She has been kind enough to share the experience of her first delivery.
Here’s Jen –
The birth of my first baby was very traumatic for me.
I remember sitting in birthing class a few days before he was born and listening to the horror story of a mom who had delivered at the hospital that weekend. It went something like….she labored for 24 hours, and then pushed for hours, and ended up having a c-section after all that pushing. I remember thinking she basically had to have the baby twice.
That’s not going to happen to me
But I didn’t really pay attention when they covered c-sections because that part was for other women. I was young, strong, and healthy. I’d had a relatively easy pregnancy with no complications. I was going to go into labor without being induced and just pop my baby out.
And then the horror story from birthing class became my story.
I made it to 41 weeks and was scheduled for an induction. I was just waiting for the call from the hospital to come in. All night and all day I had painful but irregular contractions, and so much back pain. But I didn’t go in because the hospital was going to call me soon anyway.
In the end, I labored close to 24 hours, pushed for 2 or 3, and then I had a c-section. I was so completely exhausted and in so much pain that my thoughts when I first saw my baby were, “I”m going to die, but at least they saved the baby.”
The world was spinning and I felt completely detached from my body. And then someone handed me a baby. And told me to feed it. With my body. I would have been equally overwhelmed and confused if they’d asked me to clean the Statue of Liberty with my tongue. I was sure I would drop him and just wanted to close my eyes. I spent 4 days in the hospital recovering and trying to figure out how I was supposed to take care of a newborn when I couldn’t even get out bed to go to the bathroom by myself. One nurse gave me nipple shields to try and get breastfeeding to work, and the nurse on the next shift threw them away. Those nipples shields became a metaphor for my early days as a new mom. I didn’t have a clue what to do. Even the experts who were supposed to help me couldn’t agree on how I should handle my life.
Is this how I’m supposed to feel?
I was so angry and I didn’t even realize it. I’d get so angry when I’d see women up and running just a few days after having a baby. I’d remember how, at that point in my recovery, I had to pull myself using the sides of the bed just to turn over without screaming in pain.
I was angry at my body for not doing what it was supposed to do. When I’d find myself in a group of women swapping birth stories I’d get so anxious and angry. It felt to me like having babies was a competition and I had lost.
I was reeling. My body eventually recovered but I didn’t realize the emotional pain I was in. And so that healing process took longer. A lot longer.
I wish someone had told me it was okay to be angry. It was okay to be sad. Having a c-section might not really phase you, but it might REALLY throw you for a loop. And you might need to heal from it emotionally. I knew that plenty of women have c-sections and that some even prefer them. So, I thought I should just be fine and move on. I told myself, “It’s not a big deal.” And I tried to stuff down my feelings, because I believed I should have been able to handle this.
Let it all out
If you find yourself where I was….let yourself get angry, or sad, or whatever you need to feel. Write a letter to whomever or whatever you’re angry at. Let it all out. And then rip that letter to shreds. Make a list of all the things you lost when you had a c-section. Maybe you lost the ability to birth the way you wanted, trust or respect for your body, confidence, your flat stomach, the ability to exercise without a twinge of pain. Write WHATEVER you feel.
Find a friend or a counselor, or a support group. Find someone you can talk to that will help you acknowledge and work through your feelings. And if you can’t find anyone who understands what you’re going through direct message me! I’d love to hear your story and remind you that you have suffered a loss. And if you feel angry, guilty, or depressed, that’s okay. Your emotions are real. They are valid. Your pain is real. And you are not “doing it wrong” because you feel the way you do. You are strong and amazing. And you are a good mom who obviously loves her child so very much to go through something like that for them.
I am so grateful to Jen for being willing to share her story. When she was writing it she told me that she hadn’t realized the emotions that she still had from this birth. She was grateful for the opportunity to write this out because it helped her process her feelings and emotions.
I hope Jen’s story has helped you in some way, if only for you to know that you are not alone.