I had a very long and harrowing homebirth a year ago with my second child (he was 10 lbs, asynclitic, double-corded, and suffered a shoulder dystocia as he was being born that was very scary and resulted in the paramedics being called in). I suffered PTSD symptoms for months after the birth, but with a very supportive partner, I've been feeling much better and I feel like I've made my peace with what happened as much as I can.
My mother was not present at the birth, but was in the house taking care of my first child, and she was quite traumatized by the experience. Ever since she has been adamant that she does not want me to have any more children. In fact, she nearly fainted recently when she thought that my sister was about to announce that she was pregnant.
The thing is, at first I felt that I didn't want to have any more children either, but now my partner and I have been talking about it, and we would like to have a third child. I know it's our decision. But the hardest thing for me is thinking about telling my mom. I already feel so bad for causing her so much pain, and I can't imagine how difficult she would find it if I was pregnant again.
Is anyone else dealing with your loved ones' reactions to your traumatic birth experience?
I have a couple of thoughts. My second son's birth was traumatic and he died 12 hours after. I lost a lot of blood and my family was scared for my safety as well. I'm sure my parents were worried all through my third pregnancy but they did a good job of not letting it show too much. DH and I had enough worries of our own to get through and went to counseling to help.
As you say, it's not her decision and also know that you aren't responsible for her feelings (I'm sure you know that, too, but keep reminding yourself). You might try suggesting to her that she has PTSD from the experience and should seek counseling to work through it. You can try to soften it for her if you do have another but you can't make it easy for her unless she is willing to deal with her own fears.
Best of luck and glad to know you're feeling better.
But, there's no reason to believe that this complication would re-occur and a birth down the line might be a very healing process for you.
my family was quite worried that i wanted another child. my first was only a little traumatic - pre-e, induced, 3 hours pushing, hemorrhaged, c/s. actually it sounds more traumatic when i put it that way! in any case, we knew every pregnancy and birth is different. we also knew it could turn out the same. in our case, it did - i had pre-e again. but we were mentally prepared for what might happen and it was really a positive birth experience the second time *even though the medical emergency was the same*.
mindset can make a huge difference.
every pregnancy is different.
every birth is different.
chances are, you WON'T repeat your bad experience.
if you want to have another child, have another child. your mom will need reassurance, probably reassurance about how you're prepared for challenges, what you might do differently, or how unlikely it is that you'll have a repeat. remind her that the vast majority of birth experiences aren't like the ones you had. you'll probably have to remind her more than once, but that is because she cares about you and doesnt' want anythign to happen to her baby!
My DH has been very good about helping me process my birth feelings, but is now adamant that we are done with children. He says he can't stand the thought of losing me, and can't go through the experience (birthing) again. I would like another and hope time will heal his fear.
My mother sat me down about three months PP and said "the next one will be in a hospital.". I was sort of surprised because she isn't normally a tell you what to do parent. I said something like I would most likely do that and she said "no, not maybe or likely, will. Home birth isn't worth your life."
My father also made a comment about maybe not having more kids because it isn't worth dying for.
So basically the men in the family think I scared them too much to ever do childbirth again, and my mom thinks it would only be okay if I did it in the full medical model of care. I am conflicted because I think my hemorrhage was maybe preventable, and might not reoccur, but obviously I'm terrified of a repeat trauma. So if I can get DH on board, we would have to talk about birthing options.
In the end you simply cannot make your decision based on your mother's fears. If I were you, you might ask what would make another childbirth easier on her. Maybe a birth center or hospital birth? Maybe not being at the birth and just getting a call afterward? What makes you feel most comfortable and safe? How much weight are you willing to give her fears?
Now that I'm a mom, I know why our mother's are so protective of us. I sometimes feel my heart race when my DD tries a new climber on the playground because I worry she will fall. How much harder it must be for a mom to watch a daughter have a traumatic birth and feel powerless to prevent it.
Thank you very much, everyone. It means a lot to hear about other moms' experiences, and thank you for the reminders that the next experience could be quite different. I definitely need to wait a few more years before trying for another child, but at that time I'll have a good talk with my mother about it, and I'll make sure that she is as far away from the birth as possible, and only hears about it after the fact. (I have tried to talk to her about PTSD, but she doesn't like for me to bring it up.) As much as I support homebirth, though, this time I would have to go to the hospital. I'll just never, ever be able to forget the paralyzing fear that the paramedics were not going to arrive in time. I think that would help my family feel a little better about it.
Cheshire, I'm so sorry to hear about your loss and the scare for your own life, too. What a terrible thing to go through. I'm so glad to hear that everything went well the third time.
Lunarlady, your situation does sound really, really similar to mine. I think I skimmed over my husband's reaction in the initial post, it was actually a lot like your husband's, but in the end he said that he would support whatever I wanted to do. My mother is also not usually one to tell me what to do. But after my son was born, she was adamant that she could never go through that again. And my aunt (her sister) told me that I would never be able to have any more because my mom wouldn't survive it. :( I must admit, I have found it really hard to deal with other peoples' feelings when I'm struggling with my own experience.
Did anyone find counselling helpful? I don't think I'll be able to try again without talking to someone first (I was so relaxed through my first two pregnancies, and felt confident that I could handle whatever happened, but now I'm worried that I would spend a third pregnancy in a state of anxiety). However, I've been reluctant to do that because I saw a counsellor for a little while in my teens (to deal with sexual abuse), but I found that it made me feel worse.