Anyone who has suffered with post-birth trauma has probably had this phrase chucked at them along with a handful of other unhelpful and isolating phrases.
Yes-ultimately, giving birth to a healthy baby is the main goal, but mum’s feelings are incredibly important too. If a mum doesn’t get the birth experience she longed for, if things went wrong during labour, or even if the birth went to plan; she can still suffer with a post natal mental health illness and she has every bloody right to feel sad and mournful, even if you don’t see ‘what the big deal is’.
Every woman has the right to make an informed decision on her birth plan and if her wishes and desires are ignored, belittled or have to change in an emergency then this can have a great impact on her mental health.
For example some mums want a home birth, some mums want a water birth, some mums want an epidural, some mums opt for a caesarean due to previous birth trauma, some mums want to free birth and if their plan is hindered then it can cause feelings of failure, guilt, grief, anger, isolation and in some cases it can even make a mum feel like she doesn’t love her child. (It is important to note that just because someone is suffering with PND or post natal trauma then it does not mean they don’t love their baby or that they have ill feelings towards their baby.)
Most of the time these feelings can be resolved within weeks or months at most with the correct support, information, therapy and love. But recovery and bonding with their baby can actually be pro longed if they feel isolated and are being made to feel worse than they already do.
I asked some women online about phrases that really affected them and made them feel worse and also prevented some from seeking help as they felt ashamed and guilty.
- “Oh, other people would kill to be in your position!”
- “Just put him on a bottle, you’ll get more sleep and feel better”
- “These things happen”
- “Well, at least they let you do things the easy way with the c-section”.
- “My friend had pnd she found going for a walk really helped”
- “He shouldn’t be with you if you’re feeling like that”
- “You had an easy birth compared to some people, you should be happy!”
Every single birth and birth plan is different and no one should be made to feel ashamed for their feelings if they didn’t have the birth they wanted.
When my son was a newborn I couldn’t even think about the emergency caesarean without crying and feeling huge pangs of guilt. I felt like I had failed him. I don’t know why I felt this as I look up to other mums who have had caesareans and think they are amazing as the healing and recovery is awful.
I remember waking up when Freddie was 2 days old, we were back home by this point and I woke up in so much pain, I couldn’t even describe it. I waddled to the toilet balling my eyes out, I felt like I couldn’t survive. Those feelings probably seem so dramatic to some people but that doesn’t make my experience any less valid.
The emergency caesarean stopped me from bonding with my son for a while and if it wasn’t for breastfeeding him then I’m not sure how long it would have taken to bond with him! I felt good knowing that he NEEDED my milk to stay alive and that’s what got me through. When he was a few weeks old an overwhelming sense of love just hit me in the face and I knew right then that I loved him more than anything.
Don’t let anyone brush your feelings aside as if they do not matter. Because they DO. You matter, your birth matters and most of all the relationship between you and your baby matters.
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