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AIBU to think Mothers should be honest about birth?

(280 Posts)
TheHouseOnTheLane Thu 17-Dec-15 14:28:24

To other women who've not gone through it yet? There's so much

"Oh it's different for everyone"

And shilly shallying about around the subject.

I guess a tiny minority DO have "easy" or even pleasant experiences of birth but all the women I know were traumatized and horrified and in agony.

This was inspired by another thread. Sorry if I'm offending anyone as I know it's an emotive subject.

But my own experience was that dreadful I don't think I COULD lie if another woman asked me directly. Yet some people seem to be all coy about this fact.

NotSayingImBatman Thu 17-Dec-15 14:30:50

The problem is, if you try to be honest, you get accused of trying to frighten first time mothers. Who then go in expecting a blissful experience and, generally, end up traumatised and in agony and think they did something wrong. Then, someone will ask them about their experience and they won't want to be accused of frightening anyone so will downplay/outright lie.

And so the cycle continues.

randomcatname Thu 17-Dec-15 14:32:02

I agree! I felt as though there had been a huge cover-up after the birth of dc1. How can you do it though? It would be insensitive to be anything other than positive to a pregnant friend.

RevoltingPeasant Thu 17-Dec-15 14:32:16

1) lots of women do have perfectly fine experiences

2) those of us who do, often don't like to talk about them for fear of appearing 'smug' etc

I had a HB and did hypnobirthing. It really worked. But I hardly ever say so IRL in case I upset someone who thinks I mean everyone could have an easy time if they hypnob'd . I don't mean that but it's easy to be misunderstood.

I think YABU as I think most women DO share horror stories. The stories that don't get shared are the ones where it was all pretty dandy. Interestingly, as someone who did have an easy birth, I found that when I mentioned it tentatively, suddenly quite a lot of others at baby groups etc would pipe up and say 'oh yes, I also had a 6-hour labour and no tearing'.

icklekid Thu 17-Dec-15 14:32:56

Yet I'm pregnancy everyone complains of being told horror stories! I don't think it would have helped to know how awful my birth was before it was however helpful when mums were honest after so I knew I wasn't alone!

VinylScratch Thu 17-Dec-15 14:33:06

Everyone knows birth hurts though surely, once someone is already pregnant there's no point scaring them with horror stories, you have to give birth one way or another. If I was asked directly as I was by a good friend who was due a few weeks after me I'd be honest but she ended up having an EMCS anyway so none of my experience was relevant to her.

Orrla Thu 17-Dec-15 14:33:09

If asked, yes, I'd be honest but without scaring the shit out of people either. My sister was heading towards her first section so I was honest with her when she asked me. I put a positive spin on it though.

What I hated was the fuckers who, despite you telling them you were avoiding all horror stories, thank you very much, proceed to tell you every last excruciating detail of their nightmare labour and birth. That's just mean.

OddSocksHighHeels Thu 17-Dec-15 14:33:19

If somebody asks me then I'll be honest but labour for me was long and slow and boring but my contractions never hurt and I took no pain relief at all. I ended with an EMCS which was painful to recover from but not agonising pain and not traumatising for me.

Labour is different for everybody.

PourquoiTuGachesTaVie Thu 17-Dec-15 14:33:31

My mum told me nothing except how awful it was. She had one vb, one emcs and one elcs. Only the elcs was not a horrific experience for her. As a result I went into my first labour with no expectations other than to hope to get out of it alive. As it turns out, I had easy births, no complications. My mum didn't do me any favours by scaring me for my entire life until I experienced it for myself.

toffeeboffin Thu 17-Dec-15 14:34:01

I agree.

I prefer that people are totally honest about their experience.

But there are not many people who will answer your questions totally honestly.

My birth with DS was pretty good and if people ask I tell them so.

I think that most of the women I asked pre-birth either lied about it then told me the truth afterwards or purposefully avoided my questions!

The only one who was totally honest was SIL, she said' Oh I knew I'd have to push soon as I knew no-one could stand that level of pain for that long' shock

I was about 39 weeks when she said that.

AuntieStella Thu 17-Dec-15 14:34:05

I would never tell an adverse birth story to a woman who had not herself given birth before.

Or at least not without donning a completely flameproof suit of armour and picking up a magic shield.

As NotSayingImBatman says, you will be accused of all sorts if you try that one.

skippy67 Thu 17-Dec-15 14:35:00

I'm always honest about my birth experiences. Both easy short labours, no stitches, gas and air pain relief. Not boasting just being honest.

Notimefortossers Thu 17-Dec-15 14:35:01

I'm all for honesty. Obviously know your audience, so if it's someone that's already suffering massively with anxiety and fear then perhaps play it down or focus on the positive's (because I don't think anyone that's delivered a healthy child could say there aren't any positive's to such a horrific experience!)

As long as you're clear that that's YOUR experience and you're aware that not everybody experience's the same I don't see the problem.

I love swapping birth stories with people.

I'm pregnant with DC 4 and still shitting myself about doing it again! But at least I know what I'm going into!

Cinnamon2013 Thu 17-Dec-15 14:35:32

I agree. Of course some people are lucky enough to have easy births, and everyone deserves to go into the experienced in a relaxed and fear-free way. But how can there be informed choice if no one is honest. Only after the experience did I hear the truth about permanent birth injuries. If I'd heard those first I would have (to give one example) chosen to say no to forceps delivery. Option didn't come up for me - but perhaps you can see what I mean.

winewolfhowls Thu 17-Dec-15 14:36:12

I remember it being many hours of grim but then you get a baby! It wasn't as bad as I feared, all my friends love trading the grim stories.

Those rose tinted glasses get put on as soon as you leave the hospital. Saying that I was lucky. Bit like anything really. Some people have a terrible time at the dentist, others breeze through every checkup

originalusernamefail Thu 17-Dec-15 14:36:42

Giving birth hurt, but for me ,compared to pg it was like a walk in the park! I came home from hospital on a cloud. I could happily go through labour a dozen more times but once DC2 is out I will NEVER put myself through being pregnant again.

DeltaZeta Thu 17-Dec-15 14:37:10

I've given birth twice. Once wasn't that painful really - or at least wasn't as bad as I was expecting. The other was horrendous. So birth experiences really do vary a lot, even if you're talking about the same person.

I don't tend to talk about my good experience, because I don't want to come across as smug.

I don't tend to talk about my bad experience because I don't want to frighten people.

Neither of my birth experiences will have any baring on what any other woman might experience in labour.

midnightsunshine Thu 17-Dec-15 14:39:52

Luckily my mum was honest with me about how painful and traumatic birth can be. Until then I was expecting some kind of magical special experience! I planned to have a serene water birth, in reality I had a back-to-back labour with inadequate pain relief, was vomiting constantly for 8hours (ended up catheterised I was so dehydrated and no anti sickness injections worked) and then baby got stuck due to position. Had some tearing and abrasions. Felt panicky all the way through and thought I was dying!
However after birth I felt great! My figure snapped back to normal within 24hours, I only bled for 2weeks (not heavy bleeding) and the tears healed within 4weeks. So while I found labour horrific and excruciatingly painful, the recovery was better than I expected.

chillycurtains Thu 17-Dec-15 14:41:20

I think it depends on if the person is pregnant or not. If they are then you are scaring them for no reason.

Also I had a great birth with my second and third DC and this was largely to do with the fact I wasn't scared of birth and I just went with each contraction and as I wasn't panicking I coped well and very excited for birth and had two easy experiences. How many first births could be like this if we stopped scaring the shit out of first time mothers with horrific stories and encouraged women to embrace birth.

MERLYPUSSEDOFF Thu 17-Dec-15 14:44:33

I had EMCS due to pre-eclampsia for my twins. I was 42 and 1st time mum. (precious pregnanacy). T2 turned and sucked up a load of shite so was taken to NICU before me seeing him. They didn't even tell me he was a he until I asked. I lost a shed load of blood, had transfusions, and was under hourly obs on a side room (high dependency?) for 2 days. I didn't see DT2 for all that time, just OH bringing me photos of him. I struggled to BF both and stayed in hospital for nearly a week before being allowed home. Both boys had jaundice.
(I have epilepsy and they were worried that my anaemia might spark a seizure.)

I bought BOTH my boys home at the same time.

I think I had an easy birth considering.

Laquila Thu 17-Dec-15 14:45:10

But my own experience was that dreadful I don't think I COULD lie if another woman asked me directly. Yet some people seem to be all coy about this fact.

I'm sorry you had a terrible experience but with respect, some women do have births that are hard work, but not horrific. Exhausting, but not utterly traumatic. Are their stories any less valid than yours? Mine was hard work, painful and exhausting (and ended in an EMCS), and I'm honest about that, but I don't want to unevessairlynecessarily scare the shit out of pregnant mums because a) I prefefr to focus on the positive aspects of it and b) who knows what kind of birth these other women are going to have?

I rmenevr a shop assistant telling me about three weeks before I was due that labour was the worst experience of her life and she'd NEVER have another baby. I didn't find that remotely helpful! In fact I wanted to punch her, IIRC. I was realistic about what might happen but I also wanted to stay positive, and I respect that other people may want to do the same.

RevoltingPeasant Thu 17-Dec-15 14:46:21

I do agree however that there should be more information, statistically sound information, available to women.

Actually, statistically, most women don't need forceps or CS (CBA to google but looked into this when pg). So many women probably do have comparatively 'easy' births.

Equally, I think the lack of info on birth injuries is shocking as a PP said. I did a lot of research before birth and was dead set against an epidural as I wanted to avoid the increased likelihood of instrumental delivery. But I think I was unusual in having read so much.

I did find that the leaflets my NHS trust gives out re: birth are actively mendacious (i.e. forceps is a 'gentle tug' - ha!) and I think this lack of info provided by HCP is an equalities issue and would never happen in regard to procedures happening to men!

steff13 Thu 17-Dec-15 14:46:22

I've had three kids, all vaginally. With the second one, I slept until I was dilated 8cm, and was too late for an epidural, so I had to have him natural. Other than that, all three births were perfectly normal.

HelenaJustina Thu 17-Dec-15 14:48:28

I disagree that a tiny minority have positive birth experiences. I have found (and the plural of anecdote is not data) that it is those who have traumatic experiences who are more voluble/open to sharing. Perhaps because talking it through repeatedly helps them deal with the experience psychologically.

But a 'tiny minority' for whom it goes smoothly can't be right...

CaveMum Thu 17-Dec-15 14:48:39

Chilly while I get what you are saying, some people might interpret it as "it's your own fault you had a bad birth experience, you didn't embrace it enough."

I did hypno-birthing before having DD and it really helped me stay calm and in control. But I'd never dream of telling another mother that using the techniques is why I had an easy birth, I just got lucky that there were no complications.

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