Today we are sharing a wonderful guest post by our friend Rachel Maree, if you would like to learn more about Rachel after reading her post, we have included her social links & author bio down below! Let us know what you think about her guest post!
In this day and age so much of what we do is planned, predictable and controlled. It is no surprise that this extends into pregnancy and our expectations of how labor will go.
No matter how much control we like to believe we have, childbirth can be completely random.
The baby who has been positioned perfectly for childbirth for the last few weeks may turn. The mum who barely experienced any morning sickness may vomit during her whole labor (prime example being yours truly). The hard fact is, we just don’t know how our bodies and minds will react to labor, or how it will progress. Life loves to throw us a curve ball when we least expect it.
When Labor Doesn’t go As Planned
When labor doesn’t go according to your birthing plan it can be so disappointing, frustrating and upsetting. You may even feel guilty and like you have failed. (You have NOT).
So how do you cope when you feel disappointed in your birthing experience? How do you overcome those feelings so you can simply enjoy the tiny little human you created?
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1. Honesty is the best policy!
Really, it is. Express your true feelings about the labor, Hold them up to the light and expose them. It can be a huge challenge admitting how you are truly feeling, but by being real with yourself and your loved ones you can start the journey to healing.
If you push those feelings aside they may force themselves out in the future, to the detriment of yourself and those around you. Think a ticking time bomb!
2. Talk about it.
This really goes hand in hand with being honest about your feelings. Find a trusted loved one (your partner, a family member, a close friend) and tell them your birth story.
Every little detail.
From beginning to end. And don’t censor or filter it. You need to debrief and vent. You need to get out all the gory details, the pain, the frustration, and the fear. This will help you process. Talking about it really does help.
If you feel like you cannot talk about it at this point in time, write it down. And be brutally honest. The point is to get all those emotions out and unload. What part of your labor are you disappointed in? Why? What do you feel you have lost by not being able to have a “natural delivery”?
3. The power of positive Thinking
Initially, it will be difficult to focus on anything positive if you had a particularly traumatic birthing experience. However, once you have debriefed and you feel those negative emotions are less intense think back to your labor. Focus on any positives you can think of. If you cannot think of anything ask your birthing partner what they believe were the best parts.
Don’t shake your head and think that it was all bad. Here are some things to consider:
- It takes incredible strength and willpower to endure a prolonged labor, especially if it then progresses to an emergency caesarean.
- To let go of the idea of a “natural” birth and agree to an assisted birth or a C-section takes great courage.
These are just 2 instances of where you may have showed your strength. There will be so many more, and when you really dig down deep and consider your birthing experience from every angle, you will come up with instances of great strength, courage and determination.
4. Don’t burden yourself with Blame or Guilt
As women we are all so great at blaming ourselves, at shouldering guilt. You need to try and shift this mode of thinking, to try and let go of the blame. Focus on your strengths as mentioned above!
Guilt and blame are such tricky emotions. You need to ask yourself why you feel guilty? Is it because societal pressures dictate what constitutes a “good labor”? Is it the expectations and pressure you have put on yourself?
If you struggle with the need for control and perfection, a labor plan that went sideways may be especially challenging for you to cope with. Again, you need to explore, challenge and hopefully move past this blame. Allowing yourself the time to heal emotionally and physically, being kind to yourself, and talking about how you are feeling can help.
5. Ask for help
If you are struggling, there is absolutely no shame in asking for help. If you need a shoulder to cry on, someone to talk to, or just 5 minutes of alone time with no newborn hanging off you, just ask. The hardest part is to be clear about what you need. You are sleep deprived, sore, and your emotions will be all over the shop. Your partner may have trouble reading your mind! So try remember to be straightforward and honest with how you are feeling.
After the first few months, if your birthing experience is still impacting your daily life and if you find that you cannot move past it than it may be time to seek professional help. Be it your maternal child health nurse, a therapist, or even a support group. The point is to find a professional and a space you are comfortable in to discuss your experiences and receive the help you need to heal and move forward.
It is such a cliché, but you will find that with time you will heal. Not just from the physical trauma of the birth, but the emotional impact too. Those negative feelings of frustration, guilt, anger and disappointment will slowly ease. In the meantime, be patient and kind to yourself.
Food for Thought
- Labor is unpredictable. We often cannot control it. Have a Plan A, B, C, D and E for next time (if there will be a next time)!
- Try to avoid thinking you are “less of a woman” because you did not have a so-called natural birth – what matters is you and your baby.
- Do not compare yourself to others, or their birth stories. Each and every birth is different, just as each and every woman and baby is different.
- There is so much more, and will be so much more, to your story then how your baby entered this world.
About the Author
Rachel Maree specializes in writing for small businesses in the health, fitness, pregnancy and parenthood industries. She is also a mum to 2 beautiful children and registered nurse. She loves her hectic life. It lends her inspiration and experiences to write intriguing, funny and informative articles and stories.