So here we are.
It’s been a while and I’m sorry for that. I guess I lost my mojo a little bit (if I even ever had one). I write like people read this but I’m not really sure if anyone does, oh well, I’m going to write something anyway. It always feels good to get words out.
I wanted to talk about something that has been on my mind for a while, something that is very important to me. Arth’s birth was very traumatic, I still believe it was a very big trigger/ part of developing post natal depression and anxiety. It was not at all how I had hoped/planned and everything that I was terrified of happening, happened.
A big part of feeling that heaviness of feeling “weak” and that is was a “bad birth” I think stemmed from having too many people almost boast “I didn’t have any pain relief at all”, “I had a completely natural birth”, or “my labour was 48 hours long”. This may be an unpopular opinion and I am in no way saying how you give birth and labour should not be celebrated. It is bloody hard. However you do it, you are incredible.
Yes, it is natural. Yes our bodies are “designed” for it. But that does not mean it doesn’t hurt, because trust me it really bloody hurts. If you had a natural, pain relief free, short birth, good on you. If you had csection with allll the pain relief, good on you. It’s not a competition. And sometimes I felt during pregnancy like there was such pressure from others to have a “good birth” how others perceived it to be.
It almost felt like if you had an epidural, or an assisted delivery you were coping out. I felt like during Arth’s labour I needed to try and prove, i don’t know to who, but someone, everyone, that I could do it with minimal pain relief. And that I could do it naturally. Like having help, not being able to push was wrong, made me weak and not cut out for giving birth. Writing it down it now just seems so crazy that I thought that way but I did.
When I was pregnant with George I knew I didn’t want the birth to be anything like Arthur’s. It was so traumatic, I still think about it now. I remember talking to the consultant and she explained after a traumatic vaginal birth, having a second one, if it went well could be quite healing. It could show you how positive birth could be. But I couldn’t get past my fears, who knows if I am lucky enough to have a third baby, maybe I will look into having a natural birth again.
But truth be told, I really believe the planned csection with George helped to relieve so much anxiety. Of course I still went into spontaneous labour because babies often don’t go along with the plan but I still had the calm, controlled birth I had always hoped for. Of course birth cannot always go the way you hope. It cannot always be “controlled” because it is something that has aspects that is just out of our control.
However, you can have preferences, you can explain your choices. Use your voice, if you believe that a csection is important to protect your mental health than speak up. It does not make you weak, it does not mean you are not strong. It doesn’t mean your “too posh to push” (hate that phrase). Epidurals, spinal injections, having pethidine, it doesn’t magically take away all the pain. It doesn’t make you heal faster postpartum, none of those things are magic fixes.
Labour is hard, birth is hard. If you find it easy, if you weren’t in hardly any pain, that is awesome. Celebrate that shit. Because that’s amazing for you and wonderful. But don’t use that against other peoples fears, don’t invalidate how someone else feels. Don’t compare, because we are all different. If someone is scared, if someone has questions and fears, listen. That’s what I try to do. I bring in my own experiences if they ask for them.
I’m real about it. Not to scare, not to make people feel afraid of what could happen but just to be real and honest. If you had a wonderful labour and birth that you enjoyed, you are incredible. If you had a traumatic, hard, unpredictable labour and birth, you are incredible too.
And lastly, just because you didn’t enjoy it doesn’t mean you don’t love your baby, it doesn’t mean you won’t bond together in time. If you need to talk someone about your birth, don’t be afraid to reach out.
Hopefully I’ll be back to write some more soon if you want to stick around.
Love, Kate. X