When people don't want to hear your story - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 12 Old 02-08-2011, 11:08 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I had an urgent c-section at 28 weeks due to pregnancy complications that endangered my life and the life of my baby.  Delivery was pretty scary for everyone involved, I was in surgery for several hours and had to have several units of blood.  And of course my sweet baby (who is doing well) was a preemie and in the NICU for several months. 

 

Now that I want to talk about this really intense experience, I'm finding I don't really have anyone to talk to.  My family is still understandably pretty traumatized and don't want to think about what happened.  Friends tend to minimize (oh, everything would have turned out okay no matter what,), or compare (I really don't want to hear that my pregnancy and birth was like that of someone who had an uneventful natural childbirth and delivered a healthy full-term baby), or offer unwanted advice (next time maybe you should get acupuncture, go vegan, be less stressed).

 

Has anyone successfully addressed this with friends or family?  I don't want to be harsh with people who have been supportive in other ways, so I find myself just changing the subject, but that means I don't get to talk about what happened.

 

I'm not opposed to therapy or support groups, but I think that's not what I'm really looking for right now.  I just want to be able to talk honestly and openly with people I know.

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#2 of 12 Old 02-08-2011, 06:09 PM
 
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I'm sorry you aren't getting the support you need. I've never had a preemie, but my SIL had an emergency section at 24 weeks and she was and still is very traumatized by it. Sometimes I think it's hard for family members to be totally understanding because they hate the idea of you or your child being in danger, and so they try to minimize the situation. I know my SIL has a great group of other preemie moms who can actually relate to her trauma and understand what she's going through. She also saw a psychiatrist who diagnosed her with PTSD. I strongly suggest you find a support group. I think it's very hard for people who haven't had a preemie to understand just how traumatizing it is. You need the support of mamas who have btdt, who can truly relate to your feelings. I'm not sure if you know, but there is a preemie forum here on mothering. I hope you find good support so you can start to heal.

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#3 of 12 Old 02-08-2011, 09:28 PM
 
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I'm so sorry that not only did you have the trauma of an early and rough c/s, but also the months of stress caring for a babe in NICU. Although I had a traumatic birth (complete with transfusion), I did not have newborn issues to contend with.

I have also found that people don't want to hear "bad" birth stories. For most people, when they find out I lost 3 liters of blood and nearly died they change the subject quickly...like "does baby look more like you or DH?" or "glad that's over, eh? More kids in your future?" eyesroll.gif

It is very hard to get people to listen unless they, too, have had a trauma or are genuinely interested in birth. For everyone else they want storks, roses, and funny baby faces. They simply don't know how to deal with blood, pain, fear, and trauma. So they don't want to listen. They also know they can't change the past, and listening can be hard for loved ones who would do anything to spare you that experience.

That doesn't make it alright not to listen. Every time I talk about what happened, my remaining fear, regret, sadness and stress ease just a little. I second making a dedicated effort to find sympathetic ears. Write your thoughts for us here at MDC, find a support group for c/s moms, preme moms, or traumatic birth, or even hire a therapist. I haven't kept a journal since college, but started again after my traumatic birth as a way of telling my issues to somebody, even though nobody but me will ever read it. As for friends and family, I guess I content myself with small bits of the story that I can share before they change. I don't feel up to forcing them to listen. I did ask DH to read my birth story after I wrote it, because he couldn't listen but I wanted him to know why I was having so many issues. It helped for me to know that he knew what I had gone through.

I hope you find an outlet for your voice, and I am glad that in the end you ended up with a babe safe in your arms at home.
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#4 of 12 Old 02-08-2011, 09:57 PM
 
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Our oldest son has Down Syndrome.  We found this out when he was two and a half months old.  It was life changing for us, and we were really going through a lot.  We needed a lot of support, and it was hard to find the right kind.  We found that the closer a person was to Charlie and our family, the less helpful they were.  I realized later that people like my parents were going through their own grief and the ways they were dealing with it was so not helpful for us, like minimizing the significance of having a child with a sever disability.  It's not that they were unwilling to be there for us, it was just that they were dealing with a lot of their own emotions regarding the situation.

 

This is of course nothing at all like you are going through, but you mentioned the delivery and aftermath was traumatic not only for you, but for the people from whom you are hoping to gain support.  I found that the best people to talk to, aside from professional counselors which I have also done, is to talk to other moms and dads who have been through the same thing.  Maybe a support group.  Can you call the NICU your child was at for info about such a group?  Or, there is always here.

 

It sounds really scary, what you went through.  It is good to be ready to talk through it.


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#5 of 12 Old 02-09-2011, 09:46 AM
 
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Would you consider blogging?? If you have facebook, I have people I could connect you with!! I think March of Dimes has message boards too.

 

Unfortunately, not many people really care about what a mom goes through. They insist that pregnancy and birth are romantic and wonderful. We just have to find where we can safely go to share our stories and our thoughts. I think ALL stories and moms should be supported, but, my fantasies are usually inaccurate. If you need an ear, I'm more than willing!! ((hugs))


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#6 of 12 Old 02-09-2011, 11:08 AM
 
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I'm so sorry that happened to you. Trauma is the right word. My twins were born via emergency c/s at 34 weeks because one's life was in danger and then we spent several weeks in the NICU. That was 2 years ago and I am still working on my feelings about it. And I was healthy, so I didn't even have that part to deal with.

I think part of the reason its hard for people to talk with you about it that you just can't understand what any of that is like if you haven't been through it yourself. That makes even supportive friends feel kind of awkward and uncomfortable.

The blogging idea is great, especially if you connect with other women who are going through similar healing. I'm sure some women here or on the preemie board would come give support, and if you google "preemie forum" or "preemie blog" you will be able to search out other in a similar position. If you just need to get some of it out, journaling or even individual therapy would probably be the best outlet for you right now.
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#7 of 12 Old 02-09-2011, 05:53 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks ladies-for your kind thoughts and suggestions.  I am going to try to find some outlet to talk to people with similar experiences.  I think this has been hard partly because it is the people I expected the most of that have been the least helpful.  I thought when I was pregnant that I was becoming part of a community of natural minded women/moms, but it seems like those are the people least able to listen to my experience.  I started my pregnancy as a super healthy anti-medical person.  I had planned to deliver with a midwife and was really afraid of hospitals and doctors.  I ended up in the hospital for a couple weeks, delivered with a high risk OB, and have a baby who has probably had more medical care in her first months of life than my partner and I have had in our entire lives.  So obviously all that was jarring, but even more so because my midwife ended up being really emotionally unsupportive (my partner is furious at her and can barely stand to hear her name), while the male OB, who I was so scared of, sat with me multiple times in the hospital while I cried and has continued to check up on me and my baby.  My friends without children have been better listeners than my mom friends who I had really expected to bond with over this birth.  The whole experience has just been very confusing.


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#8 of 12 Old 02-09-2011, 07:50 PM
 
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Sorry I haven't read all the replies-- My husband and mom were the only people at my DS's birth, and it was so hard when neither of them really wanted to talk about it afterwords. It was only until months after words that I confronted my husband about it, and told him that I needed to talk about it. 


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#9 of 12 Old 02-25-2011, 08:06 AM
 
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Maryeliz,

 

A big hug to you. Yours sounds like an incredibly harrowing experience and I am so sorry that you went through that. I wish I had a positive answer for you on how to communicate with your friends and family. I want to offer my sympathy regardless.

 

I had a very difficult birth 12 weeks ago and I am just beginning to process what we went through. Thankfully, Dh is a very supportive birth partner and when I felt like maybe I was talking his ear off about the birth he assured me that the his role as "birth partner" does not stop after the birth is complete.

 

I have a healthy beautiful baby who is a dream to care for--he never cries, falls to sleep in an instant and sleeps for 8-10 hours--straight--each night. He has the most incredible deep belly laugh and eyes the color of caribbean seas.  I relish and cherish and give thanks for the health and happiness of my son several times a day. I adore him.

 

But I am barely able to speak of  the birth without tears. I had a very rare uterine abnormality that few people have seen or even heard of --including OB's and midwives. This lead to an awful labor and a cesarean birth that was life-saving. The idea of what could have happened, that we were very close to serious injury or death is too terrifying for me to even talk about and what did occur was hard. I feel like I went through a near-death experience. I feel like, in many ways, a completely different person.

 

What is hard for me is that the rest of my family acts as though nothing happened. No one asks how I am doing and if I bring it up people are clearly very uncomfortable and it immediately turns to how thankful i should be. I am.  But that has nothing to do with my feelings leftover from going through a  traumatic experience. It was a soul-jarring and scary and profoundly life-changing.

 

A very close family member asked me not to talk about it in front of his fiance because it was scaring her out of wanting to have kids. - 3 days after the birth- I was barely off the anesthesia for goodness sake...It is terribly hurtful and leaves us feeling out in the cold to be put of by those closest to us.

 

I do think you should seek a support group if you feel you need it...but being on here is a good start. I care how this went for you, I appreciate your experience because it will forever be a gigantic part of your life. I am sorry that those closest to you can't move beyond themselves and see that you need comfort.

 

I am personally coming to terms with the fact that this is a deeply personal experience and that perhaps the only thing that will bring me healing and closure is my own heart and mind. I am trying to do some soul-searching to find some of the understanding and compassion I need within myself.

 

Peace and healing to you!

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#10 of 12 Old 03-29-2011, 10:56 AM
 
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I'm sorry to hear of your experience. I can relate. I was going for a natural VBAC with my second and after 30 hours of labor I had an emergency c-section due to rupture and almost lost my baby and life. I went through just what you are experiencing but a little delayed. In the beginning I was just SO grateful to have my baby with me that I couldn't think of anything else and wouldn't let go of him once he was finally put in my arms.

 

Once I was home for a while I started really mourning the loss of never experiencing a natural birth and my experience in general and potentially not being able to have another child etc. I had a really hard time with peoples reactions. I got a lot of "oh, but you have a beautiful baby, nothing else matters" and "now you have your two, you can be done". I know they were trying to be nice but it just made me feel worse, like I was being selfish for feeling bad about it all and wanting more children. Honestly, every time I tried to discuss it with others I would just feel worse and alienate myself more from my mom's group (who mostly all have had natural perfect births) so I just stopped talking about it with them for a long time. I would cry inside every time I heard someone talk about their great birth experiences because I wanted it So badly, but I wouldn't discuss mine anymore. For me, time and an online support group of women who experienced similar births as me was the only thing that allowed me to heal.

 

It's been almost 2 years for me and I can now have discussions with people without getting overwhelmed emotionally. I know that's not what you want to hear but I was searching for the same thing as you back then and came to the realization that it wasn't going to be possible because I was just making myself feel worse about it. If there are people who continue to say things to you that hurt you could maybe have 1 friend or family member tell others what you're going through emotionally with it?


Kim - Mama to my two beautiful babes DD 05/2007 & DS 05/2009
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#11 of 12 Old 07-08-2011, 10:18 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by maryeliz View Post

Thanks ladies-for your kind thoughts and suggestions.  I am going to try to find some outlet to talk to people with similar experiences.  I think this has been hard partly because it is the people I expected the most of that have been the least helpful.  I thought when I was pregnant that I was becoming part of a community of natural minded women/moms, but it seems like those are the people least able to listen to my experience.  I started my pregnancy as a super healthy anti-medical person.  I had planned to deliver with a midwife and was really afraid of hospitals and doctors.  I ended up in the hospital for a couple weeks, delivered with a high risk OB, and have a baby who has probably had more medical care in her first months of life than my partner and I have had in our entire lives.  So obviously all that was jarring, but even more so because my midwife ended up being really emotionally unsupportive (my partner is furious at her and can barely stand to hear her name), while the male OB, who I was so scared of, sat with me multiple times in the hospital while I cried and has continued to check up on me and my baby.  My friends without children have been better listeners than my mom friends who I had really expected to bond with over this birth.  The whole experience has just been very confusing.



 

hi there, I have not had a preemie, but I can really relate to what you wrote here and int he original post. i had a c-section as well, but post dates, and it was extremely traumatic and then they thought my dd had  ablood infection...there are  alot of details missing but, i was also anti-medical, natural and excited to join a community of natural mamas. The mamas brought me many meals, but all in all the "natura; birthing" community ahd a really hard time eharing my story, also I cannot really honestly go into it as i felt betrayed by some things my mw did and she is friends with all my friends. She was very unsupprotive during labour, but postopartum when I was dealing with PTSD she was there for me several times, but I have never been able to talk with her about what happened...ah my story is more complicate dthan all this, I guess I comiserate with people not wanting/being able to hear, feeling alone with it, and not sure how to proecss given you have no one to talk to

 


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#12 of 12 Old 07-11-2011, 03:10 PM
 
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I've often thought, reading posts on this site, of the vast array of reactions we women have to our births, traumatic or otherwise.  Today is my LO's first birthday, and I've been working so hard on thinking AT ALL about what happened.  (Short version, emergency c/s with a male ob whom I was also terrified of, then a diagnosis of Down syndrome. Hi 47Chromosomes!)  The overwhelming response on my part has been murderous anger at the hospital for forcing that doctor on me.  He had the decency, at the very least, to never speak to me during the surgery or afterwards.  I gotta say, if he'd come around later and I'd had a gun, I would have shot him.  He did nothing wrong, but that's how I feel.  To me he was simply the new version of the male pediatrician who sexually assaulted me, and I don't think I will get over that perception--every male dr. is that man.  Dealing with the diagnosis should have been the great challenge, but all I could think of was that I swore I'd never let one of them touch me again, and then I had to do it anyway.  Well, enough of that.  My most sweet and precious guy is 1 today, and he makes everything good for me.  [Tearing up a bit.]

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