Post # 1
I know i’m new to this board, but I don’t know another place where I could ask this question and get a broad answer from a lot of different women.
Last year, in October, my sister gave birth to her wonderful baby girl. The birth experience was very traumatic for my sister, i don’t want to go into details since it’s her story and not mine, but it caused her a lot of stress, both physical and mental. She loves her daughter to pieces, but is still dealing with anger, and sadness and mental anguish over the birth experience. It’s casuing her issues now, because her husband wants another child. My sister does as well, she is still mentally unable to get past her birthing experience, and worries that having another child naturally will not be something she can handle. I don’t know how to help her through this time in her life, dealing with ‘getting over’ her birth experience (and i use quotes, because I dont expect her to get over it. It’s an event that happened that may effect her forever, and that’s ok), and figuring out if another child/birth is something she wants to do.
Has anyone had a traumatic birth experience and gone on to have another child? How can I help her move from the thoughts of “all my births will be as awful as the first” to something more positive? Any advice?
Post # 3
Hmm that is really hard.. It is difficult to give a lot of advise seeing how there isn’t too much detail as to what was so traumatic. I am a nurse that goes to a lot of high risk deliveries so I have seen my fair share of traumatic deliveries but never really anything to my knowlegde that I could see causing a Mother to have stress, fear and anger about for so long relating to the birth. so I am having a hard time understanding.
Was this October as in 6 months ago or a year and a half ago? Either way it sounds like she needs to seek some professional help to talk about what happened and healthy ways for her to process it and move forward. It isn’t healty or normal to harbor those feelings for so long. Is there any way she is dealing with post partum depression as well? And her Husband def needs to cool it with the “let have another kid” while she is still having this emotions. She needs to get in a better place first. As for you, it sounds like you are being a great sister. Just listen to her, and encourage her to talk to somebody. You can’t promise her that she will have a better delivery next time because that isn’t always the case.
Post # 4
I agree with the previous poster… We need to know a little bit about why it was so traumatic. If she nearly lost her life giving birth it’s different than ‘she wanted to give birth naturally and in a tub at home with a midwife, and ended up with every possible medical intervention to get the baby out’. Then we can help you better to try and help her and her husband.
Post # 5
I don’t think anyone else can help. Knowing the details doesn’t make any of us experts in her situation.
We all process life experiences in our own individual way and time. She will heal from this trauma when she is ready. She may never be ready to have another child and that’s ok too. Who amongst us is qualified to say “You need to have another chiild”?
All you can do is be there for her, if she wants to talk about it, and support her decision if she doesn’t.
Post # 6
@MrsDW: Actually, for this specific woman, “almost losing her life” and “I didn’t get the birth that I wanted” may not be that different at all. As @julies1949 said, every birth is a unique experience for that woman and the process and outcome shouldn’t be subjected to the value judgements of others. It could be as “simple” as not having been asked permission before internal vaginal exams, but one woman wouldn’t think anything of that and another may be quite traumitized by it. For some women, the feeling of losing all power and control in their birthing process, not being given adequate information and not being treated with respect and empathy are plenty to cause emotional distress that is difficult to process later.
@DelilahDiamond: She likely would benefit from counselling to help her explore her feelings and the issues involved so that she can proactively make plans to try to avoid a similar situation if she gets pregnant again. Also, *if* (and that’s a big if) her care provider is availabile and willing to talk to her about it, to debrief the birth and what exactly happened….that may help too. Sometimes a client comes to my care with a history of a less-than-ideal previous birth and I help them try to understand maybe what was happening from the care giver perspective, and what’s “standard” care in our community….NOT to convince them to change their mind or tell them their feelings are wrong, but rather to help them frame the situation with an understanding of the typical experiences and expectations.
Post # 7
I’ve had a lot of trouble with pregnancies. My oldest daughter’s birth was very traumatic. It was unexpected. I was just blind sided. Add on top of that the nursing staff was very unsympathetic and the surgeon and doctor were very evasive about answering questions.
With my second daughter, they knew she’d have to have surgery after birth at a 31 week ultrasound. They never told me until she was born. I felt lied to and deceived.
With this child, I was diagnosed with papillary cancer and again have problems with people telling me what I need to know.
I’m telling you this because if part of her trauma was from the people who were there, then it’s really hard to get past because you develop a distrust of the medical community in general. I don’t believe essentially anything they tell me anymore. I was fortunate this time to find a wonderful OB who I trust, so that has been helpful. At the end of the day though, I figure all the crap they throw at me is worth it for another child. But it took me awhile to get to this point. I’m still working through my distrust and I’m not sure I’ll ever believe another doctor again. I don’t think you really get over being deceived by someone in a position to exert that much control over your life. I think you just have to put it into some perspective and weigh out your options (is the baby at the end worth it? Maybe, maybe not.. maybe it’s not worth it and she needs to consider not going through it again)
There’s no guarantee next time will be easier or better. None of us are guaranteed anything.
Post # 8
@cdncinnamongirl: +1 I think it can be incredibly helpful to understand why things occurred and why the decisions made were made. Even if you disagree with the decisions, at least you can understand that the doctor/nurse/etc did what they felt was best.
Post # 9
The best thing is to seek someone to talk to about it, such as a professional.
Everyones birth experience will be different, and some people may see things as traumatic that others do not. My sons birth was extremely traumatic to both Darling Husband and I. He actually told his family to not ask about a second child as he could never ask me to go through everything again and that was before we even knew DS had complications. Long story short, I had hyperemesis all 9 months, pre-e, a 2 day induction, followed by a c-section I was not prepared for, and my son wound up in the NICU for 12 days due to seizures and a stroke. It was a horrible experience and we have no idea the future for our son because of it.
That said, would I do it again? I don’t know, but I do know that I would seek someone to talk to about everything as I still haven’t accepted everything (it’s not even been 3 months) if Darling Husband was wanting another and I was too. It’s the best thing to do as you really need to come to terms and accept the birth.
Post # 10
@DelilahDiamond: I know a friend who healed her traumatic birth experience 5 years later by seeing an amazing osteopath. Your sister could also see a regular talk therapist. Maybe some EMDR too, that’s really effective for reducing trauma held in the body. She needs to learn to trust her body again, and probably will make some different decisions about the type of birth she wants a second time around, and will need to be supported in that.
Post # 11
Thank you for all the advice. I’m gonna talk to my sister about talking to a professional about moving forward with this. I think it would help her. I might also talk to my BIL about not pushing another child on her so soon.
Thank you so much!
Post # 12
I’m so sorry your sister is going through this. I agree with the other bees, that speaking with a professional would probably be a big help. I had a pretty traumatic birthing experience, and I just couldn’t make myself go through it again, which is why I only have one child.
Post # 13
I felt like I had trouble “getting over” the birth of my daughter. I was very disappointed in the lack of understanding from my doctor. I found the Birth Trauma Association website to be very helpful.