You might be one of the lucky ones who had a smooth birth experience where everything happened the way you had envisioned. Or you might have had a difficult, traumatic labor that you are still trying to process.
Just the fact that we have to say ‘you are lucky’ when you have had the birth experience you wanted goes to show that very few people have a satisfying birth experience.
It goes without saying that there is a lot outside of our control when it comes to childbirth and we have to be flexible. And of course what matters is that we have a healthy baby and that we are safe!
What I’ve noticed though is that anytime the subject of birth comes into a conversation (mind you, probably more in the conversations I am a part of because of my profession), people will always share what happened during their labor even if it was 40 years ago… And it becomes clear whether or not someone is still harboring negative feelings about their birth experience.
The first things that usually come up are around pain and the length of labor. But when we move into feelings territory, there is usually a lot to unpack. Most often people are dealing with feelings around not being heard. Feeling like things were happening and they had no say into what was going on. Being dismissed, being babied, their feelings being denied.
Feelings of betrayal, for instance when a care provider says one thing during the prenatal appointments but then handles the birth disregarding their patients wishes. Some people are left with a very traumatic experience feeling like they’ve been bullied during their labor and are left with feelings of anger and sadness.
Sometimes people feel like they failed because maybe they wanted a vaginal birth and ended up with a C-section and they don’t understand why it happened that way.
Telling a woman “you’ve had a healthy baby” is not enough. You Deserve to Feel Heard and your Feelings to be Validated!
I have designed a birth processing session to help guide you in this process where you can take the space to unpack all your feelings. A safe place where you can work on voicing, releasing your feelings and healing your birth experience.
During my own experience giving birth to my daughter, I remember at some point starting to feel like things weren’t progressing. At first I addressed my feelings and questioned if there was anything going with me emotionally that maybe I was not voicing. But I realized that actually I was feeling fine and coping well. Once I did this check in, I felt that probably my daughter was not in an ideal position that’s why my progress was taking longer. And that’s why the sensations of labor were pretty localized to one part of my pelvis.
I remember asking my midwife in between surges if maybe the baby was stuck (I even have a video of that moment) to which she answered no. Ultimately I had been right, she was not coming down ideally but my midwife dismissed my concerns and I had to have interventions in the end which was not my birth plan.
Of course it took me a while to process this. Ultimately we did what we could with what we had at that moment… However I want to think about how I will talk to my daughter about the day she was born. And what I want her to know is that Birth is Powerful, Intense, Beautiful and Empowering and that her body is capable of incredible things. And I will teach her that her feelings matter and that she deserves to feel heard and her feelings validated.
How are you able to talk about the birth of your baby today? If you feel like you need some help reach out at firstname.lastname@example.org