I had a girls night the other night. While sitting at dinner I was chatting with the lovely Erin and we got to talking about birth.
She knows I’m a bit of an advocate for birth trauma and in her line of business (personal training mainly women), she’s found that it’s more common than not for women to experience a traumatic birth.
However we are not encouraged to talk about it.
We are not encouraged to seek help.
We are expected to be grateful for having a healthy baby, shut up and know what we are doing immediately after giving birth.
There are so many women who have a birth that doesn’t go to plan.
They may have had an emergency Caesarian, forceps delivery, dramas with the placenta such as placental abruption, placenta praevia, placenta just not working as it should, placenta not delivering properly after the birth of the baby.
With my fourth birth the placenta didn’t come out properly. I had the midwife pulling on the umbilical cord trying to get it out. She was pulling so hard that the cord broke. She was then on top of me pushing on my belly. There may have been a hand up inside, I can’t quite remember. (Writing this now I am realising this was pretty scary. I have blocked a lot of it out actually).
If you deliver vaginally, your vagina is so swollen you can’t sit down properly. You will find that putting a zooper dooper ice block inside a massive pad will be your new best friend.
You may get Milk Fever (I did with Hayden), where you get flu like symptoms when your milk comes in. (It was just another shitty thing to add to the trauma of his birth. I felt so ill, had the shakes yet still had to entertain visitors. Bullshit I tell you!).
On day 3, many women had a massive hormonal change which is commonly called the Day 3 Blues. You will cry and cry and cry. Often, new mums are already at home when this happens which I don’t think is good. It can be super scary if you don’t know that it is perfectly normal.
When you breastfeed right at the beginning, your uterus contracts with each suck. It can be incredibly painful, and this pain tends to get worse with each subsequent baby. I thought I would vomit from the pain!
Some women may have had a baby who was in distress, more bleeding than usual, damage to their vagina, bladder, a baby who swallowed meconium, a baby who ends up in the NICU, emergency surgery for the mother, or the completely unthinkable of a baby who doesn’t survive birth and you can’t take them home.
As you can see, there are so many things you don’t see in the Hollywood movies about child birth. It isn’t all immediate bonding, sweet smelling newborns and perfectly made up faces.
There is so much that can happen during childbirth which most people I believe aren’t prepared for. I have personally experienced nine things mentioned above.
And then after we give birth there is yet more things that happen which people don’t talk about.
The main thing that bothers me about post birth care for the mother is that there isn’t any.
You aren’t offered or shown where to find help or someone to talk to about what just happened, what is happening now and what will happen in the weeks and months following birth.
We are just chucked into motherhood, leaky boobs first.
If anyone needs or wants to message me to chat, PLEASE DO.
I am passionate about opening up these lines of communication and helping new mums to realise that they are not alone, they don’t need to put on a brave face to pretend they have it all together.
It’s a massive, life altering situation you find yourself in. It can be scary, daunting and a truckload of other emotions.
Reach out to the right people. It will make your experience much more bearable.