Join Date: Aug 2005
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|I don't know if there is enough interest to warrant it's own subforum, but I wonder if at least a sticky could be placed in the Birth and Beyond forum for the subject of disappointing birth experiences, which would include information about; disappointment or sadness about the birth or post partum experience, guilt or regret about some aspect of the birth or post partum experience, birth trauma, birth rape, and post natal post traumatic stress disorder. It should also include information about dealing with issues surrounding a disappointing or traumatic birth experience, including what options there are for help for the mother and the baby to process and move on from the experience.
The reason I suggest this is because I see a steady stream of threads come through the Birth and Beyond forum that pertain to birth trauma. They ask things like; how to deal with the trauma, how to move past it, how to prepare for the next birth, and where did they go wrong in their birth experience that led to the traumatic aspects.
I have seen many replies to these types of threads. Some are wonderful and helpful, but others I am afraid are simply not sensitive enough to the specific issues surrounding birth trauma. For example, a woman will come on who rarely has ever posted before and she makes a thread about how horrible her birth was and how her OB pressured her to do this and that and how awful and guilty and depressed she feels now and how this has affected every waking moment of her life since the birth and her bond with her baby. Then some well meaning poster comes on and says something to the effect of, "well, you shouldn't have allowed them to do xyz because that led to this other thing which led to this other thing which all added up to trauma for you", or "this is why people have homebirths", or they suggest things that could have been done to make it go better. It's not that their replies are wrong in any way, and I am sure a homebirth or natural birth advocate feels like she aught to take every opportunity to educate the public about birth options, however, to a traumatized woman this kind of thing sounds like blame and it leads to shame, guilt, and more depression.
Some of these women post only weeks or months after their traumatic experiences and sometimes get answers that make me feel so badly for them as I know from experience how they are going to internalize the comments that are made. I feel that this is one of those sensitive issues that is very difficult to understand or respond to in a productive way unless you yourself have been through it or you have a great deal of experience and knowledge about it. I know that it must seem to many posters to be the perfect opportunity for a lesson about why certain birth options are better than others, and to point out exactly where the situation went wrong. I can understand this desire to show that the woman's body is not to blame, or the natural process of childbirth, or the option of natural birth, but that the system is to blame. However, the poster may feel that she herself is to blame, and any minor insinuation that she may have chose the wrong care provider or birth options may just devastate her. Especially if she is in the early months after the trauma, or if she is suffering from undiagnosed PTSD or PPD.
I think if there was a subforum called 'disappointing birth experiences' it could have it's own guidelines on what is appropriate to post. Also, it could have some resources that would give women some immediate help and guidance. At the very least it would be nice to have a sticky in the Birth and Beyond forum that would provide resources for women who are traumatized or sad about their birth experience. Then even if they do post in Birth and Beyond and get some questionable comments, at least they will also have some good resources to utilize in order to get the help they need elsewhere.
It just occurred to me, we've had some discussions in the c-section tribe about a c-section forum as well. Would there be enough interest if we could have one combined subforum for all of us who didn't or can't have perfect/easy/natural/etc. births? I'm thinking of:
Medically necessary c-sections (and planning for future ones)
Discussing past c-sections
Traumatic birth experiences
Hospital births/interventions for medical reasons (e.g. PROM, pre-e, baby's medical condition)
Along the lines of the "breastfeeding challenges" subforums, perhaps it could be called "birth challenges," and be a haven for everyone who didn't or can't get the birth they wanted.
I always had high blood pressure from the time I was in high school. Numerous drs told me I should look at getting on medication to help control it, but I never did. So, while I was prego with my first, my b/p was a concern, but they didn't want to deal with trying to start/regulate me on starting meds then. At a routine dr appt at 37 weeks, I was rushed straight to the hospital for bloodwork for preclampsia (sp?). I was given magnesium sulfate in fear that my b/p was too high and I'd go into seizures. I was given medication to help induce labor. The next day and a half were a blur - I don't remember much of anything. I remember the nurses telling me when I was having a contraction (based off of when the machines I was hooked up to indicated I was having them). I couldn't feel much of anything, and was so hazy due to the mag sulf. After about 2 hours of "hard" labor (so I was told), my son was born. I was so out of it, I barely remember the birthing experience, and I don't remember the first times I saw or held my son. That still hurts me, the not remembering. It took a couple days before I was really even coherent. For a long time, I beat myself up - if I had gotten on b/p meds when I was younger, would the birthing process have turned out better? Would I have gotten preclampsia? Then, a friend recommended eating bananas to help naturally regulate my b/p, and that actually helped! Yet another reason to feel guilty - that I didn't learn that sooner.