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radiogal 04-16-2012 02:08 AM

I feel like I was lied to about natural childbirth.  I know, I know, no one ACTUALLY lied to me, they were all just speaking from their own experiences….but somehow, for me, what I chose to listen to, to latch on to, to accept as truth, misguided me into thinking that the process of labor would be easier than it actually was.  I felt betrayed when I got into it, and realized that no amount of relaxation techniques, breathing exercises or calling it “pressure” instead of “pain” would make this insane level of pain go away.


I read Ina May Gaskin’s book ‘Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth’, which was filled with all these ‘positive’ birth stories in which no one ever mentioned the pain.  They talked about the intensity, the pressure, the depth of the transition – and I think they purposefully avoided the word pain.  And maybe these women really didn’t experience pain, which is just fine for them, but reading their stories made me think that I could be one of them, I could have one of those miraculous childbirths without much pain.

Other things that made me think that maybe I could beat the odds and have a labor that was not excruciatingly painful:

-a doula friend who said she “loved labor”

-another doula who taught the pain management class I took, who said that if you put both of her labors back to back, and stretched them out to last two months, it would not be as painful as the toothache she recently had

-a friend who told me that she’s had headaches that were worse than her labor pain

-being present at my sister’s labor, in which she did seem to be in pain, but not that much pain – and immediately after the baby was born she said ‘Let’s have another one’

-a friend who had a four hour labor, and whose partner told me that he had heard that women who get Mayan Abdominal massage during late pregnancy have shorter labors (I got Mayan Abdominal massage)

-the pain management class I took, in which the holding of an ice cube for a minute or two was pretty easy, and I felt over-confident afterwards about my ability to handle pain


I prepared for labor in every way imaginable, and was almost cocky about my ability to handle it….pre-natal yoga, pre-natal bellydance, chiropractic sessions to open my pelvis, acupuncture, massage, Mayan abdominal massage, watsu water therapy, all the birth-prep classes, ‘birthing from within’, hypnobirthing, swimming lessons to build endurance…….you name it, any birth-prep thing you can think of, I probably did it.


But when I got into it, right from the start I hated it, I hated the pain, I wanted the pain to go away, I tried the techniques and the pain was still there.  And the thing that made me so ashamed, the thing that I am still holding onto, the shame of it, was when the contractions were right on top of one another (about 18 hours in), I could only hear one thing: the baby’s heartbeat on the monitor, and somehow I associated the heartbeat with the contractions, and I wanted it to stop – even if my baby died, I didn’t care, I just wanted it to stop.  Which of course was stupid – looking back on it, I know it was stupid, even if the baby died I would still have to push her out……and when I finally got past that point, and I did push her out, and they handed me this perfect, beautiful miracle, and she looked up at me with those wide eyes, I felt like she knew….like she knew that I was willing to give up on her and let her die --- I felt so ashamed for that, felt like ‘how could I ever have thought about giving up on you, I would never, ever ever give up on you, I would do anything for you baby’….but I felt like she knew me, and that she was disappointed in me. “Mom, how could you do that to me?  You should have induced labor sooner, I was really hungry inside, I wanted to get out sooner, to get to your breastmilk….and how could you think about giving up on me?  Mom how could you do that?  Don’t you know that I’m depending on you?  I NEED you mama!  How could you ever give up on me??”


All that, I read in her first look…..and it was that shame, that horrible feeling of shame, that has brought me to tears every time I think about labor, about giving birth to her.


I wish I didn’t feel this way about my labor.  I love my daughter so much.  Every time I look at her little face, watch her chest going up and down with each breath, see her little hands moving, I just feel such overwhelming love and joy……I am so lucky to have her.  How could I have ever felt like giving up?  How could I have been so horrible as to wish that she would die instead of me?  If I had to die to bring her out of me, then yes, I would do it.  NOW I say that.  But how could I not have felt that way at the time?  What kind of horrible person would wish that her child would die instead of her?  I have no justification for that.  But I didn’t KNOW her then….I only knew that there was a baby inside me, she wasn’t a real person to me yet……still, it doesn’t justify feeling like I did during labor.  And when I held her, when I looked into her eyes, oh I was so ashamed for thinking that thought during labor.


Am I the only one that has had this experience in labor?  I don’t feel any symptoms of post-partum depression, I just don’t want to think about my labor because it makes me cry to remember how I let her down by thinking that I didn’t care if she died.  Because I DO care, and I would never ever ever let that happen…… I hate it that I had that thought during labor.

motherhendoula 04-16-2012 06:01 AM

We all say and do things in the throws of labor that range from out of character to downright obscene.  My last LO - born at home, into a puddle of meconium, didnt start breathing right away, i held him, my MW said 'talk to your baby' i told him i felt very bad for him because he had a terrible mother who screamed too much.  (i screamed through the last hours of what was for me, a short and intense labor)   Not exactly the first words i wanted my son to hear from me....

When my first baby was born, i remember waking up the next morning in the birth center right next to her - she was staring at me with these light blue eyes,  and she seemed to know instinctively that i was a first time mother who knew NOTHING about caring for a child.   She seemed to be glaring at me! 

It sounds like you felt that if you spent all your time preparing for labor, and getting ready for it - it would go very smoothly and wouldnt hurt at all.   In the middle of that pain, you resented the fact that you worked very hard to NOT have this level of pain - and all your work became meaningless. 

i think you need to focus on the reality that your DD doesnt really know what you were thinking or feeling in labor - and what counts to her is how you treat her now.  Cut yourself a little slack on this one...

MoreBeans 04-16-2012 04:45 PM


First, unless people prefaced their statements with “for me” or “in many instances,” you were pretty much lied to. That’s what I’ve concluded about all of the terrible and irrelevant advice I received about labor and what people insist on describing as “recovery.” Maybe that sounds harsh, but there’s no other way for me to make sense of what I was told. And I too was absolutely convinced I could manage an intervention-free labor, but there was nothing in my books about my unique physiology or my ridiculously long, posterior baby with an enormous head. Maddening, burning, bone-crunching hip pain with tripled contractions? No one mentioned that, either. Second, labor is stressful. Hospitalization is stressful. Everyone manages, copes with, or succumbs to stress in ways that we are not always proud of. You may have read you baby’s face as an indictment of your thoughts and actions, but there’s no way that your minutes-old baby was capable of critiquing your feelings in such a manor. Mine just came out looking really confused.


Also, you can’t possibly be the only one who’s had such thoughts in labor, but women aren’t typically encouraged to share a lot of their honest thoughts and feelings about labor. My own comments about my experience with pregnancy and delivery have gotten me some frowny faces from friends and my midwife, but I figure there’s always another women who is thinking the same thing but has been groomed to stay silent. Good for you for being honest about what labor can do to a rational person’s thought processes. It's not always pretty.


Here’s my crappy attempt at advice: When I’m feeling down about something I think may not have been the best for my baby, I try to imagine what her concerns really are. At this stage, I think she wants a mommy who smiles at her, cuddles her, feeds her, and lets her play with the cats. She can’t have the cats, but I can show her how much I care for her with everything else I do. She doesn’t care that the first thing I said to her was regarding her ’70-era Saturday Night Live quality conehead. Your baby doesn’t care that an awful labor that no one prepared you for made you think something irrational and out of character. If you’re beating yourself up over that, you’re energy just isn’t going anywhere constructive. Forgive yourself so that you can have energy for the things that you want.

rnra 04-16-2012 05:23 PM

Message Deleted

crimsonandclover 04-16-2012 05:42 PM

I have to confess - I almost forgot I WAS having a baby during my long labour!  So when my child DID arrive, I felt guilty because I had forgotten the reason why I was in so much pain in the first place! 

I had a fabulous midwife who says that she has a lot of clients who are ashamed at what they say or do in labour, and that while some women do have orgasmic births, or pain-free births, there are other women who swear or slap away people's hands in irritation.  She tells her clients that afterwards have guilt that they shouldn't beat themselves up, after all, that was the last time they got to do anything they wanted without having the consequences of having another person to care for, and that once you become a parent, it all changes.  :)

Sanveann 04-17-2012 05:56 AM

I think a LOT of women say or think things in labor that they would never otherwise say. I know I said, particular during transition, in all three of my labors, things like, "I don't really want another baby after all" and variations thereof. As long as you're not having those kinds of thoughts NOW (in which case, get thee to a therapist ASAP!), I wouldn't worry. Be gentle with yourself; people in a lot of pain can do and think crazy stuff. But if it continues to bother you a lot, I would talk to a counselor.


(Btw, I felt lied to after my first birth as well, only in my case it was about the big scary ebil hospital. I had spent a LOT of time being fearful of things that never happened and no one tried to push on me, which made me really angry afterward. I felt like I had really expended a lot of mental energy on being fearful, for no reason at all.)

tri31 04-17-2012 06:52 AM

I read your post, and felt such an outpouring of compassion. All of us experience labor differently, but I personally don't know anyone who found it painless. I was struck by this sentence, most of all. "I prepared for labor in every way imaginable". But no one prepares women for the fear we will experience. "pre-natal yoga, pre-natal bellydance, chiropractic sessions to open my pelvis, acupuncture, massage, Mayan abdominal massage, watsu water therapy, all the birth-prep classes, ‘birthing from within’, hypnobirthing, swimming lessons to build endurance…….you name it, any birth-prep thing you can think of, I probably did it".  These merely focus on physical labor, which is coming like a freight train wether we are ready or not.. They can't help us as we mentally/emotionally wrestle our internal judge, the terrible tyrant that reigns over so many aspects of our lives. And the pain, which coupled with fear sets off a storm of physiological responses.

I am sure you did great. Once we decide that the "story" we are being told is a lie, we can take comfort in the harbor of our own truths.

sere234 04-17-2012 07:05 AM

I used Hypnobabies in pregnancy, read all the wonderful stories of pain free births and thought "I can do this!". Then I went into labor. Dang, that was NOT pain free. For a long while, and maybe even a bit now, I felt like I did something wrong. Like I wasn't strong enough to have a pain free birth.


And during the last half of my 20 hour labor, I really didn't think about my baby at all. Sure, it was nice to hear his healthy heartbeat when my midwives checked him but I really didn't care.. My focus was on me. I remember when I was almost done pushing DS out all I could think was I just want this damn baby OUT!!! It was mildly amusing but unsettling how much I distanced myself from my baby as he was being born. I went into a primal place where self preservation was all I could think about. I think this is probably pretty normal though!


Now that I'm newly preggo again, I need to have a nice long chat with my midwife about all these feelings. I really don't dwell on them at all anymore but I'd like to birth this baby with a different mindset!

Sanveann 04-17-2012 07:40 AM


Originally Posted by sere234 View Post


And during the last half of my 20 hour labor, I really didn't think about my baby at all. Sure, it was nice to hear his healthy heartbeat when my midwives checked him but I really didn't care.. My focus was on me. I remember when I was almost done pushing DS out all I could think was I just want this damn baby OUT!!! 


A friend of mine -- who after years of infertility and an ectopic pregnancy  finally conceived a very very much wanted baby -- told me that she spent a good chunk of her labor screaming, "JUST CUT IT OUT! GET IT OUT OF ME!" :) I think it's totally common.

amyrobinson 04-17-2012 07:44 AM

Oh honey I really sympathize with what you are going through what a difficult experience!  You are dealing with a lot of dissapointment and shame partly because no one actually prepared you for the reality of natural childbirth, that it is excruciatingly painful, most of the time.  Not knowing that how could you be in control of your thoughts, or feel anything but disappointed?  I think most people involved in natural childbirth, are so invested in the philosophies behind it that they try to downplay the pain women actually feel, because so many women wouldn't want to go natural if they really knew how painful it was.  Throughout history and in every time and place women have experienced great pain in birth.  One of the aims of the early feminist movement was to gain access to pain relief for women in childbirth because they knew it wasn't just waves of intensity, they knew it was downright painful!  It reminds me a lot of the story about the emperor who wasn't wearing any clothes and everyone told him how great his invisible clothes were.  Everyone knew he wasn't wearing anything but they all kept up the charade.  Maybe there are a few people out there that don't feel the same intensity of pain in childbirth (and people do have different pain tolerance levels which are not controllable), but I don't think that is most women.  There is a reason women get epidurals, because labour and delivery hurt!  You tried your best to prepare yourself for birth and it didn't work, so I am not surprised the pain was overwhelming you.  We all have awful thoughts sometimes, especially when pain is so intense that it takes over our rational mind.  Of course you didn't want your daughter to really die.  You know you didn't really want that, it was merely a crazy thought in the midst of excruciating pain.  For me, labour was rather like torture.  When people are being tortured they are known to do and say things they normally wouldn't.  Thats why people have used torture/high levels of excruciating pain, in the past because they know it will compel people to do/say things/give up information they normally would not...anything to stop the pain.  Like you my babies are never a reality to me until they are born.  I've always felt a bit bad because although I want them very much they don't feel real until they are born.  You seem like you see your babies the same way as me.  You obviously want them, but they don't seem like a reality until you are holding them.  You obviously love and adore your baby, you need to try to let go of the shame and guilt you feel.  If we were all held accountable for crazy thoughts that pass through our heads we would all seem like horrible people.  Its our actions and attitudes that really define us.  Your daughter wasn't conscious of anything you were thinking, no matter what natural childbirth advocates say, the mind/body connection doesn't work like that. Your daughter knows nothing but love, care and adoration for you.  Try to forget those silly thoughts, any feelings of fail or dissapointment you had about the birth being really painful.  You tried with everything in you to prepare yourself, but in the end you had to experience the reality of birth, that it hurts, and there is nothing shameful in admitting that, or in having an epidural (which has been scientifically proven to be perfectly safe) next time if you decide to have another baby.  You are not a terrible mother or terrible person for what happened.  I totally get not feeling like the baby is real until they are born.  My baby almost died at birth, but that wasn't really a reality, until I actually saw her.  Then the thoughts of losing her or that she might be brain damaged (she isn't) were more than I could bear!  You sound like an amazing mother and the best thing you can do for you and your daughter is to try to let this go.  Perhaps make up a book of pictures after the birth and write down your positive thoughts.  Have a mantra you tell yourself when you dwell on those bad momentary thoughts you had, like "it was just a silly thought, I love my daughter with everything in me" when they pop up.  If they still won't go away, go to a counselor.  I am a counselor and I am sure they would reiterate everything I have already said.  There is no shame in talking something through, we all need help getting over things that are difficult sometimes.  God Bless you and enjoy your daughter, you a a great mother!

VBACmama4 04-17-2012 05:52 PM

I understand how horrible you feel that you spent so much time preparing for something few people can truly be prepared for, and I completely understand the guilt you feel for having thoughts and feelings while you were in intense pain that you later realized you didn't mean to have. I have 3 children, pregnant with my 4th now and due any day, and no matter what level of education I've received, what preparations I've made, how much I've learned from each extremely different birth experience (and all mine varied tremendously) I have always had pain during labor. And even though the pain has varied from tolerable to excrutiating, I rarely tell other women how much it CAN hurt. I suppose I, and other women, avoid this because the last thing we want to do to a fellow mom is scare the hell out of her with our horrific birth stories. I know telling the story of my first child birth a few times has left each listener slack jawed and pale, so I don't tell the whole thing unless I'm specifically asked to. In my first birth, I let the doctor take control and it was a huge mistake. I was in immense pain for 12 hours, the entire time, from the first moment. With my second, I had prodromal labor for 4 days which did nothing to progress my labor except exhaust me and make me want to sleep til the baby was ready to be pushed out. But, when I finally hit hard labor, I could tolerate the pain and I found that a water birth helped so, so much. It was really not so bad. With my third, I had no choice but to let a hospital dictate the protocol that would be used while I labored and their methods were for medical convenience - not my comfort - and again, I had more pain than I had hoped for. I remember begging my nurses for meds, never something I would have ever expected I'd do, I begged for a cesarean even though as a VBAC'er I am absolutely opposed to them without significant medical reasons. My nurses warned me that one type of pain meds could cause trouble for my baby's breathing because I was in late stage labor or I could have another less effective kind that would spare him and I actually remember mentally debating it - as though I didn't care if it harmed him. Of course I did, but my God I was tired and in so much pain! YOU ARE NOT ALONE. 


I also wanted to leave an encouraging word, since you have obviously struck a chord with many women here and will no doubt receive all the sympathy in the world from all of us as well as posts from mothers who can absolutely relate. Each birth experience can vary greatly, so while you know now that it can be painful, also understand that it may not be the same the second time, if you choose to do it again. Also, even though you did so much preparation beforehand, there are other methods to try that helped me - water birth was an absolute godsend. Or, maybe you're a person who would benefit from meds - even though there are a lot of people who are against them, some people need that extra help during labor and it makes enough difference to allow them to get through it. Either way, you did it even though you felt you couldn't. YOU got through it, you endured so much pain to bring your daughter life no matter how you felt for a few minutes before she was born. If not for your strength (even though I understand you didn't feel strong) she wouldn't be here, safe and sound. And now when she looks at you, she sees the woman who loves her,  provides everything she needs - you're mom. She doesn't remember being born and she never knew what it was like for you. Although, as she grows and begins a family of her own it might actually help her to know how you felt, because it's just one more way to guide her in her life. Giving her that information when no one else does, being honest with her, might give her even more reason to trust you. My older kids have seen me in labor and gone with me to doctor's appointments, and being all boys, it has given them knowledge that many other boys, and eventually fathers, might not ever have. They know labor and birth hurts. They know what a planning process it is to be pregnant, they know how a woman's body works, and I believe it'll help them one day when they have a wife and children of their own. 

a13xandra 04-17-2012 06:33 PM

I can't possibly know what you're going through.  I can't say that I thought the same simply because I didn't feel the same.  What you say or think under torture shouldn't be held against you!  Think of all the innocent people who confessed to bogus charges of witchcraft and sentenced their own friends and family to death by accusing them as well under less pain than what you went through!  Your brain had an automatic survival response to a biological imperitive to avoid pain that told your body it was dying.  I am so sorry for what you experienced, and I hope you can work through the shame and self-blame, maybe with a therapist? 

radiogal 04-18-2012 12:20 PM

thanks for all the kind, heartfelt really helps to hear other people's experiences, even if they weren't like mine...just to know that people say and do things they don't mean under the pain of labor......maybe it would have been different if I hadn't been induced and had the pitocin drip for all 21 hours of labor.......but I'm glad I was induced, because she really needed to come out....and I tried acupuncture induction and it didn't work.  thanks for everyone who says that there is no reason to be ashamed of what you say or think during labor, because it is really hard not to feel ashamed.

MichelleZB 04-19-2012 08:12 PM

I just want you to know my experience. I'm a mother of a perfectly healthy 4-month-old who breastfeeds like a feind and is happy and hardly ever cries and whom I love.


Things that happened during my birth:

--it hurt like hell

--I would have done anything to just make it stop, just stop for one minute, but there was nothing I could do

--it sucked

--I absolutely had all the thoughts you describe in your post

--I pushed him out like a champ


There is one difference between your birth experience and mine: I kinda thought it would go like that. I'd accepted that it would hurt a lot and suck and that my job was just to get through it somehow. That's what I did. I wasn't disappointed because my birth experience met my expectations.


So you'll know better for next time, that's all.


Don't beat yourself up about whatever crazy thoughts you had during your labour. Your job was to get down and dirty, roll with the punches, and get that kid out so you could get on with the business of parenting her. And that's exactly what you did LIKE A BOSS.

alicewyf 04-19-2012 08:24 PM

While I didn't have bad thoughts about my baby while I was in labor, I can say without any hesitation that it was the most painful experience of my life. And I totally, totally was not expecting it. And my labor was only 7.5 hours long---nothing for a first timer. My main thought in labor was, "Of course people get drugs for this, I must be insane." It was really sheer force of will, and the desire to prove EVERYONE wrong who said I couldn't handle natural labor, that helped me get through the pain. Nope, it wasn't because med-free is better for mama and baby. It was ego-driven, all the way. I'm not proud of that.


I was so out of it from pain that when my daughter was handed to me, I felt NOTHING emotionally. I thought she was cute, but my husband was sobbing next to me, pretty much shaking with emotion not even being able to control himself, and I was thinking, "What is his problem?!?" I was still in labor land where nothing mattered. I was still disassociated from reality from trying to manage the pain.


Everyone handles labor differently. I now know I disassociate from the pain, and that is normal for me. I am totally considering pain meds this time around if I feel like I want them. I don't think my labor experience was harmful to me in any way, and I don't feel any lasting guilt, but it wasn't the love-fest, oxytocin-fueled euphoric experience that everyone told me it was going to be. It pretty much sucked.


The only thing I will say is that I felt pretty great after a few hours, and for a few days afterwards. I do think that having a natural labor makes your recovery easier and it was worth it to me for that reason. Other than that, it sucks and people who say otherwise are either really lucky or lying through their teeth.


Be gentle with yourself and know that your experience was some variation of normal. <3

eggsandpancakes 04-23-2012 07:15 AM


Originally Posted by radiogal View Post

thanks for all the kind, heartfelt really helps to hear other people's experiences, even if they weren't like mine...just to know that people say and do things they don't mean under the pain of labor......maybe it would have been different if I hadn't been induced and had the pitocin drip for all 21 hours of labor.......but I'm glad I was induced, because she really needed to come out....and I tried acupuncture induction and it didn't work.  thanks for everyone who says that there is no reason to be ashamed of what you say or think during labor, because it is really hard not to feel ashamed.


Nobody, but nobody EVER said that an induced labor could ever be pain free. Pitocin contractions are the most god-awful, rediculously painful, hsterical, tear my insides out and hang them to dry where the crows can feed on them, might as well shoot me now and cut the baby out, painful things I have ever done in my life. I was literally sobbing in the corner that this was not the way birth was meant to be, and to un hook this **** and let me go home to have my baby in preace.

And I'm not surprised that the beeping made you a crazy woman. I'm not sure I could have dealt with that without horrible thoughts either.

sarafi 04-27-2012 01:06 AM

Oh shoot, you had pitocin the whole time! Those suckers hurt BADLY!


I had two babies with pitocin,  one with an epidural and one without. With the second baby, I remember vividly going through transition alone in a tiny room and thinking "Now I know why the windows are barred, sane people would jump out at this stage". Most people thought that was crazy, but it was really what I was thinking. I also hit my doctor during that labor because I didn't think he was listening to me! Pain makes people do crazy things, and I am glad so many others have shared similar experiences :-)


(Last two babies I didn't take pitocin, and the really were much easier--but I do find them painful as well, just a lot less out-of-control-painful if that makes sense)

linnea27 05-28-2012 12:16 PM

I can completely sympathize. I had a home waterbirth. At one point they couldn't find my son's heartbeat with the doppler. I remember not caring. I was so lost in the pain that there was nothing else. Obviously I would have been devastated if my son had died, but in that moment, my mind couldn't hold on to that possibility. (ftr, my son's heartrate was perfect- the midwife ended up having to practically crawl in the tub to get the doppler in a position that picked up his heartrate, but once she did, it was strong and regular).


I agree that the "birth is beautiful and empowering!" ideal doesn't always happen. I wish it did.

sapientia 05-29-2012 02:17 PM

My first birth was pretty awesome-mild pain, super quick pushing, (birthcenter birth, no meds) hooboy I thought I had the labor thing down. Till I had my second child, a homebirth. My God, the pain is indescribable. Hours of back labor-she was a malpresentation-and wouldn't/couldn't turn due to a super tightly wrapped around her neck, short cord. She just wouldn't descend. I was truly in hell for 36 hours and I remember just standing in my shower and deciding that it was all over and there was no way I would make it out of this alive! Fortunately she was born a little bit after-she needed a little coaxing to get going and I bled overmuch, but ultimately we were fine. That weaned me from thinking I had the answers! I can't even begin to tell you the crazy thoughts that were going through my head cause I felt trapped-there was no escape, and no way out but through.

Forgive yourself, you're ok, mama!

RobynHeud 05-30-2012 04:22 PM

I recently had a homebirth of my own, and I remember before labor started telling myself that I was just going to breathe the baby out.  Well, it didn't work like that for me at all.  My labor was fast (fully dilated when my water broke and active labor began - no contractions that I could feel before that) taking only 3 1/2 hours, but they were the most excruciating pains of my life.  I screamed, I moaned, I wondered why our neighbors didn't call the cops, and I kept snapping at my husband and crying out that I didn't want to do this anymore.  It's extremely hard to be rational when you experience a level of pain far beyond what you thought you could handle.  I didn't even say half the things I was thinking, and the things I did say were bad enough.  You have taken the awesome step of acknowledging the less-than-perfect and irrational thoughts that you did have and perhaps, like so many other things that have to do with childbirth, it's one of those things we need to bring to the forefront of the conversation so new mothers can recognize that their feelings during birth may be different than others but they are nothing to be ashamed of.  All too often I think we gloss over those things that make our birth experience seem less than perfect but I think that you're an amazing person who has reminded us that it's not all deep breaths and smiling faces.  I also think that the way you have chosen to be honest with yourself is a great indicator of the type of mom you're going to be.  Good luck and know that our prayers are with you.

radiogal 06-09-2012 10:20 AM

thanks again for the responses ladies.

last night I had a realization - don't know why it's taken me almost 3 months since the baby was born to really realize this: despite everything I thought, and how powerless I felt, I DID manage to push my baby out, without any intervention, and that's a hella big accomplishment that I should be proud of.  It sounds so childish when I write it down - like "oh I should get a gold star for accomplishing something", like I'm in elementary school or something.  but it's been really hard to think about the labor and birth without feeling sorrow, emotional pain and shame, and just to feel a little bit of pride for what I was able to do is, I think, a good thing.


reminds me of a time I was hanging out with some punks in minneapolis and we were aalking about all the hardcore things we'd done - the riots we'd been in, the battles with racist skinheads....until one friend of mine silenced us with her proclamation 'i pushed two babies out of my body' - no one could compete with that, we had to agree she was the most hardcore one of all. :)

MichelleZB 06-10-2012 10:45 AM

Originally Posted by radiogal View Post

thanks again for the responses ladies.

last night I had a realization - don't know why it's taken me almost 3 months since the baby was born to really realize this: despite everything I thought, and how powerless I felt, I DID manage to push my baby out, without any intervention, and that's a hella big accomplishment that I should be proud of.  It sounds so childish when I write it down - like "oh I should get a gold star for accomplishing something", like I'm in elementary school or something.  but it's been really hard to think about the labor and birth without feeling sorrow, emotional pain and shame, and just to feel a little bit of pride for what I was able to do is, I think, a good thing.


reminds me of a time I was hanging out with some punks in minneapolis and we were aalking about all the hardcore things we'd done - the riots we'd been in, the battles with racist skinheads....until one friend of mine silenced us with her proclamation 'i pushed two babies out of my body' - no one could compete with that, we had to agree she was the most hardcore one of all. :)

Totally, Radiogal! You are 100% super hardcore and deserve all the gold stars.

mercii 06-25-2012 12:06 PM

I understand how you feel. My first birth was terribly traumatizing and I wondered how I could ever do something like that again. The pain was blinding, out of control pain, there was no "pause" between contractions to recover, and I was panicking and hyperventilating because it was too much to handle. The only comfort I can remember is seeing my midwife -- she was looking at me so peacefully and calmly and it was the only piece of sanity that seemed to exist. (But I was also MAD that she could be so calm when I felt like I was dying).


Somehow, time healed things. I went on to face another natural childbirth and this time I knew how scary and bad it was going to be. It really helped me during my 2nd labor to have flashbacks to the panic I went through during my first, and tell myself "yep. It's gonna be a LOT worse. I'm gonna lose it pretty soon." And suddenly it was over, and I had birthed another little girl. Yes, it was terribly painful, but I never reached that moment of panic and fear, because I kept telling myself it was going to be ten times worse.


Anyone who didn't tell you there would be pain WAS lying to you. I know somebody who went into labor trying to deny the pain, and she came out terribly disappointed and traumatized. No one should ever tell a woman that there isn't going to be pain. Unfortunately I have run across that attitude a lot in the natural birth world, and I feel it is terribly deceiving. There is pain. There is a lot of pain. The miraculous thing is that we have the power to come through it, and are able to "forgive" the instant we see what caused our pain.  I was angry at my baby for causing me so much pain, and yet the moment she was in my arms I was this teary eyed, gushing mama holding the most precious thing in the world.

3timesamom 06-28-2012 11:38 AM

First of all I just saw that you commented on my birth story of Miss Emily. I want to congratulate you on your new baby:) Second I want you to understand that Miss Emily is baby number four for me! I walked down this road before. Well actually, I walked down that awful pitocin labor road, and that hospital birth, and then finally the one that pushed me over the top with confidence:) If you would like I can paste and copy all of their birth stories for you. They vary greatly! The one thing I notice however is that my first delivery was this soul sucking experience! I believe it could have been less terrible but not with pitocin involved.


Infact I want you to know that I have to make a great effort to relive that day! My daughter is nine she will be ten. When I enjoy her birthday with her its marveling at her growth, getting her gifts and cupcakes. Its an understanding that we made it together. We have grown into a girl and a mom together! My son just turned seven and I relive his empowering birth! I relive yelling "I did it! I did it!" I relive pacing the halls and dealing with pain. I relive it as a moment of power as a moment that a woman had a nine pound baby boy with general ease! (Not pain free!) I relive it as one of the most remarkable moments of my life!


The differance? I knew what I was going to deal with. I had no pit. I had experience on my side:) My third child I kicked labors ass! Mind you that doesn't mean pain free! That means I over came!


So basically I want you to consider this a learning experience. You know what to expect. You know to stand your ground on induction unless you have to. (like really have to!) You know that you labored for HOURS and you did have a baby:) You did do it! The road was bumpy but you made it:) You kicked labors ass. Next time you will do it better:) Next time you will know what to expect:) Next time you will scream, "I did it!" For now stop reliving that day! When you do relive it remember the part where you did get to baby! Don't worry about what baby was thinking! LOL Baby was probably thinking "HOLY CRAP, Glad thats over!"

tiqa 07-26-2012 04:07 PM

Although my labors were most certainly not pain-free, they WERE quick, and I HAVE had dental procedures and headaches that were more painful.


That said, I suck at being pregnant, and have in all my pregnancies considered terminating due to the sheer amount of suffering I faced in the early parts.  (They sucked the whole time, but the first tri was always the hardest.)  I felt very guilty and yes, sometimes thought the babies could sense that their mom wasn't wholly perfect, glowing, "omg I am so happpppppy I am pregnant, this is a miracle!!!!".  This even with my planned and much-wanted pregnancies.  We're all put under a lot of pressure to be pregnant/birthing goddesses with nary a negative thought, and if we're not happy rosy sunshiney the whole way through, we're at fault, we're bad people, the babies judge us, the whole nine.


Incidentally, we all have different reactions to the not-everyday experience of labor.  My first was pretty quick laboring but pushing was very difficult.  When it was done, they gave me the baby, and I could care less.  I didn't even look at him.  I know you're "supposed" to look down and see your baby and go coo and aww over it, and fall in love and start saying things like "oh i love you my little baby" and kiss kiss and count the toes.  I felt like I was high from the labor hormones and I totally didn't care there was a baby there.  I was grinning and making small talk with the nurses.  They wrapped him up and gave him to me again and AGAIN I ignored him, so they put him away.  Later on, like an hour or two later, they were wheeling me to another room and put the baby in my lap to hold, and I held him like, wtf is this thing, and I was kind of weirded out by it.  Then they left us alone in another room to recover and yes, we did eventually bond, but it took a few hours.  I'm no less bonded with him than I was with my daughter, but it definitely wasn't the picture perfect documentary birth.  You know what?  We got it over it.  ;)


Incidentally, I'm pregnant again, and have zero, zip, zilch bondy feelings with this baby.  I feel sick, not preggers.  I don't feel happy, I don't rub my belly, I don't, well, anything.  And yeah, we tried for a year to get pregnant, and this is my last pregnancy, so I "should" be feeling over the moon that I'm knocked up.  Meh.  I'm being gentle with myself.  I'm sure the bonding will come, eventually...

womenswisdom 07-27-2012 07:22 AM

OP, while you are posting about guilt over thoughts you had during labor, I think it's important to remember we all have irrational thoughts frequently that we pay no attention to. When you're standing on top of a building, did you ever think of jumping off? Driving your car into a bridge abutment? Actually killing someone you were angry with? The truth is, we all have thoughts like that. The problem comes when we attach a judgment to those thoughts, which causes us guilt and anxiety.

For example, many women who suffer from PPD have intrusive thoughts about harming themselves or their baby. They don't *want* to do it, they just have these random thoughts that pop into their heads and *know* they wouldn't act on them but the fact that they are having them at all causes anxiety about what kind of horrible mother could think such a thing. They judge themselves for simply having a thought, which leads to trying to suppress the thought and so it becomes a cycle, because trying *not* to think a thing makes it about the only thing you *can* think of. Most women have random thoughts like that which they pay no attention to and probably would only remember if you specifically asked about it. The women who have a problem focus on these random thoughts and believe that they mean something about who they are, which is absolutely not true. To a large extent, we don't control our thoughts.

A single, isolated thought (or even repeated thoughts!) during a stressful time says absolutely nothing about the kind of mother that you are or will be. No one outside your head knows your thoughts unless you tell them. I'm so sorry that you had such a disappointing, difficult labor and I hope you come to a place of peace with the facets of it that still cause you pain.

rainface 07-27-2012 08:07 AM

I know this is an older topic but I just wanted to chime in and say YES, I can empathize too. I had a med free birth, and I'm very proud of myself for doing the hardest work of my life on my terms but I had such shame for my thoughts during labor (particularly during transition). At one point I told my husband I just wanted to go home, please take me home, I promise I'll come back later and have this baby. I whined, I cried, I yelled. I distinctly remember thinking that if I could just escape out the window (3 stories up) and make it to the parking lot, someone would have to give me a c-section. I thought I couldn't do it. I was scared to death. And then, she was born and I kept saying "I can't believe I just did that", and she is the most perfect thing in the universe.
Now, after talking to my cousin and other women who report the same experience, it's a funny, bittersweet story that I can laugh about now. And my daughter is much more likely to judge me for the fact that I won't let her suck on my teva sandals. Be proud of yourself, momma. You pushed a baby out.

at_the_hip 08-11-2012 08:30 PM

Please please don't be so hard on yourself.  You DID it Mama!  Why is it that as women we are 'failures' if  we don't labour or deliver quietly, or we need pain relief, or scream?  How do you think a man would handle that type of pain??

I have had 5 births and 3 of the 5 have been posterior.  Because I also have very large babies with big heads the posterior births have been beyond excruciating.  I am a reserved woman and I felt guilt and shame because I screamed and cried for them to make it stop.  I pleaded with them to help me and even asked them to transfer me (with my last birth).
The two births that were posterior were very intense but compared to the posterior positioned babies, not near as painful...not even on the same scale.  However those two ended in severe hemmorhages.

With #6 after 3 homebirths I am going for a hospital birth.  And I may well get an epidural.  I am not ashamed.  I have long difficult births with big babies and it's my choice. 

MnMtm 08-20-2012 09:58 PM

My first homebirth was a lot harder, longer and more painful than I ever expected it to be. I remember when I realized that I was in labor with my second, I had this moment of fear and panic when I thought, "Am I crazy for doing it this way again?" However, my labor and birth of my second child was much more like what I had imagined that my first would be like. I still have to say that there was pain involved, but it wasn't as intense and didn't last nearly as long as my first did.


I do have to say that in difficult moments in parenting, or just in life in general, I have though back to the birth of my first, and thought, "If I can do that, I can do anything," so even though it didn't feel so immediately afterwards, it did end up being an incredibly empowering experience for me. Plus, I know that my son was brought into this life in the healthiest way possible.

ilovetchotchkes 08-26-2012 12:13 PM

I could have written this after my first birth, word for word. 

My son was malpositioned and my 30 hour labor was HORRIBLE. My 2nd birth was a lot smoother. It didn't NOT hurt, it hurt like HELL, and I kept saying "I CANT DO THIS I CAN"T DO THIS" over and over and over again. But there was actual progress so my mental state was a lot better. With my son it took me almost  24 hours to dilate from 4 to 10. I remember thinking at one point "dear G-d, please have someone barge in here and demand I get a c-section, please, because I can't do this anymore" Sadly, that was about 8 hours before my son was actually BORN. (I ended up getting an epidural and having him vaginally but it was a close call). My midwife even said when it was time to push and I asked her if I could push even between contractions. "normally we'd have you breathe the baby down slowly but while he's doing great you're in a bad way, lets get him out as quick as we can so you can be done, push whenever and however you want to. ". I was so grateful to hear her say that. What hurt the most afterwards were people in the NCB blamed ME!!!! Told me "buy the hospital ticket you get the hospital ride". 


My 2nd birth was completely unmedicated and yes it hurt like hell, but it was also shorter. Had it extended to the length that my sons did? i probably would not have been able to cope. I did take part of a pre natal yoga class series though and I quit halfway through because the teacher exhorted us NOT to read or listen to any "negative birth stories" and only fill our heads with "positive energy". Because that screwed me last time. This time around? I read c-section, induced, vacumn, forceps, anything that could go wrong in a birth, i searched out a birth story for it. And I think it helped. 


What did help a LOT this time around was my doula not BSing me about the pain, she'd say "oh that sounds like a nasty one, you're almost done, its peaking, and you'll never have to have that horrible contraction again, EVER".  Part of what helped too was I expected the worst. Hoped for the best but expected the worst.


Oh and pitocin contractions are EVIL. I have never had them myself, but if they're worse than regular labor? o holy hell i hope I never need pitocin! My mother had pitocin with my birth, swore up and down she'd never get it again, and then also swore that labor with my sister felt like "bad period cramps" (ironically my labor pains 2nd time around were like that too, but mine are so bad that I'm incapacitated every month )

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