Choosing planned c-section after birth trauma - Mothering Forums
Healing Birth Trauma > Choosing planned c-section after birth trauma
RuthieJ's Avatar RuthieJ 07:52 AM 08-17-2012

Wondering if there are any mamas out there who have experienced a peaceful birth with planned c-section? 


I just found out that I am pregnant with my third child (very unplanned, but already loved). I am a strong supporter of natural homebirth and I have two children: both were unmedicated births, one at home.  But the second birth was very traumatic. DD, my first child, was born without complications, 12 hours of labour but not unmanageable, we had no midwife so we went to the hospital.  She was tightly corded (twice) and the cord had to be cut before she could be delivered, but she pinked up right away and all was fine.  Two years later, with DS, I was excited that there was now a midwife in our area who would attend homebirths. We planned a peaceful waterbirth in our bedroom, but I was also fine with going to the hospital if any complications came up.  I was considered very low-risk, the pregnancy went smoothly, and there was no indication of any problems. The MW did mention, towards the end of my pregnancy, that the baby seemed to be in a 'funny position', but she was not concerned and neither was I.  I trusted birth, my body, and my baby.  However, when I was 40 wks along, my blood pressure rose. The consulting doctor wanted me to go to the hospital to be induced, but the MW convinced me there was no need, and induced me instead with homeopathic remedies. The birth turned into three days and four sleepless nights (I was almost insane with sleep deprivation by the end) of torture and agony. I broke down several times but the MW kept telling me it would be even worse if I went to the hospital. DS was asynclitic, posterior, double-corded with the hand wedged near his face (not to mention weighing 10lbs), and b/c of the strange position, the MW insisted on doing constant internal exams, which were absolutely excruciating. (I guess I should mentioned that I was sexually abused as a child. It was like being violated over and over again.)  At the end, his heart rate decelerated rapidly and the MW screamed: "We have to get this baby out NOW!"  I didn't know what was happening, but DS was stuck with a severe shoulder dystocia. Everything was panic and pain. The MW and her assistants pulled me out of the birth tub and onto the bed, and tried all kinds of different positions, nothing worked, the paramedics were called, I couldn't breathe, the MW told me I didn't have time to take a breath, I gasped anyway, everyone was yelling at me, I just wanted to die so it would be all over.  The MW had to reach in while I was pushing and dislodge DS's shoulder, he was born grey, the oxygen tank wouldn't work at first, but he was finally resuscitated just as the paramedics rushed into my bedroom.  I know I am so lucky and I have so much compassion for mamas whose little ones did not make it.  But I also know that I was only a minute away from losing my DS too.  And for me, physically and psychologically, it took a long time to heal from that birth, and I don't think I ever fully will.  I tore horribly and I still have pelvic floor problems. I believe I had PTSD as well. I had flashbacks for months afterward and still face those dark moments when it all comes back.


Sorry for the lengthy explanation.  I know that most mothering readers are natural birth supporters and are likely opposed to planned c-sections, so I just needed to explain that, even though I totally support natural birth, in my personal situation I just don't believe that it is the way for me and my baby.  I am well aware of the risks of c-sections, and I know this is not ideal, but I have thought about it deeply and it is the right way for us.


However, I would still very much like to make this baby's birth as peaceful as possible.  Do does anyone have any advice for how to have a loving, peaceful, planned c-section?

loveneverfails's Avatar loveneverfails 08:45 AM 08-18-2012

No advice, but I am so so sorry for everything you've been through.  If a caesarean birth is what makes you feel most at peace and gives you the space where you can be happy to welcome your newest little one, by all means go for it.  If you think exploring an epidural assisted vaginal birth makes sense, talk that through with a provider.  


I just remembered this woman's blog post about her birth with her third child, a planned c/s that went very well for her.


Peace and healing thoughts for you.   I hope that you and your baby get a beautiful and calm birth experience.

MeepyCat's Avatar MeepyCat 04:57 PM 08-18-2012
Well, I for sure would not want that midwife again. A hospital might well have recommended section for an asyclitic‚ OP babe with a nuchal hand, for good reason! A responsible midwife should (IMO) have transferred you.

I had a really rough time with my first birth (OP babe, vaccuum delivery), and had hoped for a healing natural birth with my second. Instead, I had placenta previa, and an emergent (although not "crash") c-section. There are a lot of things I wish nad been different about dd's birth - it would have been nice if I hadn't hemorrhaged, for example, and we maybe could have scheduled surgery at term - but the surgery itself was very peaceful, and I experienced it as healing. Recovery was not easy in all ways, but in some ways it was far easier than recovering from the tearing and fear associated with my son's birth.

If you want to seek a hospital birth, or even a planned c/s, I think a little preliminary research can help you find a compassionate OB, and a hospital you're comfortable with. I was surprised by how thoughtful the staff was about respecting the connection between me and dd in the immediate post-partum period, even when they had to balance that with her medical needs. They brought her to me so I could kiss her in the OR, they wheeled me to the NICU to see her as soon as I was out of recovery, they said if she hadn't needed breathing help, they'd have kept us together the whole time.
Alenushka's Avatar Alenushka 05:15 PM 08-18-2012

I am so sorry that you had such horrible and negligent provider. I do not understand why she refused to transfer you to the hospital. Nothing about your birth reads "normal and physiological"....if there is such thing.


I hope your were able to report her.


I am so happy that you and your baby survived!


Of course, having a planned c-section will be far less stressful than having a an emergency one.

I have been present during several c-section. The staff went out of their way to provide pain controls, information and kind care to the laboring moms.



I , as mother and a woman fully support your choice! If C-section is what your need to avoid pelvic  floor and psychological trauma, who cares what anyone thinks. It is your body!

fruitfulmomma's Avatar fruitfulmomma 05:18 PM 08-18-2012  There is a short article in the summer edition on skin to skin after a section that might be useful for you.

dingdongditch's Avatar dingdongditch 05:40 PM 08-18-2012

Oh, yes, you can have a planned c-section that is respectful of the family. I had two sections (one unplanned and one planned) and both were very peaceful events. I requested that my babies be placed on my chest following birth barring any need for their emergency care. That request would have been honored, but I was so sleepy both times that I backed off from the request and instead had my arm freed so that I was able to touch and hug and more easily kiss my little ones. At my hospital, if the baby's 5 minute APGARS are good, they hand the little one off to Dad/Partner and they never leave a parents' arms after that. Baby and Dad were by my head the entire time they were finishing the section and the medical team totally let us be. We talked and kissed and I held and cuddled as I saw fit. When they were finished with my section, they led my husband to recovery and then wheeled me in right behind them. Within 45 minutes of the actual arrival of my boys, I was able to completely hold my babies and begin breastfeeding. I never felt disconnected from my boys at any point during the c-sections. I never felt disconnected from my husband, either. And as I said, before the hour was even up, I was holding my babies and feeding them for the first time. 


We chose to have the baby room in with us and my husband (or another support person) was able to be with me the entire time. My hospital gave some serious leeway to c-section moms and allowed for a lot of family support in the postpartum rooms. 


So really, with the exception of the 5 minutes in which my boys were being checked out by the peds team, the rest of the time, the hospital policies allowed us to really come together as a family. My hospital is known for being family friendly in this way and they continue to make improvements. 

oliviajune's Avatar oliviajune 07:59 PM 08-18-2012
I have no advice since I haven't experienced it yet, but I too had a traumatic birth experience and my son almost died. He was taken off life support at 5 days old but decided to stick around, and now at 19 months old has severe cerebral palsy. That was an induced vaginal birth with no pain meds at 41 weeks. For my next baby I plan on having an elective c-section. Emotionally I just couldn't handle a vaginal birth again. I have PTSD and am struggling with depression.

So just know that you aren't alone smile.gif
RuthieJ's Avatar RuthieJ 11:55 AM 08-19-2012

Thank you so much to all for your kindness, helpful advice and links, and for sharing your own stories. The blog mentioned by loveneverfails was inspiring, I'd definitely recommend it to others. The woman who writes it had a very similar second birth to mine, and it was so interesting to read about her decision-making process when she got pregnant with her third.  I haven't told anyone else yet that I am pregnant so it is amazing to have a support network here.  It makes me feel much better to know that it is possible to have a respectful birth via c-section.  I'm going to the doctor next week, and will ask about finding a supportive OB.  


I should also say that I didn't mean to make my midwife sound terrible.  I think it's partially my own fault for being so passive.  I do wish she had listened to me better, and I really believe she should have told me that she suspected shoulder dystocia long before it occurred.  She was wonderful in many ways, and I will always be grateful that she managed to get my beautiful DS out alive.  She is a very strong, confident woman with a strong personality, and I admired her very much. I think maybe she was just much more committed to homebirth than I was, and I was not confident enough to explain myself clearly to her, and felt so vulnerable and confused once the process started that I couldn't think reasonably anymore, let alone try to go against her recommendations. 


OliviaJane, lots of healing thoughts for dealing with the PTSD and depression.  It can feel so overwhelming, but in my experience it does get better with time.  I hope you have supportive loved ones around to help you. hug.gif

ChristinaMT 02:16 PM 08-19-2012

I'm so sorry for the trauma you experienced. My heart just about broke reading your story. No one should have to go through that.


I've had 3 vaginal births and then my last baby was a planned, necessary c/s. I was absolutely terrified walking into the OR but the entire experience turned out to be very pleasant and peaceful. My arms were free and I was able to touch my baby right away.  My OB and the rest of the staff were extremely kind and caring. It was a wonderful experience and I wouldn't change a thing about it. I hope it's the same for you. best of luck and congratulations on your pregnancy.

blackeyesusan's Avatar blackeyesusan 05:26 PM 08-19-2012

Hi there,

I've been visiting this blog for many years, but your post made me finally get an account. I had a c-section for PTSD. Sexual trauma, in my case. I just wanted to reach out to you so you don't feel so alone. Before my assaults and developing really severe PTSD, I was all about natural birth. I even went to a midwife for a homebirth before we realized I was far too ill to have a homebirth-- or vaginally delivery at all. It sounds to me that your PTSD is really disabling and that can be really, really isolating, even when you are surrounded by people who love you. I have a great group of people who love me, and a wonderful husband, but nobody really understands like another survivor and someone who struggles with unremitting PTSD themselves.


What we did for my c-section was:

1. Did it relatively early as to limit the amount of time I was acutely ill prior to the birth. By the end of pregnancy, flashbacks and panic attacks were absolutely out of control and completely resistant to medication. I needed 24/7 care. To be honest, I don't really remember that last month.  

2. My midwife and OB led me through a mock surgery, complete with going into the room, getting up on the table and then a walk through.

3. Good pain management was a must, as uncontrolled pain worsens the flashbacks to sexual assault and that out of control feeling.


We had a wonderful c-section birth. My son was born healthy, and I was fully present and not afraid at all through the surgery. We laughed, and it was JOYOUS! It also helped me feel more in control and it helped me in other areas of my life, because my need to have the birth as controlled as possible and as safe as possible was validated, and I ended up meeting people through it who became great allies in my battle against PTSD and my past. Midwifery and OB worked together so that I ended up having the best of both worlds.


I will try to check back to this thread.

The other option, also, is to birth vaginally in hospital, with good analgesia and a good team around you, but it sounds to me like you have already reached your conclusion. If I can be any support to you, I would like to be. I really value that the moment of my son's birth was one where I was at peace, happy, and I could focus on the most important thing of all: which was his entrance into this world. I wanted that so badly. I knew I could not make it through a vaginal delivery and that any damage to my vagina would be absolutely devastating in terms of how it would bring up past sexual assault. Not to mention we were deeply concerned I would not be able to follow instruction in a state of adrenaline and that this would interfere with my safety during labour and delivery.

Sending good thoughts your way.

HappyHappyMommy's Avatar HappyHappyMommy 10:20 PM 08-19-2012

RuthieJ, I have not had a C-section so I can't after your question specifically, but I did want to say that I'm sorry for the pain and trauma and frightening experience you went through. Also, I did want to congratulate you on your pregnancy and send you good wishes with your continued healing.

blackeyesusan's Avatar blackeyesusan 02:17 AM 08-20-2012

I replied to this, but I don't think it came through. So if this is a double post because I am in moderation as a new member, then that's cool... Just delete this one. I joined specifically to answer this post-- I've been reading this board for years, though.


I wrote a really long post but it disappeared, so I will try to summarize...


I had a planned c-section for PTSD related to sexual assault. It was a really positive experience. I am glad I did it. It was a total departure from the rest of my life and that was weird. It was highly medicalized and I never thought I would willingly have a c-section. But half way through my pregnancy, I realized I wasn't going to be able to handle any trauma whatsoever to my vagina, due to abuse issues, and it just got to the point where I was non-functioning about it. Counseling, talking it through with my midwife, friends, etc, nothing helped. I read Penny Simkin's book for survivors, which was really helpful, but so triggering that I could barely make it through it.

I wanted to enjoy my son's birth. I wanted to be present to the moment when he was born, and not terrified of what was happening. There was great concern that I would not be able to follow instructions during labour because of the panic and flashbacks and that I would not have tolerated any interventions well, even normal interventions. At first I wanted and was planning a homebirth because the idea of being in a hospital felt terribly scary-- I hate hospitals. But it was clear by half way through the pregnancy that there was no way a vaginal delivery ANYWHERE was going to fly. I was a mess. And not getting better.

It was only when I came out and said that I wanted a c-section, and she agreed, and my duola agreed, that we sought an OB. To be honest, it was such a relief. Where I am, you can have shared care, so I retained the same midwife. The midwife and the OB were both present at the c-section and worked together.

A few things:

1. My OB scheduled my c-section a bit early. This was because she felt like the end of pregnancy would be difficult for me. She was right. It was. I was so sick by the end of pregnancy with constant flashbacks and panic attacks caused by the changes in my body.

2. My OB and MW walked me through a mock c-section. Instead of touring L&D, we went to the OR, I got dressed in scrubs, I got up on the table and my OB moved me like she was going to do during the c-section. They showed me where everything was going to be, so that when I came in to surgery it would not be overwhelming. 
3. Get epimorph in your spinal for pain. And stay on top of pain in the first days. Pain is terribly triggering for me and brings me back to being sexually assaulted. And ask for pain meds when you need them. Don't be ashamed if you need them.

I felt absolute elation when my son was born and I have never regretted the c-section. At all. It really changed me in some ways, because as I said it was the last thing I ever thought I would willingly undergo but it felt so right for me and it was. My OB promised me I would still have the oxytocin surge and I did, I was over-the-moon in love with everyone in the room when my son was born into this world! Recovery was typical post-op recovery. It wasn't fun, but it wasn't terrible. And I had a blessed, trauma-free, and peaceful babymoon. I felt elated. I still do. One of the best things is that, despite the fact that I was not performing the surgery, I felt in control from start to finish and knew when and how and where and with whom it was going to happen. I had my own team. I felt totally respected.

It sounds to me like you have come to place where you know this is right for you. Your post really spoke to me, because I can understand. And I think no matter how much love and support you have around you, it is isolating to have really bad PTSD. No one can really understand that except others who are suffering it. So I wanted to reach out to you. So I wish you much peace. I have a few friends who had c-sections post traumatic vaginal deliveries and I have only heard positive stories. I am not going to gloss over recovery-- it's not fun-- but it's totally different pain than vaginal pain. And, like all things, it passes too. Make sure you have help around in the immediate PP-- get hubby to stay home, or grandparents, etc. And rest. Like vaginal birth, everyone has different experiences of c-section recovery. Some are tough, some are breezy, etc. But plan to have help for the first bit and don't overdo it.


Take care.

RuthieJ's Avatar RuthieJ 06:25 AM 08-21-2012

Thank you for your thoughtful words, HappyHappyMommy.


Thank you so much for sharing, blackeyesusan.  I have so much admiration for you - it takes a lot of strength to know yourself well enough to make a decision that goes against what you always thought you would do. Lots of continued healing wishes to you, because I know the healing process is a lifelong journey.  I'm so glad that after everything you went through, you were able to have a peaceful birthing experience.  I really appreciate the helpful tips for preparing for the c-section too.  I will make sure to have lots of support around after the birth.  I have been looking into it, and it looks like the hospital here is becoming more mother- and baby-friendly and is encouraging skin-to-skin contact after both vaginal and c-section births.  So that is really hopeful. 


Yes, exactly, PTSD is incredibly isolating. Very few people know about my history of sexual abuse, only those who knew me as a teenager, when I went through the court process, as it is not something I am comfortable talking about.  And I have only confided in a few close friends and family members about the trauma of DS's birth, as I find that many people are dismissive of birth trauma, or blame me for having a homebirth. :(

HappyHappyMommy's Avatar HappyHappyMommy 11:39 AM 08-25-2012
Originally Posted by RuthieJ View Post

Yes, exactly, PTSD is incredibly isolating.


Yes, it really can be. I found reading memoirs from others with PTSD a source of comfort because I knew I wasn't alone.


Originally Posted by RuthieJ View Post

And I have only confided in a few close friends and family members about the trauma of DS's birth, as I find that many people are dismissive of birth trauma, or blame me for having a homebirth. :(


I'm so sorry to hear that others have been blaming and/or dismissive. That's so unfair. In my experience, I find that others are often dismissive or blaming because it's hard for them to deal with and by dismissing or blaming, they don't have to have to deal with the difficult emotions. Knowing that, though, doesn't make it feel any better to me when it happens.


Sending lots of support to all on this thread for continued healing. I'm glad you can share your experiences here.

RuthieJ's Avatar RuthieJ 07:23 AM 09-19-2012

Just a little update.  I saw my family doctor yesterday (and got to hear the baby's heartbeat for the first time!), and we talked about which OB/GYN to go to and what I wanted for the birth.  I told her my concerns about asking for a c-section, and she said not to worry, 'No one's going to fight you on it.'  So I am feeling very reassured.


Thanks again for all the support.  I am still researching ways to help make a c-section birth positive and peaceful, and am considering hiring a doula.  Anyone else have experience with a doula for a c-section birth?

HappyHappyMommy's Avatar HappyHappyMommy 08:59 PM 09-19-2012

RuthieJ, it's great to hear that you are feeling reassured. smile.gif And yay on hearing your baby's heartbeat! I ended up not hiring a doula, but I did interview some and several of the doulas I interviewed supported women during c-sections. Hopefully some others will have experiences to share!

Kaydove's Avatar Kaydove 10:14 PM 09-19-2012

I would like to recommend the book When Survivors Give Birth by Penny Simkin. Its about how birth effects sexual abuse survivors. Penny is an amazing woman, she was one of the founders of the biggest doula organization, DONA. Her passion is helping woman who have experience sexual abuse with the their birth.
Congratulations on your pregnancy!

Sent from my Kindle Fire using Tapatalk 2
chiefmir's Avatar chiefmir 07:08 PM 09-28-2012

I just wanted to say that I had 3 planned c-sections and each one was perfectly fine!  To be honest, we are pretty non-MDC birthing type family, so a hospital birth of some sort was always our plan even before the cs became needed.


Anyway, I found the whole thing, all 3 times, to be extremely calm... with DD1 and 3 I walked into the hospital at the time and date planned after a nice dinner, good night's sleep, and long hot shower in the morning. With DD2, my water broke and I headed to the hospital a week earlier than planned, but there was still a sense that everything was undercontrol and surprisingly calm.


I had spinals all 3 times, which I was initially terrified about, but they were totally NON ISSUES (and I am not a stoic person by any stretch).  The first time I was a bit uncomfortable during the c-section because the baby was huge (and I"m not) and they had to pull pretty hard.  But it was ONLY discomfort, NO pain, NO fear on my part.  The second and third time, I remember joking with the dr doing anesthesia that "this is the best c-section ever!" and that "they could stay in there all day!"  My body felt warm, I was pretty floaty from the meds, no pain for me, and a huge sense of relief and joy knowing that the baby was coming out and that there was about to be "nothing" left to worry about, at least for a while (I had difficult pregnancies, with severe GD and several scary genetic tests).


In our case, I never asked to hold the babies right away.  Partly bc I had GD with all 3 and we knew that the babies would have to be checked out immediately (good thing, too, the first two had VERY low blood sugar and were taken to the NICU).  But I was able to hear the babies cry right away, and my DH was able to go with them immediatey and to report back to me every few seconds.  We had already agreed that he'd go with the baby each time.  Since my kids had some issues and needed to be monitored, they went to the NICU/nursery while I was in recovery. Honestly, I was totally fine with not being with them for that brief time.  I had good cs experiences, but I was still recovering from being numb from the chest down.  DH stayed with the baby and then would come to me and/or call me on my cell (which they allowed me to have immediately out of the OR) to give me minute by minute updates and send pictures.  I was able to hold the babies as soon as i felt well enough... in the first 2 cases, in the NICU an hour later when I could be wheeled in and the 3rd time in my room right after recovery.


I felt really well cared for and respected.  They were good experiences for me, and the most important part, of course, was having healthy babies and a healthy me- no matter how they came out.



Snapdragon's Avatar Snapdragon 07:52 PM 09-28-2012

hi, I am so sorry that your 2nd birth was so traumatic. I do think it is possible to have a loving peaceful c section. I have only had one birth and it was an attempted homebirth turned c section. And while the healing up from it and changes to my body were pretty challenging, the birth itself was pretty peaceful and loving and I still think of it with a happy feeling! And the reason for this is because it ended up that the people around me- the doctors and nurses who happened to be the ones in the hospital when I gave birth- were very kind and peaceful. Had it ended up being someother doctors and nurses that I have come accrosss in my life that I find less kind and peaceful I don't htink it would have been as good! So I guess my point is if you can find a doctor and nurses who you feel good with as best as you can that can really help the whole thing be good. The nurses in thw hospital who cared for me in the first days after were also really kind to me and my husband was with me the whole time. If you have a couple of options of hospitals do take the time to visit each of them and see if one feels more friendly and supportive to you than another. I know there are a couple different hospitals in my area and for whatever reason the birthing place in one of them (where I had my child) is just a much nicer place than the other one!

RuthieJ's Avatar RuthieJ 07:43 AM 10-01-2012

Thank you, everyone!  I'm so happy to read about peaceful c-section experiences.  Snapdragon, I don't have a choice of which hospital to attend in my area, but I did get a recommendation from a friend for an OB, so hopefully that will work out.  I don't start going to her for care until January, so I won't know until then what her thoughts are on a planned c-section in these circumstances. 


Kaydove, thank you for the book recommendation.  I will try to find it in the library here.


I'm 12 wks along now, but waiting as long as I can to tell others about the pregnancy.  My mother was also traumatized by the birth of my son (she was not with me but was in the house, and panicked when she saw the ambulance and heard the midwives shouting), and since then she has been adamant that she doesn't want me to have any more children.  I feel like, subconsciously, she is angry with me for putting her through that experience.  Though she would never say so.  But our relationship hasn't been the same since, and I've never been able to talk to her about my own feelings about the experience.  I'm still trying to figure out how to tell her about this pregnancy, but I am hoping the c-section will make it more bearable for her.

HappyHappyMommy's Avatar HappyHappyMommy 07:47 PM 10-01-2012
Originally Posted by RuthieJ View Post

I'm 12 wks along now, but waiting as long as I can to tell others about the pregnancy.  My mother was also traumatized by the birth of my son (she was not with me but was in the house, and panicked when she saw the ambulance and heard the midwives shouting), and since then she has been adamant that she doesn't want me to have any more children.  I feel like, subconsciously, she is angry with me for putting her through that experience.  Though she would never say so.  But our relationship hasn't been the same since, and I've never been able to talk to her about my own feelings about the experience.  I'm still trying to figure out how to tell her about this pregnancy, but I am hoping the c-section will make it more bearable for her.


hug.gif RuthieJ. Do you think it would help to have a third party with you when you talk with your mother about your pregnancy?

RuthieJ's Avatar RuthieJ 06:51 AM 10-02-2012

HappyHappyMommy, that is a really good idea, and I hadn't thought of it before..  Thank you!  I will ask my sister if she will be there with me.  I am starting to show now and I'm not sure how much longer I can wait.

phathui5's Avatar phathui5 09:24 PM 10-11-2012

I have served as a doula for C-sections and I think that if you want the support of a doula, you should go for it. A doula who has experience with helping moms post-op can help you with nursing the baby after the surgery and she can be there with you in the OR to support you as the attention moves to the baby.

RuthieJ's Avatar RuthieJ 08:32 AM 10-17-2012

Thanks phathui5.  A good friend of mine is a doula and I asked her to be with me.  I think it will be reassuring to have her there for both me and my dh, even just to have someone to hold my hand if he has to leave for any reason.  She is (gently) encouraging me to talk to a friend of hers, a counsellor who specializes in birth trauma, but I am not sure if I want to dredge everything up.  I'm usually a calm, happy person and I cope with difficult things that have happened to me by not thinking about them.  Maybe that is not supposed to be the 'best' way but I don't really want to relive the brutality of that experience.


I'm getting really anxious about telling my mom. I'm really struggling with this. I have told some co-workers and close friends now.  But I wear baggy clothes whenever I am around my mom, I just feel horrible hiding my pregnancy and it brings back so many memories of having to keep secrets with my past history of CSA. :(  I have been having trouble sleeping.  I keep thinking about a time a few months ago, before I knew I was pregnant, I was having lunch with my mother and aunt, and something came up about my ds' birthday.  My mom said that she would never get over his birth, and my aunt said that my mom had suffered more than I had, because I 'only suffered physically' but my mom was emotionally traumatized.  I couldn't say a word, not one word.  I felt paralyzed.  I just stared at my plate and eventually just completely changed the subject.  I find it really hard to talk about my feelings with others, and it was really painful to have my feelings dismissed like that.  And I was shocked that they didn't realize that my ds' birth was a severe emotional trauma for me as well as physical.  Later, when my mom had gone, my aunt said to me, 'You know you can never have any more children because you don't know what it will do to your mother.'  I keep thinking about those conversations over and over again and I just feel so guilty that I am going to hurt my mom again.  She's been so happy lately, and I feel like the only thing I can do is at least wait as long as I can, because every day that I wait is another day that she won't have to be hurt.  I just know the moment is coming when I'm going to have to tell her and I don't have any idea how best to tell her or if there is any way to make it any easier for her.  


Does anyone have any experience with a situation like this, or any advice for how to tell difficult news?

MeepyCat's Avatar MeepyCat 08:59 AM 10-17-2012

Oh RuthieJ, I'm so sorry you're having to deal with such, for want of a better word, idiocy.  And self-centeredness. 


I urge you, though, to retake the emotional territory, at least in your head.  This pregnancy, and this birth, and your last pregnancy and birth, are not about your mother.  They are about YOU and YOUR children.


The plain fact is that people who are determined to take offense can find a reason to do it no matter how you give them the news.  That means it's best to figure out what *you* want to do, and go with that.  It sounds like you might feel better if you didn't have to keep this a secret, so don't.  If you send them an email, they can respond to it in private before they respond in front of you, which might give them a chance to get anything stupid that they might do or say out of their systems without you having to see or hear it.  They can call each other and talk about how hard this is on them, and then they can get in touch with you when that's all done, and they've had a chance to remember that they're embarrassing themselves when they talk that way, and this really is good news.  We hope.

Snapdragon's Avatar Snapdragon 11:28 AM 10-17-2012

Wow, big hugs to you, dear one! I feel such compassin for your situation! That is a huge load of guilt that your aunt and mother are passing on to you that you do not deserve.  It is not your fault! Not the childhood sexual abuse, and certainly not your traumatic birth. And for anyone to dare tell you that in addition to the pain you sufferred you were also to blame for your mom's feelings? That is just a wrong concept to put on someone. It sounds like your aunt and mom are choosing to put blame on you for some of their pain which is really not right for them to do to a child- but very likely they are not even aware they are doing it, as they are probably acting from a place of pain and feelin somewhat broken too.


The way to end the cycle is to emotionally step into your own self loving space and create a clear distinction in your mind about what your aunt and mom feel and what is true- and what you feel.  So when they tell you that you hurt your mom more than you hrt yourself- ideally you could see them as a hurt inner child lashing out at you, and perhaps feel compassion. But know that they are telling their own story.


Then, if you can- start now to create a shield of sorts around you of only loving people and loving feelings, especially stemming from you to yourself! Like a little island of love (in your thoughts/mind) that is free of the criticism from anyone- even your mom and yourslef. Criticism from a parent is so hard for everyone because of how important our parents are to us.


I wuold say try to just find a way to seperate yourself from anyone else's judgement, forgive yourself for everything- wipe your slate clean and start from here internally.  If you believe in God then call on God to fill you with strength and love. If you don't then find whatever it is that gives you a sens of being cared for and loved unconditionally- perhaps from your spouse or any friends who really accept you.


And then choose only people who allow you to feel safe- and who will not have any guilt or drama to lay on you- to attend your birth.  A doula is a great idea. And even if you won't know the exact doctor, just having one or two people you trust around you will help a lot.

I think if you can find a place away from that burden they are rying to hand you- if you can say to your aunt (perhaps silently in your head) "no thanks, I refuse your guilt story, take it somewhere else", that would feel good.

And then tell your mom whenever you feel right about it. If you need to hold it private for now it sounds like you need to protect it- then do that.

Tell when you want to. Best of luck!

RuthieJ's Avatar RuthieJ 11:42 AM 12-12-2012

Just a quick update.  I did eventually tell my mother, and while it was pretty horrible initially, she has had time to process it now and seems to be doing much better.  And I am extremely relieved to have that 'hiding' stage overwith.  Thanks again for all the support.

RuthieJ's Avatar RuthieJ 06:02 PM 01-22-2014

Over a year has passed since I posted, but I wanted to share the update.  I ended up connecting with a very supportive doula friend who helped me immensely.  As the months went on I changed my mind completely and realizing that I was strong enough to face a vaginal birth again.  I had to do a lot of emotional work in preparation and face some difficult feelings from my past. But as the birth drew nearer I felt more and more confident and calm.  My beautiful daughter was born at 42 weeks, in hospital with my husband and doula at my side, an absolutely incredible, healing, powerful birth, fast and smooth and unlike anything I had experienced with the first two.   Thank you to all of you for your support, it really helped me face my fears and seek the help I needed.  My little sweetheart is now 9 months old and is a lovely, happy baby who has brought so much joy to our family.

fruitfulmomma's Avatar fruitfulmomma 03:26 PM 01-23-2014
Oh, yay! Congratulations!!!