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to ask for help in expaining this to DD?

(91 Posts)
herethereandeverywhere Thu 23-Jan-14 22:34:59

I've posted here for the traffic and because it doesn't quite fit in any other topic I can think of.

DD1 is 4.3. When she was delivered by Keillands forceps she was left permanently scarred on her face (a sort of circular gouge mark beside her eye). It started off quite small but is growing with her so proportionally will always be about the size of the pupil in her eye.

I hate that she has to bear that for no good reason and I hate her botched tortuous birth looking back at me every day, mostly because I'd protected her inside me for 9 months and in my first job, to deliver her safely I didn't protect her from that.

I have always known that one day she will ask me about it but I hadn't really prepared myself for what to say. Anyway, today was the day. As she looked in the mirror she said 'mummy look at that funny circle by my eye. Can you see it? It looks like someone has dug it out.' I froze and just hugged her and tried not to get upset in front of her.

I know that children suffer far worse than this and I know it's what's on the inside that counts etc. but this guts me and I just don't know how to approach it with DD. At the moment she's obviously not bothered by it but she might be as she gets older and more self-conscious. I wanted to sue the hospital so that when she was old enough I could say that the money was for what they did to her but DH is dead against and I'm not sure I have it in me to do that.

Any ideas? I think IANBU to ask but probably will be found U on other counts!

YellowDinosaur Thu 23-Jan-14 22:38:58

I'd just be honest with her. Does she know how babies are born? My 2 did at that age so I'd just say to her that she got stuck and her face was scratched when they had to pull her out. If you're matter of fact it's likely to bother her less I think.

If you haven't had the how babies are born chat you could just say she was born with it and explain later.

whitepuddingsupper Thu 23-Jan-14 22:39:59

I'm not sure about what to tell your DD but just wanted to ask if you have had any counselling to deal with your feelings from the birth, you seem like you are still feeling it quite intensely 4 years later and talk of suing over a small scar is a big overreaction, you don't seem like you have had a chance to get closure on the traumatic birth and move on?

YellowDinosaur Thu 23-Jan-14 22:41:17

For what is worth it sounds very small. I have a similar sized mark by my eye from chicken pox and can honestly say it has never bothered me. I think it bothers you probably as much because it was a traumatic experience for you but if you are able to be matter of fact about it with her she may not be bothered.

LiegeAndLief Thu 23-Jan-14 22:41:24

I understand that you feel very upset about the mark because it is tied up in a bad birth experience. But your dd won't have any of that. To her it's just a funny mark. I would suggest being entirely honest and say that she got stuck on the way out of your tummy and had to be pulled out, and it left a mark. She probably won't give it a second thought.

FudgefaceMcZ Thu 23-Jan-14 22:45:41

My older daughter has a little dent/patch like that (it actually only really shows up when she is cold now, so they do fade a bit). I explained I think when she was fairly young that she 'got stuck when she was coming out of mummy's tummy', and the doctor had to pull her out with a special kind of tweezers. She quite enjoys telling people this story confused strange child.

DoJo Thu 23-Jan-14 22:49:03

How deep is the scar? My son has a forceps scar on his forehead, but it's only as deep as a chickenpox scar so not really that noticeable.

It does sound from your post as though you are projecting a lot of your feelings about your daughter's birth onto this mark on her face though. Whilst I can completely understand that you obviously had a traumatic time of it, I think you need to separate that from the scar you daughter has. You definitely shouldn't let her see you sad about it, as she might begin to think that there is something wrong with her or feel more self conscious than she might otherwise have done.
Does the hospital where you gave birth have a post birth service? Ours had one which you could just book an appointment with direct and they talk you through your birth and explain anything that you aren't clear about etc. I think you need to address how you feel about that before you try telling your daughter anything like the truth as it sounds like it would be too difficult for you to do at the moment without reliving some painful memories and possibly making things more difficult for both of you. Maybe just say 'you've had it since you were born' and leave it at that.

Supercosy Thu 23-Jan-14 22:49:04

I'm sorry you feel so sad about this, I had a similar birth experience (from what you've written) with my Dd and even 11 years later just thinking about it makes me feel ill. I should imagine that your Dd having such a scar must be a very visual reminder of that horrible experience for you. I also understand your feelings of guilt in that you feel you have let your Dd down. I felt like that for ages and then not succeeding at breastfeeding compounded those feelings.

I've obviously never seen your Dd's scar but if she has only just seen it and started mentioning it to you it surely can't be that large. I really think that you are finding it really hard to talk about with her because of your own sadness about the difficult birth, which is very understandable. In your situation I would honestly just tell her that when she was born it was a bit hard to get her out so they had to pull her out with something called forceps (I've said this to my Dd). Unfortunately the forceps squeezed her a little bit too tight and so they made that mark. Honestly, kids colllect scars throughout their childhoods in many cases.

I'm not trying to minimise your feelings at all but you do need to try to reframe this somehow. You have a fantastic Dd and despite your traumatic birth experience she is healthy.

Gossipyfishwife Thu 23-Jan-14 22:49:24

I am with White pudding here.

To be blunt Herethere, you do sound traumatised and in my uninformed opinion at risk of transferring an unhealthy view of a small scar onto your child.

I don't wish to be cruel but I believe you may be making a huge deal out of something that may not need be.

Supercosy Thu 23-Jan-14 22:50:29

Sorry, I meant to say please seek counselling. I saw a great midwife counsellor who really, really helped me.

cocobongo Thu 23-Jan-14 22:51:50

My DD of the same age ended up with Erb's palsy as a result ofher shoulder being stuck and having to be pulled out with forceps. This affects the movement in her arm, and she is now beginning to realise it. I have just told her that she got her shoulder stuck when she was coming out of mummy's tummy. As YellowDinosaur said, be matter of fact about it. She might ask you more questions if she is curious or it might be enough for her.

The difference between us is that I know and accept that it was nothing to do with my ability to give birth safely, it wasn't my fault. It wasn't your fault, and there is nothing you could have done to change it.

I would second the recommendation to get counselling.


PansOnFire Thu 23-Jan-14 22:56:46

I agree with the others in that you associate it with a traumatic time, so it seems so much worse to you. I'm sorry you had such an awful time btw, I understand that the memories don't just go away.

I don't have any great advice really but I've grown up with a huge mole in a fairly prominent place, when I was small my parents called it a beauty spot and told me it was a mark to show how beautiful I was on the inside aswel as the outside. People did used to stare at it but because my parents had attached a nice meaning to it I wasn't bothered in the slightest.

UnexpectedItemInShaggingArea Thu 23-Jan-14 22:57:35

My DD is six and has several small scars from forceps on her face and head. She thinks they're cool. I told her the truth in age appropriate
language. It was fine.

You sound really traumatised still, have you spoken to anyone about it?

Valdeeves Thu 23-Jan-14 23:03:35

If it ever becomes an issue for her (which honestly it really won't) just use this little poem:
"Don't be afraid of your scars, from here on your way to the stars" - it encourages children to see scars a little badges of honour through life. I read that after I had some life changing surgery which left me scarred in a noticeable way.
Sounds like you maybe need to think about that too?

Valdeeves Thu 23-Jan-14 23:04:17

I don't think about my scar if that helps and it's a lot bigger!

FortyDoorsToNowhere Thu 23-Jan-14 23:06:51

Tell her it's her birth mark from when the doctors got you out of mummy tummy

Pooka Thu 23-Jan-14 23:16:14

Dd has a deep circular scar next to her eye - was the "mother spot" from when she had chicken pox. Didn't pick, but left a noticeable scar.

I suppose I'm saying that while for you the scar is a reminder of grim, horrible and scary labour, for her it's just a mark/scar. A war wound. I have a slightly odd eyebrow from when I fell out of my cot. It's been there forever, but it doesn't bother me probably because for as long as I've looked in a mirror and recognised the reflection as me, it's included the scar (which actually is prob only noticeable to me because I know it's there).

I think you should simply say that it's a mark that was left from when she was born and leave it t that. The problem with giving more info re the forceps now is that clearly and understandably you are distressed by that and there's maybe the rsk that this might transmit to her that the scar is something that she should worry about rather than just accept.

herethereandeverywhere Thu 23-Jan-14 23:20:05

Have I had counselling? I had one session on my way to trying to get an ELCS for DD2. The counsellor told me I could probably use further counselling but there wasn't the funding for people like me as it had to be focused on women whose babies had died, which I obviously agree with.

The fact is she didn't get stuck on the way out. She was in deep transverse arrest so wasn't on her way out at all. The consultant is known for keeping St Thomas's CS rates lower than Chelsea & Westminster, through the use of Keillands forceps. She was not in distress I had just run out of my allotted time to try to push her out (which of course I never would). So although the story sounds lovely and necessary it bloody isn't true and that's part of what I have an issue with.

Why shouldn't I sue for this damage? It was totally unnecessary, she was delivered in theatre with a full team so before people roll out the theatre was busy/ would have cost too much bollocks that's not true either. She'll wear that scar because certain organisations are bloody obsessed with CS statistics. Perhaps one extra law suit this year will make the consultant think twice next time.

I'm not sure what counselling would achieve TBH. What is it supposed to do?

And thanks for those that have shared their personal experiences. I think I need to rehearse some of the explanations with DH. At the moment I actually physically can't speak them. It just makes me want to howl.

Alifelivedforwards Thu 23-Jan-14 23:20:19

Both my dc have small but noticeable scars on their faces - one from forceps. It's never been an issue of any sort AT ALL. Honestly.

I agree that you may be traumatised still, I do hope you seek some help and can talk this through.

lilyaldrin Thu 23-Jan-14 23:20:30

Agree that she doesn't have any of the negative associations that you have OP - just keep it simple "you got stuck and the doctors had to pull you out".

It does sound like you could benefit from an opportunity to get some counselling over her birth though.

Chippednailvarnish Thu 23-Jan-14 23:24:29

I'm not sure what counselling would achieve TBH. What is it supposed to do?

It might help you to stop feeling like this "At the moment I actually physically can't speak them. It just makes me want to howl."

I had a midwife debrief after the birth of DD, which included the MW snapping a needle in my arm and being refused pain relief. It certainly helped me and it was free.

TheMaw Thu 23-Jan-14 23:25:02

OP, I know it bothers you but did you think of putting a positive spin on it for your DD? I've got a really obvious mole on my face but my mum always told me it was a beauty spot, and I've never felt self-concious about it. I know that doesn't address your issues, but it might avoid your daughter having the same ones?

Pooka Thu 23-Jan-14 23:26:01

I agree with previous posters re counselling.

If 4 years later you still physically can speak the reasons and want to howl, counselling might help you.

TheMaw Thu 23-Jan-14 23:26:23

God, I really hope that didn't sound harsh, totally didn't mean it to at all - just that your daughter might be a bit less self-concious (or even proud of it?) if you told her it was a special thing.

CailinDana Thu 23-Jan-14 23:33:16

Fwiw I totally understand your anger and think it's justified.

However I agree with the others that you need to convey to your daughter that the scar is just a small mark from when she was born and nothing to worry about.

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