“The most difficult part of birth is the first year afterwards. It is the year of travail – when the soul of a woman must birth the mother inside her. The emotional labour pains of becoming a mother are far greater than the physical pangs of birth; these are the growing surges of your heart as it pushes out selfishness and fear and makes room for sacrifice and love. It is a private and silent birth of the soul, but it is no less holy than the event of childbirth, perhaps it is even more sacred.” – Joy Kusek
I have three children and three deliveries and I know that birth never goes exactly as you plan and imagine it.
Sometimes it can be a nice surprise, but sometimes you can feel that everything was wrong and should not have been the way it really was.
This is hard, especially if things go not as planned during your first birth.
When I work with families who just got a baby we often talk about how our expectations, that did not come true, can make the first days with the baby really hard. We blame ourselves and feel disappointed with our bodies, that they did not do what they were supposed to do. We feel guilty about the decisions we had to make and that brought us when we do not want to be, even if those decisions were necessary to make.
In the modern culture these real stories and disappointments are often being curated and hidden from others. We are only willing to share the perfect happy picture.
By doing so and keeping the hard stuff to ourselves, we do not know how to be really present for the people who do have the courage to speak up about the way they feel and bout difficult things they are going through.
We often do not know how to deal with the negative things and how to support each other. Often we just try to brush all the negative emotions as quick as possible and give a positive advice. This attitude can make someone struggling with something bad in her life feel really lonely.
Sometimes simply being present will help someone deal with the negative emotions.
It is very important to realize that feelings are normal, even if they are negative.
As parents we have to deal with our negative feelings and negative feelings of our children every day!
I had planned for an at home birth with my second son, but had to go to the hospital after all. In the hospital my son was born and got some hospital infection and had to get antibiotics, spinal puncture and endless blood test.
I was just crying for days and days, while everyone in the hospital were telling me that „oh why are you so upset? it is just a small infection!“, „your baby will be fine! you should be happy!“.
But all I could feel was grief. I was grieving over not having the birth at home as I had planned for the whole pregnancy, where my son would be safe, healthy and would not get the stupid infection.
And all the positive advice and comments often left me feel invalidated. I knew that my sadness made other people uncomfortable. This is a lot to deal with when you feel broken inside.
When I started working with families and hearing their stories I would always share mine and talk about how family and friend could support a mother after a difficult birth. And there is one thing which every mother think is really helpful – the validation of her feelings.
It is really important for a new mother who feels sad, insecure, disappointed to feel validation and acknowledgement of her emotions. That she can be happy to have a baby and feel sad at the same time. After giving a birth – raw emotions are the best. You just do not have strength to perform or fake anything. And your hormones go wild and can lead to intense feelings of sadness and sometimes depression. Often all the attention goes to the baby, but please do not forget tot ask how the mum feels, listen to her birth story and honour her feelings.
Thank you for reading!
I am planning to make an e-book about things that make new parents feel better about themselves and make it possible for them to really enjoy the short and amazing time of babyhood.
It would be great if you could share some piece of advise in the comments too!
Or maybe you know a great book or internet platform that helps you?
I would be very curious to know!
And of course if you could like and share this little article – that would be great!
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