The birth of a child, especially a first child, represents a landmark event in the lives of all involved. For the mother particularly, childbirth exerts a profound physical, mental, emotional, and social effect. No other event involves pain, emotional stress, vulnerability, possible physical injury
The creation and birth of a new life is an awesome and beautiful thing. Such an event can be very unpredictable and chaotic. I was reading an article today about the effect of birth experiences on 1st time moms. The more medical interventions and the more control the doctors had over the birth, the higher the rate of postpartum depression and the higher the rate of mothers who stated they had a very negative birth experience.
I'm one of those women.
Although I don't think that I had full-blown postpartum depression, I definitely struggled with what felt like just more than baby blues. It didn't start till a few weeks after the babies came, and it lasted well over a month. What made it worse was that I was extremely hard on myself. I kept saying, "I should NOT feel like this. I have 2 awesome little boys and I am so thankful for them." I felt bad because there are plenty of people who are not even able to have children, yet here I am with 2 kids, constantly feeling sad and anxious. Those feelings only made things worse. Other contributing factors were our struggle with breastfeeding, lack of sleep, normalizing hormones, and the occasional arguments between Jeremy and I because of my emotional self. Even now, I feel like I'm just pitying myself, and I shouldn't be.
I really think that had my birth experience gone differently, I may not have struggled with all these things quite as much. I say may because I obviously can't know what would have happened if things that gone differently, but I do feel like a lot of my sadness came from my birth experience.
Women's bodies were made to deliver babies (with a very few having medical conditions that prevent them from delivering vaginally). God gave women the ability to be able to conceive, grow, and birth a child, and when that right is taken away, it is saddening and disheartening.*** It is the process of how the world has grown to the size it is now. One mother at a time, one child at a time (or more if you have multiples!), both begin a new life in such a short period of time. To be able to birth your child without any medical intervention is the most natural, empowering, and raw experience, and when that delivery is taken away from you, it is very depressing. The loss of control, the feelings of failure, the thoughts of inadequacy. All these emotions are ones that I dealt a lot with.
I know you might be reading this and thinking, "Sarah, get over it. Your boys are now 6 months old, totally healthy and happy, and how they got here doesn't matter.". Maybe you think I'm over dramatizing things. Maybe I am. But I can't help it. I think about these things often, and they often still bother me. I think about what could have gone differently, things that I should have done, things that I shouldn't have done, and things I will try to do differently next time. So you know how they say after deliveries that women forget all the pain of labor because of the rush of oxytocin? Yeah, I didn't get that. You miss out on that when they cut. So I remember my birth experience, I remember the pain and the disappointment. I get really anxious when I start to think about my next pregnancy and delivery. Yes, I'm going to try again to have a natural birth. I don't know where I will deliver or what type of medical personnel I want to have. I just know that things have to be different next time.
I'm sorry if I seem like I'm over-reacting. I'm not trying to be a drama queen. I'm not trying to get any pity. I'm just being open and real. These are my feelings, out in the open for you to read. You can tell me to just "get over it", you can tell me that people have had it much worse than me. I know those things, and that fact only makes me feel worse for still feeling bad about it. So that's that. I'm much better nowadays, which is why it has taken me so long to write this post. I can finally sit back and process these emotions. I'm OK now. But that doesn't mean that I don't remember, and that I'm not going to change things next time.
***My heart goes out to those who are unable to conceive a child, or who has lost a child. I cannot imagine the hurt that they feel, and I hope by writing this post that I am offending NO ONE. If I do, please let me know, so that I may rephrase my words or delete the post, to be less-offensive to others. I also do not want to offend anyone who has had or wants to have an elective cesarean section. I am thankful that we are able to have a choice with our births, and those choices are personal and individual. I do NOT mean to judge anyone, and certainly not to judge the way they have chosen to give birth.