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to feel horribly jealous of my friend's perfect birth?

(177 Posts)
coveredinsnot Tue 09-Dec-08 16:19:18

Ok, this might be a complete over reaction, but it was a strong enough reaction to stop me eating my lunch and get out for a bracing walk... Anything that stops me eating is usually serious wink

My friend had her baby yesterday, a water birth at hospital with only gas and air. While I am honestly, truly over the moon for her, I can't help but feel horribly, heartachingly, disgustingly jealous. I had longed for such a birth throughout my pregnancy, but ended up with a very traumatic experience in which neither my midwife nor partner really spoke to me for the majority of my labour, baby was posterior so labour was very painful and slow, I couldn't have an epidural and ended up having an emergency caesarean after over 20 hours of hard labour. After baby was born I didn't hold him for over 2 hours. It was horrible. I was drugged up for days afterwards and can't remember much about those early special days. I feel angry about my experience, but I'm even more angry that it's interfering with my ability to just feel complete happiness that a good friend hasn't had to go through such a trauma.

Is there something wrong with me, am I a cruel hearted bitch, or is this normal?

roundcornvirgin Tue 09-Dec-08 16:20:32

How old is your baby?

Colditz Tue 09-Dec-08 16:22:05

dON'T BE JEALOUS, IT STILL FECKING HURTS AND IT'S STILL BLISTERINGLY HARD WORK.

basementbear Tue 09-Dec-08 16:22:31

No, YANBU but please don't tell her you are jealous! I had a horrendous first birth experience and it took ages to come to terms with, but thankfully the second time round was fantastic. Let her bask in the glory and remember that if you have another it won't necessarily be as bad as the first

No yanbu but your probably not doing yourself any favours by thinking about it so much.

If your a cruel heartless bitch then i am too.

i don't think you're a bitch - sounds like your friend's experience has stirred up some undealt-with issues for you, that's all smile

Quattrocento Tue 09-Dec-08 16:23:11

I think that having a traumatic birth is far more unsettling than people recognise - there's a form of PTSD associated with traumatic births.

So I don't think you are being nasty I think you are experiencing a bit of a flashback to an unpleasant time - which is the worse because it should NOT have been an unpleasant time

LynetteScavo Tue 09-Dec-08 16:23:25

I don't think you are so much jealous of your friend, more that you still have unresolved feelings about your own tough labour - which is quite normal.

Some hospitals offer councelling for people who havent' had easy births - I really think you need to talk this through, so you can work it out in your head. If you don't, I think you might find facing another birth very difficult if you are ever pregnant again.

TheCrackFox Tue 09-Dec-08 16:23:58

YANBU, however make sure you don't tell your friend how you feel. I too have felt jealous after hearing perfect birth stories, mine was like something from the Somme. I keep my feelings to myself and whinge on Mumsnet. Good friendship saftey valve I have found.

kitbit Tue 09-Dec-08 16:24:11

No, normal I would say! Hormones and maternal feelings are very very strong and you can't help how they make you feel.
Having said that if you can, it would be great if you can be objective for your friend, however don't give yourself a hard time about feeling this way because It Is Totally Normal. (personal experience)

How old is your little one? If they are still quite small it will be even fresher in your mind. ds is now 4 and it does fade. I still feel wistful, but nothing like the crushing disappointment and anger (sometimes) that I used to feel. x

OhGetOverMyself Tue 09-Dec-08 16:24:52

Birth is shit, however you do it, but yes I would be envious too.

Fwiw I had a natural birth with no G&A or anything, at home, everyone said how marvellous but in reality I preferred my epidural for the previous one, the natural one left me shell shocked and traumatised and hurt SO much I swore i'd never do it again!

LynetteScavo Tue 09-Dec-08 16:26:06

How old is your baby?

Every year I find the day before DS1's birthday quite tough, as I can't help remembering the time when I was going through hell in the labour ward.( the day he was born wasn't too bad because by then I had an epidural) I could cry thinking about it now.

MrsMattie Tue 09-Dec-08 16:29:13

Sounds like you are still coming to terms with your own birth experience.

I clearly remember after my first child was born meeting up with a friend who had had a 4 hour labour (from first contraction to baby born) which she described as feeling like 'strong period pains' and was out of hospital 6 hours later and back in her size 10 jeans effortlessly bf-ing her dinky little girl within days. I, meanwhile, had had ac-section after a 5 day (failed!) induction and was feeling like a sack of cold shit, with the beginnings of what would be devastating PND. She was cooing over her baby and whacking back her latte, while I sat there wanting to hand my baby back and run away. It wasn't a nice place to be.

You're not a bitch.

JacksFirstChristmasMama Tue 09-Dec-08 16:31:52

You are not being unreasonable. You're having a perfectly normal grieving reaction over a birth you didn't get. As you said, you're over the moon for your friend. You don't hate her. You hate the fact that she had a lovely birth and you didn't. You are traumatized by what happened to you, not a cruel hard-hearted bitch.

I am speaking from experience as my DS's birth was horribly traumatic. It didn't end in a section like yours, but it should have, instead, they dragged him out with forceps. It took me months to get over. I was so angry, had terrible anxiety, PND/ PTSD, etc. Whenever I heard of someone's wonderful birth experience, I felt torn in two - relieved that another woman was spared this, and rage that I wasn't.

While I don't want to tell you what to do (because now that you have a baby, lots of people will try!! grin), I really recommend a couple of things. Get some couselling. Get evaluated for PND quickly - women who have had traumatic births are at much higher risk for PND, and you already feel crappy, yo don't need to add PND to everything else and it does sneak up on you. When you've had some counselling and feel strong enough, request someone at the hospital go over your notes with you (debrief you for the birth) so you can ask questions, express your feelings about what you feel went wrong and generally understand better exactly what happened.
There are a bunch of threads about birth trauma on here. Some of them may be TMI for you, especially if everything is still fresh, but maybe not. It really helps to be able to vent with people who understand how you feel and who won't judge you even if you have one of those "I hate everyone who's had a beautiful birth!!" kind of day.
(((((HUGS)))) to you.
BTW, congratulations on your baby's birth!! And how are you feeling physically?

MarlaCarolSinger Tue 09-Dec-08 16:35:18

I cried when I discovered how nice my neighbour's DH had been to her after the birth because my DP was so distant for such a long time... it broke my heart. Of course I was pleased that she had support and they were a happy family but feck it hurt. Because that's what I was supposed to have. And I don't think I am a spiteful jealous cow. Just a normal person who had a shit time and has never really come to terms with it.

for you.

PinkPoinsettias Tue 09-Dec-08 16:37:29

both my births were quite differant, one was a lot more traumatic than the other and i almost lost that baby..... but trust me, the easy one still left me shaking and exhausted and hurt like hell.

just because it went well on paper, don't presume she had a walk in the park and barely felt the slightest twinge and was dancing around the room 20 minutes later.

birth is hard, even when it goes well.

i'm so sorry you had a hideous birth but i do speak from experiance when i say the best thing you can do is repeat to yourself like a mantra 'it doesn't matter, he's safe now. it doesn't matter he's safe now' until eventually it becomes the truth and it really doesn't matter.

and no, you're not evil for being jealous.... but remember, every birth is differant and your next one might be just as good as hers was!

JacksFirstChristmasMama Tue 09-Dec-08 16:37:56

I just want to add that I agree with everyone who says "don't tell your friend you're jealous" which you probably wouldn't anyway - you said in your OP that you went for a walk rather than say something. But since your friends are probably not stupid, they may catch on that it makes you suffer when they talk about their lovely births, and I see nothing wrong with saying, "you know, I can be extremely happy for you, but at the same time sad for myself because I had such a different experience".

MadMarg Tue 09-Dec-08 16:41:50

My friend had a gloriously easy 3 hour labour, and a perfect little boy. She then went on to have a horrid mc where the staff at the hospital treated her absolutely horridly - so bad that if it weren't for the fact that DS's birth had been so easy then she would have been scared to ever have children again. So I'm grateful that she had such an easy birth with her DS.

JacksFirstChristmasMama Tue 09-Dec-08 16:43:10

I need to disagree with pinkpoinsettias - yes, it is important that your baby is safe now but that is not all that matters. It does not help to be told "your baby is healthy, that's all that's important". It doesn't help sort the trauma to your body or your mind. In fact, when you're having a terribly day, being told "your baby's fine, that's all that matters" hurts terribly because it dismisses what happened to you.
Yes, it is wonderful that your baby is fine. I can't even contemplate how horrible it would be if he wasn't. But what happened to you is equally important and you need to look after yourself - because when mum is suffering with PND/PTSD or physical problems from a horrible birth, she can't look after baby properly and then baby ends up affected, too.

StefkaSnowAngel Tue 09-Dec-08 16:45:25

I think what you feel is understandable and normal. I am sorry you had such a difficult experience. Have you thought about getting someone to talk to about it?

ellymae Tue 09-Dec-08 16:47:01

yanbu. I was the last of my ante natal group to have my baby and I had to be induced as I was overdue (everyone else went into labour naturally). the day after my dd was born they discovered she wasn't well and had to be transferred to another hospital for surgey at 3 days old. She had more surgery at 6 weeks and finally came home at 7.5 weeks old.

I was so jealous of my friends at not having been induced, at bringing their babies home from hospital at the right time, of spending those first precious weeks with them and even dare I say it, sharing my birth story with the world. Once you have a baby in SBCU you pretty much disappear into the background

My DD is now 20 months and I can rationalise that the main thing is that I have a gorgeous litte girl whose entry into the world is immaterial. Occasionally events can happen that take me back to her birth in an instant but that is something for me to deal with and is nothing to do with my friends of whom I was once so jealous

foxytocin Tue 09-Dec-08 16:49:52

It is normal to feel that way. I had a traumatic first delivery and felt sad if i tried to read any happy birth stories on MN. I was also jealous of a friend's peaceful home birth. The jealousy stemmed from the sadness over my awful first birth, no doubt,

prettybutterfly Tue 09-Dec-08 16:51:17

YABU! Of course! Get some birch twigs and chastise yourself, vile one.

Better do me too, while you're at it, because I was just the same....

((Unreasonable You))

coveredinsnot Tue 09-Dec-08 18:02:38

Thanks for all your kind messages. My baby is now 9 months old, and what a wonderful little bruiser he is. Everything about him and his life has been great apart from the birth, so I know I have little to complain about really. It's just difficult reconciling two opposing thoughts: happiness for my friend, bitterness about my own experience. The two don't sit well together.

There is also this darker, much more horrid fleeting thought I occasionally get: sometimes there is a part of me that almost wants people to have as bad an experience as me. I feel really awful even typing that, it's the first time I've said that, I know it's horrible and weird and I'm certain it's just a thought, because really I would never wish such an experience on anyone. In fact, I hope to be able to use my experience to educate health professionals and other mums about how to avoid such disasters, and spoke with the friend concerned at great length about how to avoid having a horrible birth experience. But that evil thought raises it's ugly head now and then, and I don't understand it.

I am currently having counselling at the moment, but I have to make a choice as to whether to use the time to talk about my birth experience or to talk about other long-standing issues. We only have 12 sessions in total, 3 of which have gone. It's hard to know what to do - I've spent most of my adult life wanting to talk about a lot of nasty unresolved family crap, and now have the opportunity, but also know that if I don't get my head around my own birth experience then next time will be tough.

Thanks all for telling me I'm not being unreasonable. I think some of you might now think I'm pure evil reading what I've just written! sad I hope not.

prettybutterfly Tue 09-Dec-08 18:14:25

"pure evil"?

No.

We discussed pure evil on aibu a few days ago. You don't even come close, Mrs Melodrama!

I reckon take some time to mention it to your theraist - they'll maybe have an instinct about whether it would be a good use of time.

Best of luck

xxPB

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