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Tuesday, June 30

Dealing With Birth Dissatisfaction and Resource List

IMG_3101 So you have a happy, healthy baby but you’re still feeling disappointed in your labor and birth experience? Do you feel ashamed for not feeling more grateful for what you have? Don’t. Recently I wrote about my disappointment with my birth experience. That post received a lot of feedback, most of which entailed “yeah, me too!” You are not alone. And you need not feel shame.

Since writing that post I had an experience that really helped me move on and I wanted to share what I learned. I was reading a story (sorry, the link is now dead) about a woman who lost her little girl to cancer and how she managed to survive that terrible loss. Within the comments on that story someone made a comment (and I’m paraphrasing) that acceptance is not approval.

Suddenly everything clicked into place for me. Accepting what happened during Lucy’s birth does not mean I am also approving of the way the doctors treated me. Sometimes things go badly. And sometimes it is because another person did something wrong. We can’t control chance nor other people. Bad things are simply a part of living. It is the price we pay for getting a chance to enjoy the good things. It is a price I’m willing to pay.

What I am not willing to do is let those doctors continue to bring bad into my life by dwelling on their inexcusable behavior. And it’s a great relief to know that choosing to let go and move on has nothing to do with condoning their actions and everything to do with my freedom and taking back the power they took from me. Nor does accepting that I didn’t get the birth I planned mean that I no longer think my wishes were worthwhile.

If you’re unhappy with your birth experience I hope the idea that acceptance is not approval will help you move on. If your experience was more traumatic (c-section or other birth trauma) I hope that some of the following resources will help you.

  • Birth Trauma Canada: “Birth Trauma Canada is an organization of mothers traumatized by childbirth. Traumatic stress disorders and depression are normal reactions to severe physical and/or psychological stress.”
  • Birth Stars: “Birth Stress, Trauma, and Recover Support: Helping people traumatised by childbirth.”
  • The Birth Trauma Association: “The Birth Trauma Association (BTA) supports all women who have had a traumatic birth experience. It is estimated that, in the UK alone, this may result in 10,000 women a year developing Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).”
  • Healing Birth Trauma: A forum for women dealing with birth trauma of various kinds.
  • More Than a Traumatic Birth: A short article (among many) on the topic of “birth rape.”
  • Recovering from a Cesarean: A short guide to the physical healing required after a c-section.
  • Healing the Trauma: An article on PTSD as it relates to birth.
  • Solace For Mothers: "An organization designed for the sole purpose of providing and creating support for women who have experienced childbirth as traumatic." {Thanks to Mama Blogess for the link!}
  • ICAN: The International Cesarean Awareness Network

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7 Stubborn Stains:

Joni Surette-Nelson said...

I wouldn't say that I had a traumatic birth--luckily we had a natural bith as we had wanted. But, we were very unhappy with the way the Drs and nurses treated us and for a few things that they did. Being able to accept what happened without approving of it does help with stomaching the situation. It's just a shame to hear that so many women have had horrible births--it makes one wonder what's wrong with the way that birth is being perceived by the medical community today. It should be such a beautiful, natural experience and seems to be that it very rarely is.

Holly Noelle @ Domestic Dork said...

If you've never read this book I highly recommend it! http://www.amazon.com/Pushed-Painful-Childbirth-Modern-Maternity/dp/0738210730

JanMary said...

"Acceptance is not approval" - I am definitely going to remember that.

A great post which I hope will be an encouragement to many.

mamablogess said...

Another resource for your list is www.solaceformothers.org There are many resources on our website for women who have experienced birth trauma, including a private (not viewable by none members, non-googleable) disussion board for women with birth trauma to get peer support.

Holly Noelle @ Domestic Dork said...

Thanks mamablogess! I'll add that to my list!

Kayce Pearson said...

This post is beautiful. I have never thought of thinking about my birth this way.

It is genius

Lisa said...

You also missed the International Cesarean Awareness Network (ICAN)www.ican-online.org

I think I've finally, 8 years on, gotten to acceptance about my eldest's "birth". Not like I can go back & change it, anyway.

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