I think I'm developing a birth phobia - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 5 Old 12-14-2008, 04:55 PM - Thread Starter
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Not sure if this should be in Birth and Beyond, Spirituality or here...

I've always wanted lots of children. I come from a family of six--'quiverfull', I suppose, although we didn't use the term--and for a long time was vaguely anti-birth control for religious reasons, although my stance on that has softened somewhat after doing more research. DH and I had our first baby eight months ago... and now I'm terrified of having another one.

Rowan's birth was intended to be a home waterbirth, and turned into a hospital induction due to pre-eclampsia. It could have been a lot worse, technically. They gave me prostoglandin gel and later used AROM, but I didn't have Pitocin. I was racing the clock, though, and it was only the fact that I outwardly seemed to be calm and coping that my midwife let me labour as long as I did without giving me the drugs.

I hated being in the hospital (which incidentally was a construction zone, so there were chainsaws whining and piles of lumber lying around); when the nurse told me I'd have to stay and be induced, I waited until she was out of the room and sobbed my heart out into DH's jacket. After all that research of wanting an empowered birth at home, I felt vulnerable and lonely and scared.

After Rowan was born, my cervix clamped down over the placenta so it couldn't be born, and I ended up having something horrible done with forceps to remove it--a vastly preferable alternative to leaving my newborn to go into surgery, which nearly happened!

DH and I were both shaken by how the birth had turned out. It sounds trite, but I was simply thrown by how much pain there was! I'd been focussing too much on the Homebirth Experience, so when that was taken away I felt pretty lost; and not focussing enough on the fact that it was going to hurt, which it did. A lot. I spent a few hours hating myself for wanting to ask for an epidural, while my midwife was commenting on how calm and 'together' I was. I ended up asking for pain relief and using gas, but being kind of out of it by that point I used it wrong. (It was hilarious in hindsight--I'd suck on the gas for a second or two, then think 'Whoa, I'm feeling a little light-headed, better stop!' It didn't occur to me that I was supposed to feel light-headed, that that was the whole point!). So I didn't actually have any pain relief, but I did have the 'I failed at being natural' guilt.

Anyway. Fast-forward eight months. Rowan is a delightful baby who we adore--not high needs, great feeder, beautiful, the whole biz. (See?) And DH has started to mention having another baby--not right now, but pretty soon. He says, and I agree, that we should TTC before Rowan's too old, so that the children will be close enough in age to be good friends while they're small. (He and I both have close-in-age siblings and love it).

The trouble is, I'm terrified. I didn't particularly like pregnancy with Rowan--pelvic girdle pain, morning sickness, the constant tiredness--and feel distinctly ill at ease at the thought of doing it again with a toddler to boot! But it's mostly the birth I'm scared of. Frankly, I think I've read too many birth horror stories. I keep thinking that as unpleasant as my birth was, there were a lot of bullets I dodged, which I might not dodge next time. What if I tore? Got hemmorhoids? Had pre-eclampsia again and had to have Pitocin? Worst of all, a C-section? I think a C-section would break me. Even 'little' things, like getting worse stretch marks than I have already, freak me out far more than they should. I've never been good about accepting my body or changes to it, and the thought of having it outside my control again scares me.

So... any advice? I do want to have more children--more biological children, definitely. And a small part of me even wants to birth again, to 'do it right'. But I keep having vaguely nightmarish flashbacks to the hideous fluorescent-lit beige gloom of the birthing suites, and the weird paradox of just wanting the contractions to stop while the midwife wanted them to intensify, and the sickening smell of lavender oil... I was allowed to labour in the tub for about an hour, but the midwife accidentally tipped in about a teaspoon of lavender oil and it made me nauseated--I think it's put me off the smell for life! I couldn't sleep last night because I was imagining being in early labour, and knowing that I'd suddenly remember the pain. Not that I've forgotten, but I've forgotten the specifics of it, KWIM? And my mother always says that as soon as you feel the first twinges of labour, you go 'Oh, that's right'.

So what do I do? Rowan's almost nine months... it terrifies me to think we could be TTC in six months or a year! I feel like I'm running out of time to just be me again, with my body my own (more or less!). I feel like I've only recently got back on track after Rowan's birth in terms of housework and so on, and that's because she's a good baby-I even spend hours panicking about whether our next baby would be colicky or high-needs or allergic to peanuts or something! I want to get over this. I want to want to have more children. A lot of the Christian quiverfull-type resources have a rather hard-bitten 'Just suck it up and offer your body as a sacrifice to God' attitude, which while theologically sound is hardly helpful on the how. Anyone BTDT? I'm rapidly developing a mental THING about the subject--even minor annoyances, like people wanting to touch my baby bump, or constantly asking 'When are you due?' week after week, are making me freak out and think 'I do NOT want to go through that again!'

Well, thanks for reading my novel! Here's another photo of Rowan to cheer me up. She's lovely, no? See, it seems so churlish not to want another baby when I love Rowan so much, and consider all the pain and indignity worth it... gah.

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#2 of 5 Old 12-14-2008, 05:01 PM
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I do understand having a traumatic birth experience as I had one with my son.

I would say that there is no rush. Let your DH know how you are feeling. Take some time to grieve over what was lost. It look me a long time before I was able to even talk of my son's birth. Only when you feel ready, you should TTC. There is no set age range for siblings to be friends. I am great friends with my younger sibling who is 15 years younger.

I will say that it helps to talk about it. I have been attending a homebirth support group meeting (our next will be a homebirth) and it helps to talk about my son's birth.

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#3 of 5 Old 12-14-2008, 07:18 PM
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I think as time goes bye your feelings will soften. I had a relatively untraumatic birth with DS, but still not the natural birth I had desired with the doula I had chosen. Still it left me feeling uneasy (I avoided the birth board here for months...) Around the one year mark everything started to feel worse... and then it was gone. Now, at 15 months I can envision TTC again (and am getting baby hungry.)

My bff had a TERRIBLY traumatic birth. Forceps delivery in the OR after 35 hours of labour and many scares with the baby. She told me at 18 months that she was finally to the point where getting pregnant again wouldn't be TERRIBLE. She's not planning on TTC again until her DS is at least 5.

Everyone is different, but it's very likely that at some point you'll feel better about TTC. Even if you do TTC, there is no guarantee your children will be friend, and there's no reason why they can't be even a few years apart.

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#4 of 5 Old 12-15-2008, 03:04 PM
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Your DD is beautiful!

So after reading that, all I can say is you don’t sound ready at all. I think you need to relax and just enjoy not being pregnant! You know you want more kids and you are all for that so why the rush when you obviously don’t want to be pregnant?

I understand wanting to have your children close together but maybe it wasn’t meant to be for you? Maybe your body is trying to give you a hint that it’s not ready.

Have you read Birthing from Within? There are a few activities that you might benefit from next time you are pregnant.

I think you should just wait on TTC until you feel ready. If you don’t want to be pregnant than CTA or use another form of birth control if your religion allows it. You DD is still really young (not even a year yet). Just give it time and I’m sure you will start to feel ready soon.
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#5 of 5 Old 12-16-2008, 12:29 PM
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Hi Smokering,

I'm moving this thread to the Healing Birth Trauma forum, where you should find many women like yourself healing from past births and looking toward the future. Good luck!

Mi vida loca: full-time WOHM, frugalista, foodie wannabe, 10+ years of TCOYF 


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