Birth is magical
Birth has the ability to change your life
Birth is transformative.
Sure, it is all of those things. It can also be long, exhausting, intense, challenging, and even traumatic. We do our best to prepare people for many variations of birth, but we don't have control over every aspect of the journey. I wish we did. I wish we had a crystal ball and could tell you EXACTLY how to achieve your birth goals, and it would magically happen.
But unfortunately the reality is. All Births don't feel magical.
Let's have a moment for the births that are grindy. The births that more than just deviate from the plan. The births that go squirrelly and unpredictable. The births that were supposed to feel magical and change your life, but now feel more like a failure
Take a breath, and give yourself a minute.
Then lets change the narrative. Your birth is NOT a failure if it doesn't go to plan. Your birth is still your child's birth and THAT is worth celebrating.
Here are a few tips on just where to start in recovering from a birth that didn't go to plan.
1: Decompress: Talk about your birth. From your perspective. If you've hired a doula this is a wonderful thing to do with them. Your doula can help fill in the gaps for you, talk about the series of events and answer any questions you may have. If you didn't have a doula then decompression can be done with a therapist, or even a trusted friend who has experience with birth and is a good listener.
2: Feel the feels: Don't brush them off. Don't ignore them. Don't convince yourself out of them. It is completely ok to feel whatever you need to feel about your birth. Mad, Angry, Sad, Disappointed, Frustrated, whatever it may be. Sit with your emotions. Let them wash over you. Its impossible to prepare for the variations of birth trauma that we try to avoid such as instrumental delivery or emergency cesarians.
3: Write it down. Within the first week or so, write down you baby's birth story. They will want to know someday how they entered this world and the details become fuzzy as time passes.
4: Have boundaries. If you don't want advice, or people to analyze your birth make sure you stop them in their tracks. Don't allow yourself to get into tough conversations with people that you don't want to have. Talk about your birth with the people who you feel safe and supported by.
5: Learn this: your definition of trauma is not the same as your neighbours. Someone may have been traumatized by their need for an epidural during a long birth, where someone else may have been traumatized by NOT getting an epidural they planned for. Just as you need others to respect your journey and perspective, understand that is their story.
6: Creating space for pleasure: important ALL the time, but even more so after a traumatic birth. Its easy as a mom to take over everything baby related and put your baby's need before your own. What's difficult is prioritizing your self. Feeling nourished, and supported in your healing process is a game changer. It will make huge differences in your healing. Make a plan with your circle to carve out moments of joy for you. Where being a mom isn't the number one goal. Have your partner take your baby for a drive so you can have a bath without the baby in ear shot. Leave the house and go walk around chapters by yourself.
Make time for nature, nourish yourself with accepting food from other people, and create joy wherever you can!