A different kind of loss
The Loss of a dream, the expectation of a natural child birth
Last week was pregnancy and infant (child) loss week and we remembered and honored all the babies who lived; yes even the ones miscarried at any week lived, and left us too soon. It is one of those days that we sadly do not like commemorating or remembering but we sadly have to as it honors the lives of the little ones who are very precious to us.
Today, I however want to talk a different type of loss. The loss of a dream. There are many mums to be, who hope to have a natural child birth. In fact in their minds there is no other way of giving birth, and they shut off their minds from, wait for it…cesarean section.
You see, from when we are young as women we are often told about birth or we overhear our aunts and mothers or older sisters taking about how painful it was, the tear the got or even how the midwives were helpful or sometimes not. So growing up many women know natural birth is the way to give birth.
I know that we also live in a time where many mums to be are also opting for a CS because of the fear of labor pain among many things but today I would like to speak to mums who feel their natural birth has been snatched from them.
Firstly, I would like to tell you that you are a mother and you are woman enough. You see, to have a CS is actually a major surgery, the doctor has to go through many layers to get to the baby and all those layers need to recover! So while the mums who gave birth naturally are walking around on day 1 or 2 after birth you need more time to recover because your recovery is prolonged and actually many mothers say they feel like their body does not feel like ‘it is theirs’. The thing you’ve done is bring forth life and a healthy one for that matter and that makes you a mum.
Secondly, you need to know that breastfeeding may take a while to be established because you need to go to recovery then eventually to your room then you get to bond with baby. To make this experience easier put your baby on your chest skin to skin and bond with her that way. Bonding with your baby even if you have been separated for while is still very important and the baby feels safe with you. Dad can also do skin to skin as he waits for you to leave theater and the baby gets the benefit of bonding with both parents immediately after birth! Once you are settled ask for help to get baby on the breast. The midwife can help, if you had a doula she will be very helpful at this time or one can also request for a lactation consultant or breastfeeding counselor.
Thirdly, talk about your feelings. If you are sad that you did not get the birth you wanted or you feel cheated out of a natural birth please talk about it. You can talk to your partner, the doctor as well who will be better placed to explained why it needed to be for example an emergency CS, you can debrief with your doula and she can help you figure out something’s or thought that you be having or you can also talk to mothers close to you who have gone through a similar experience.
Please, do not keep quiet and go through the experience by yourself, this easily lead to postpartum depression or anxiety and it takes away from you enjoying the baby.
Finally, do not compare your birth to someone else’s. As you mourn the loss of your dream it is very easy to sit and think about your sister’s birth or your friend’s natural birth and how short her labor was and how she quickly recovered from the birth and here you are feeling pain, tired and generally mentally tired.
Work through your emotions with the right support and get to a place where you know that in the end you had a baby, you are both healthy and if you had labored that you did your utmost best to have the birth you wanted and that’s what is important.