emotional aspects of birth not going as planned as well. I had an emergency c-s with my first and it was very traumatic for me. Being pregnant carries that risk, to some degree, and having the previous c-s has caused extra stress both subsequent times, although much less this time than last.

I would recommend talking to other women who have had similar experiences. I believe there is a cesarean support thread here, but a place I found a lot of healing in recent months is ICAN. There is an email list that is high volume, but full of women who have had difficulty getting through the emotional impact of cesarean birth. www.ican-online.org has the info for joining the mailing list whenever you are ready.

Don't bottle it up inside. Having a healthy baby is a wonderful thing, but it does not discount your very valid feelings about the birth outcome. This is an article that you might find helpful. Very validating of your feelings while still being grateful the baby is well. http://www.birthtruth.org/grateful.htm
:



Dealing with a c/s is very hard & a lot of people don't understand how you can be so disappointed when you have a healthy baby as the outcome, but know that you are not alone & it is a very real & traumatic experience that you will need time to heal from. ICAN has also been very helpful to me in dealing with my c/s & I am eagerly awaiting my VBAC. All of your feelings right now are completely valid & you should do whatever you need to do in order to properly grieve your lost birth experience. Surround yourself with people who are positive & supportive. I found that it really helped me to do research & learn a lot more about pregnancy & birth in order to a)understand that I really did everything I could for the health of my baby & b)to ensure that my next birth experience wouldn't be as traumatic. Most importantly, know that it will take time for you to heal & fully deal with the ordeal that you went through, but you will heal!!! Good luck momma!!!
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#6 of 16 Old 07-24-2006, 08:56 PM
 
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I'm so sorry. Although I can't even compare to that I spent the first week of Sam's life absolutely devastated about not being able to attempt my homebirth because he came early. It seems so silly to be so upset over something like that when he was healthy but it really was a loss.

Remember to let yourself grieve over the loss of the birth experience you wanted to have. Those feelings are so real and valid. And know you are not at all alone.
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#7 of 16 Old 07-24-2006, 09:33 PM
 
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Hugs Maria! I was also going to suggest ICAN...
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#8 of 16 Old 07-25-2006, 06:40 AM
 
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Glad to hear you're healing well and feeding is going well too. Give yourself the right to be upset about it... hugs
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#9 of 16 Old 07-25-2006, 08:50 AM
 
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I didn't have a c-section, but I had a lot of disappointment about this birth, and what has been really helpful is writing. I've been writing the birth story, but with lots of detours into all the what-ifs and could-have-beens, etc etc... I just ramble on a lot, and it's helped a lot.

I also have a few close friends who are either doulas or have had similar births, and they're really glad to just listen to me ramble or read my writing and discuss it. I've been doing a lot of that this week and it's really helped a lot - I see the birth a lot more positively overall.
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#10 of 16 Old 07-25-2006, 10:03 AM
 
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I didn't have a c-section, but a bad enough hospital birth to cause mild depression for many months. For me, healing involved going through every stage of the grieving process- guilt, anger, blame, everything. I also learned to tell people *exactly* how I felt about comments like "Well all that matters is you and the baby are healthy". Those are not encouraging, kind words when you are laying in bed shaking and sweating like a smack addict who hasn't had a hit in a week, you don't know where you are, and you are completely unable to care for your newborn child because you're so out of it. ( Ah yes the things they DON'T tell you about labor meds ) I really had to make an effort to respond to such comments with a calm but direct "This was a bad experience for ME. Please do not trivialize what happened to me."
I totally agree with pp's that a support group like ICAN would be beneficial to someone like you, and if you can't find a group perhaps seeking out a counselor for a while will help. I talked about my birth experience to everyone and anyone, even if they didn't listen. I just kept talking until I didn't feel the need to talk anymore. And then I was better
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#11 of 16 Old 07-25-2006, 05:54 PM
 
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Just wanted to add my support and to tell you that I empathise with what you are going through. PM me if you want to chat or even if you want to talk on the phone I'll give you my number! I feel numb like it hasn't hit me quite yet. I'm waiting for the wave to smack me.

mama to L (4) and G (1.5)
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#12 of 16 Old 07-25-2006, 06:16 PM
 
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#13 of 16 Old 07-25-2006, 09:24 PM
 
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Just to add my support and mention that I know two mothers who are experiencing/have experienced the very same thing, it's very real grief and loss you are feeling.

One of them takes particular care of herself with acupuncture and herbal antidepressant-type supplements as well. I encourage you to take extra special care of yourself with massages and other luxuries or healthcare you can provide for yourself. Know that you did a very hard thing, made the right choice, and do your best with just this moment, and take a deep breath into NOW.
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#14 of 16 Old 07-26-2006, 03:58 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks, everyone. I have been following some of the suggestions; they are helpful.

April, I just tried to PM this to you, but your inbox is full, so hopefully you'll see this:

Quote:
Originally Posted by lotus.blossom
Just wanted to add my support and to tell you that I empathise with what you are going through. PM me if you want to chat or even if you want to talk on the phone I'll give you my number! I feel numb like it hasn't hit me quite yet. I'm waiting for the wave to smack me.
Thanks. When I read your birth announcement, it sounded like you had a similar experience. I would love to chat. Phone is a great idea. (I don't have much computer time these days because I have a tough time nak. I use a standing desk and haven't totally mastered the nursing-in-sling position yet!)

Hope you and Lochlan are well!

Best,
M

professor & maman de DS1 (6) & DS2 (1)

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#15 of 16 Old 07-29-2006, 03:44 PM
 
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hugs to you mamma
one other way of might be to post your whole birth story on the Birth Stories forum ........a good way to try to digest what happened .........
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#16 of 16 Old 07-29-2006, 04:09 PM
 
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It's been almost six years since my first daughter's birth which was disapointing, frightening, traumatic, out of control, so very very far from my hopes and expectations of what birth would look like. Like yours, it ended in c-section. Since I have the gift of perspective now, I will say that from the view here, the healing and forgiveness came with time. There are good things to do as you are grieving - talking, writing, connecting with moms going through the same experience, or moms who are now on the other side of the grief. Self care - which can be difficult to say the least with a newborn - can help immensely too.

Remember, you are also in the midst of a hormonal stew, where emotions run rampant and are looking for anything negative as an anchor. A negative birth experience is easy prey for those fluctuating emotions. That is not meant to dismiss or downplay the very real pain you are suffering - just to say - Hang on....it will get a little bit better once the post-partum period settles, and you can more easily navigate the work of greiving. Not to say it won't still hurt, but the intensity may recede a bit.

You did the best you possibly could have done - and it simply wasn't enough to surmount the obstacles. I hope you can find some peace and forgiveness over time. I felt like I had to forgive my body for failing me.

crying baby - would like to say more, but gotta go. be gentle with yourself and give yourself permission to mourn.
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