I ran across this article today on Mothering.com: The Secret Many Moms are Keeping
I believe it's true--many women that had traumatic births don't ever take the time to process it or heal from it as they move on to recovering themselves and caring for their newborn. Sometimes they think they're OK ("Hey, I got a healthy baby out of it") but the pain resurfaces years down the road.
You may not know that my first birth was what many people would label traumatic--if you consider an emergency hospital transfer traumatic. You can read the full story here: Andrew's birth story
The hard thing is that we'll never know if we could have avoided going to the hospital if I'd been checked sooner, or if we'd have ended up at the hospital, anyway. Of course if I'd been in the hospital from the start, it's possible that there would have been interventions and a very different outcome, too.
The hardest part is that my vision for my birth was completely taken away from me. Rushing to the hospital at the "ready to push" phase was no picnic, nor the chaotic twenty minutes between our arrival and his. Not hearing "It's a boy!", not holding him until after an hour, worrying about whether he was OK, not knowing what was going on with ME...definitely not what I'd been hoping for.
I look back and wish that the midwives would have checked me sooner. I wish Drew had insisted. I wish I'd known what the urge to push felt like and that they'd coached me to push harder.
YES, I met my goal: natural child birth and a healthy baby. But the rest of it was ripped away from me.
My recovery was challenging, too, and not being able to sit up unassisted for several days meant that I quickly learned how to nurse laying down, which meant that we surreptitiously became a co-sleeping family.
Birth is rarely what we expect it to be.
In fact, with my second, I was determined to have another natural birth, even if it was "as bad" as the first. But instead it was absolutely by the book, even to the amazement of my nurses and doctor. We started timing contractions at 3am, left for the hospital around 6am, was all set up in the delivery room by 7am and he was born at 8:21am!! They put him on my chest and let the cord stop pulsing and I held him for almost an hour before they took him to clean him up, then returned him immediately to me and we've been together ever since. SUCH a different story.
The important thing, I think, is that women need to share their stories. The good, the bad and the traumatic. We need to process it, to know that other women have been there, too, to hear stories that were better or worse than ours. It's powerful and it aids in the healing process.
If you'd like to join a small community of supportive women, join my Facebook group: God Knits Facebook group
Women need each other! I hope to facilitate more conversations in the future. In the meantime, journal your thoughts and feelings or talk to a trusted friend. Or call me! (602) 349-1129