As a mother..(19 Posts)
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Of a prem baby (28 weeker) I often feel like I don't quite belong in the same group as other mothers, who spend hours discussing their labour, those first few weeks with their newborn, how soon their dcs sat up/crawled/ walked etc.. and even nearly 3 years later I still feel as though I've 'missed out' on a lot of the major milestones of becoming a mother: getting to my due date, ante-natal classes, the nervousness and excitement of waiting to go into labour, labour itself, 'giving birth' -I had an emergency c-section-, holding my baby after giving birth, naming her, being the first to feed her, change her etc etc.
Obviously at the time I only cared about dd getting better and growing, but these feelings have crept up on me over time.
I would be interested to know if other people feel the same way as me or if I should have moved on from this by now?
Yes I feel the same, not all the time but when I watch something like obem or chat about birth/ labour etc it will trigger alot of those feelings.
I dont think there is ever a specific time that should pass before you get over something, but if those feelings have a huge impact on your life then it might be an idea to speak to someone about it. Post traumatic stress disorder is very common - as you probably already know.
Have you got anymore DC ? We have DT's born at 30 weeks, we are not planning on having more and I feel a bit sad that I will never do the things you mentioned.
OP I could have written your post. Yes to absolutely everything you said (I had twins at 27+6). I do think having a premature baby sets you apart in some ways - and I was very jealous of new mums who talked about the elation of having the baby put in their arms, the first feed, etc etc. My jealousy was tinged with a sense of unfairness but that I never really expressed because there was guilt there too that it was my fault. Its probably not the answer but I went on to have another baby and I think (with hindsight) that a large part of that decision was to get the pregnancy / birth that I thought I'd missed out on.
Bliss have a really good helpline that you can call, and I think they offer counselling too if you think that would help?
hands Same with me, a lot of my friends are pregnant or have new babies atm so that's probably why I've been thinking about it all again. I think I did suffer from PTSD for a time, but I have come to terms with it now, I am starting to properly enjoy parenting and my DD rather than dwell on what could/should have been.
Like you, I have no plans to ever have more children, and in a way it helps because I think 'this is the only time you will ever have a 1/2/3.. year old so enjoy it!'
mandy yep, the feeling of guilt and unfairness are exactly it. I struggled with those for a long time, my umbilical cord failed and my body was basically starving my baby so I felt very responsible (I don't feel this way now, but it has put me off having more children)
I can totally understand why you would want to try again, out of interest, did you go full term?
But my biggest fear would be another prem baby so I won't try again. If only the Drs could give us a definite yes or no!
I really should have sought help when all these feelings were at their worst, but I was too proud/scared to do so, but I gradually came to terms with it on my own and now It's more of a wistful 'I wish I could have experienced X' than anything.
Almost OP, I got to 39+6 the second time around so I kind of got the labour and birth that I feel I missed out on. Having said that, it was strange having her with me, going home when she was 24 hours old (instead of 2 months) and whilst I know most people think that is the norm, it was completely alien to me and therefore quite stressful (obviously in a different way than with a prem). Hope you get some support and come to terms with it.
I can completely share your feelings, I'm not sure that you ever really get over the experience of having a premature baby, you just find a way to deal with it. I felt just as you did, at the time all you want is for them to be well, growing, healthy, safe etc. it's only later that the other emotions come to the fore.
I think those feelings are perfectly normal but it's how they impact on you that's important. I still have some of those feelings, DS is 18 months, was born at 31 weeks, but they don't make me unhappy so I don't worry about them - cannot get through an episode of OBEM without sobbing, mind.
I'm also unsure about whether I'll have another, I had pre eclampsia, I can't face the risk and the worry. I'm ok about that, I have the odd wobble that I would like DS to have a sibling but I also know that's a pretty normal feeling too. Like you, I enjoy the moments, knowing that they won't last.
i sometimes feel very guilty about the beginning of DS's life and wish it was different. People say "he wanted to get going" or similar and I always respond by saying "it wasn't him, it was me". I think I'll always feel responsible.
It sounds as though you are managing those feelings really well.
Totally agree - especially with Hands. With prem twins I completely missed out on local ante-natal groups (thankfully I did one TAMBA class, but it was miles from home), then they were in hospital for 2 months, and then once they were home getting out of the house was so difficult that I found it really hard to make a network of mum friends/going to baby groups etc.
Ironically once I did get out they were such 'baby celebrities' that I always felt really good about the twins, but then worried that all the other mums thought I was completely up my own arse because group leaders etc would make such a fuss of me! I suspect paranoia was kicking in by that point...
I would love to do it again for such selfish reasons - a proper pregnancy (I have blotted out the fact that I am DIRE at pregnancy), a proper labour (blotting out the fact that I am unlikely to have a cuddly, lentil weavery VBAC), a proper newborn babymoon (blotting out the fact that I would have todder DTs to look after as well!). BUt fortunately DH has more sense and thinks we should just concentrate on enjoying the 2 children we do have.
Bloody hard though. Totally empathise with everyone here.
I feel like you do . My ds was taken away immediately and I missed out on all the early bonding . I'm lucky enough to have an older dd who I made it to 38 weeks with so she was classed as term and I went through all those experiences with her. My poor ds has had no end of problems since being born and we are always having some appointment or another. My friends with term ' well ' babies are never going to get it . I deal with it by forgetting about it and moving on. I think if I allowed myself to process what has happened since the day I got pregnant I would lose my mind .
Yes, i understand.
My boys were born at 28w and 4 days. Sadly our first born little boy passed away, but his brother survived and is soon to be 8.
I've gone on to have three more children since, all term babies, but i do feel regret at never having all the 'normal' pregnancy things with my first pregnancy.
Also, i think as my first pregnancy ended like that, it took all the nievity(sp?) away, so i was constantly aware through subsequent pregnancies that i might not get a baby totake home at the end of it.
My ds was born at 36 week, I knew he was always going to be early as had a grade 4 placenta previa (placenta fully over the cervix).
I missed all antenatel calsses and really couldn't enjoy my pregancy (not sure i would of done anyway). I felt that I missed alot. I did not really bond with him for the first 3 months as he was poorly and wouldn't really eat. He also nearly died when he was 5 days old. I still now even though he is nearly 5 get very parranoid when he is poorly.
I've gone onto have a dd 7 months, she is so healthy and was born near enough to term through C section. I'm more relaxed and am very, very lucky.
I do feel that i missed something with my son but i cant quite put my finger on, even though I love them the same amount it's very different.
deemented I am so sorry for your loss.
I feel a lot of guilt too JoEW and say the same when people say oh they were just impatient and wanted to see the world. It used to make it worse when people always asked why they were smaller, were not sitting up, crawling etc when their peers were doing all those things, and I would have to explain all over again.
I do think things are getting easier as they get older - 2 years on and I dont feel the guilt and anxiety I used to feel when I think about their early days. Although I do have a bloody good cry if I watch anything birth/baby related and i did get quite emotional around their birthday.
My DS wasn't a premmie, but he had a hugely traumatic birth, was oxygen deprived and was in hospital for a month. He wouldn't eat at the start and is still a hugely difficult feeder at nearly 7 months. And we won't know for another 4 or 5 years whether he has cerebral palsy as a result of the labour complications.
I spent a lot of his first few months not talking to anyone but my immediate family because I just couldn't cope with discussing the situation with anyone else. I couldn't talk to my friends who had babies around the same time because they were getting on with settling their babies in at home and I was still traipsing in and out of hospital to a baby who seemed determined never to get home.
There's still a feeling that he's not a 'normal' baby; when people ask how he is, I can't say 'oh, he's grand, finally sleeping through the night' or whatever you might say about a 6 month old, because we don't bother thinking about stuff like that, we think about whether he's developing normally, whether he engages the way a 6 month old should, whether his motor skills are precisely up to scratch for his age or showing signs of delay, and whether he's taken enough formula in the previous 24 hours to keep himself out of hospital.
DD's birth and babyhood were very normal and boy, is this different.
I keep having flashbacks to the birth and hospital stay. And every day at some stage I'll be hit with the thought that he nearly didn't make it.
It's hard having this stuff in your head.
I too feel like I could have written your post. About a 8 months after DT's were born (9 weeks early) I out of nowhere felt so down! none stop crying, etcetc. Then again about 6 months later, then this summer the Janine story line in eastenders left me in bits for about a month. I was diagnosed with PTSD, and am now getting some support to work through those feelings.
Hoping to revive this thread. Been doing really well recently, had some counselling to help deal with PTSD, and all going well. I had an awful skin problem on my hands when DT's were born, which at the time I put down to the constant washing of my hands with SCBU. It has come back, and I'm now thinking it may be stress related.
Also DT's have started school, and I had a bloody awful school run on Thursday. When I talked to my sister about it, she did mention school may be hard for DT's as they shouldn't really be 3 yet as they weren't due until March 13th. That one comment (which was not meant unkindly at all) has knocked me. Stupid. One little throw away comment and I feel like I'm back where I was in the summer.
BTW twins love school and are fine with it, just one rather cold morning led to horrible school run.
I was having this conversation with one of the staff down at the local Children's Centre at one point about how isolating it can be and how you can feel like you do lack some common anchor point with lots of other mothers. I know I felt very much like those women I'd shared the antenatal stuff with pretty much ran away in horror when I delivered early - like I was some kind of figure of doom going to jinx their own babies or something (or just a reminder stuff goes wrong I guess)... and then of course you've lost the common ground of the end of pregnancy feeling like a huge lump of uncomfortable hormone collective moaning as well, and the anticipation as due dates get nearer.
Yet at the same time - you don't really have that shared ground with those having babies of the same chronological age as you... while they're all melting over first smiles - you're stuck in this pre-newborn type limbo of being destined to wait around for sooooo much longer for your first little smile (and lift of your spirits from it)... then it gets to sitting, crawling - all those other milestones, and especially if you end up with a child like mine - who is very very very tall (eye watering to contemplate the size she'd have been if she'd gone to term!) and therefore looks, if anything, ahead of her actual age already and nowhere near like she'd have been premature - and you feel like you still have to justify and explain to people that, no, she's not crawling yet and ride all the concerned looks out (and god help you if you get a competitive milestoner to deal with - grrr).
In my case - there's a LOT of anger at how the hospital behaved over certain things - so I don't even feel like I'd belong in any of the ex-NICU groups around where people are just grateful for what the units did.
OBEM makes me so angry and bitter now (and I've HAD counselling - via Bliss as the NHS washed their hands of us) - it's that blooming moment where the music cuts in and they get the whole marvelling at their little person... and I didn't even get told if it was a boy or girl as the trolley and neo-natal team vanished out of the room! THAT makes me angry and bitter no end!
But yep - it's pretty damned lonely - and oh how you want to throttle anyone who chirpily says "oooh but she's here now" and just completely disregards it all!
As for the terror of it happening again - tomorrow's the point in this pregnancy where I delivered last time... it's leg-crossingly terrifying!
I'm really late to join this thread, but I wanted to say thanks for your post Evasmum - it's made me want to come out of hiding for the first time. I agree with so much said here already!
JoEW and Hands I feel like you, exactly: I get so angry to hear people say "well, he was in a hurry". No he wasn't, it was my body's fault, and he's been struggling with the consequences ever since. (I had PROM, probably due to an infection, at 25 weeks, and my DS came at 28 weeks).
SomeOne: my DS is 6 months now (3 months corrected), and I am constantly worrying about his development. I think he is doing quite well, but having said that I'm really confused about what age he is and what he should really be doing. And yes, CP is still a possibility, too. How has yours been doing since you last posted?
I'm a bit sad about not being part of any networks or mums' groups, too (although that does feel like quite a selfish regret.) In fact, I'm being blanked by some of the people I met at the first (and only) NCT class when I now see them in the street. Miaow, I agree, they probably think misforture is catching...
Miaow, your last post really got to me: I'm keeping everything crossed for! Be positive, and think of how far you've made it already!
I also had dire medical experiences - was passed around between hospitals who just wanted to wash their hands of the responsibility, ended up having a botched C section (a 'classical' one, with a lengthwise cut across the womb, because they had left it too late for a normal one), and several womb infections afterwards. Every morning I wake up, thinking: I really must write some letters of complaint today, if only to get things on paper for my own benefit - and then chicken out, dreading to revisit events too closely (I do have flashbacks quite frequently).
Those of you who went on to have another one: how did you get over the terror of something going wrong again?
Thanks again, everyone, it feels good to be able to recognise so much of what you've said. I hope all your DCs are thriving.
Gurke, it was NOT your fault. I had a prom at 25 weeks, and dt's were born at 31 weeks. I too thought it was my fault, but after some therapy I have started to accept it was not anyones fault , just one of those things. So you had an infection? What could you really have done to prevent it? I blamed my prom on a hot bath. didn't have a bath for 2 years after. (got rather smelly lol). Take it easy on yourself x
Thanks nothingbyhalves. I know rationally that it was my 'fault' as such - but when I dwell on it I do have regrets: for about a month before it happened the urine tests they do at scans/ MW appointments showed traces of blood. The MWs weren't particularly concerned and just told me to go to my GP if I was worried, and my GP fobbed me off. I should have persisted, because I knew in my gut that something wasn't quite right...
I know that talking about blame and whose fault it was is not helpful at this point - my DS is here, and he is who he is, and I should be concentrating on that - but unfortunately there were quite a lot of medical/ hospital fuck-ups (excuse my language); it's hard to avoid dwelling on this. I was moved from one hospital to another, a long distance away, almost two weeks after my waters had broken - and I'm convinced (though of course I can't prove it) that this brought on labour - it was so bumpy and terrifying a drive... Until that point the doctors' prognosis was that I would make it to 34 weeks.
Anyway, all of this is just to underline the OP's original point that yes, somehow the trauma and worries generated by premature birth don't disappear that easily, or if they do to they may creep up again later.
Hope you're enjoying guilt-free hot baths these days, nothingbyhalves !
Re: first sentence: I actually meant to say "wasn't my fault" - Freudian slip there....