Someone shared a link to this article on ‘birth trauma‘ and it brought back floods of memories of my own birth experience. More specifically, it brought back my first birth experience which was traumatic for me, a first time mom at that time. What led to such a nightmarish experience was exactly what the article said. I basically went with the flow. That is why I can identify so much with the article.
Debby describes these women as expressing feelings of sadness, confusion, and often anger. “The effects are more far-reaching than most of us realise. The emotions can spill over into how women parent, how they relate with their partners, and even how they feel about themselves.”
Yes, the effect is far-reaching. In fact, there are studies to show that the aftermath of a bad birth experience is akin to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. After all these years, whenever I think of the first birth, I still feel angry (at myself), confused, incredible sadness, even grief, and regret. The big “WHY?” question always pops up. Even though I know technically why it happened that way, this is more of a philosophical ‘why’, as in ‘why did this happen to me?’ that victims of tragedies would ask. I am not really angry with the obgyn. I know he was doing his best with the best intention. The overall care that I received from him over the years shows me that he is a good doctor, a good person. I am more angry with myself, I guess, for allowing all these things to happen. I am angry with the “system” as it was, for denying me the knowledge that I could have options. Actually, I cannot even blame the ‘system’ because I know that all the information was out there if I wanted to seek it out. But I didn’t. Like most women, I took things for granted. I was naive and in a way, I was also “bo chap” (coundn’t care less attitude). After all, how complicated can birth be? You suffer a few hours of pain, and out pops the baby, right? The doctor is just there to do whatever he has to do to make sure that things don’t go downhill, right? How wrong I was!
You may think : what’s the big deal? It’s been more than 10 years. Get a grip already and stop harping on it!
But that’s precisely my point. You will feel better with time, especially if there are good birth experience subsequently, or if there has been some form of therapy to help deal with those feelings. But you never really get over it. That’s why whenever I see new-moms-to-be, I want to grab them by their shoulders, look them in the eyes and urge them to think about the birth experience they want and not “go with the flow” or take things for granted because whatever happens will remain with them forever.
Despite what happened, I was blessed because I did not end up with a C-section after 2 days of labour. Many others, even among my own friends, are not as fortunate.
So if you are pregnant for the first time, think about the kind of birth you want and actively prepare yourself for it. To quote from the article, ‘Unfortunately the question is not, “Are you going to go with the flow?” In our current birthing climate, the real question is, “Just whose flow are you going with?”‘