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To think there's not much to be gained by having a birth debrief?

(47 Posts)
MadAboutFourteen Fri 08-Jul-16 19:40:36

DD is 4 months old. Had a difficult birth and stay in hospital afterwards and developed PND. Been offered a birth debrief but wondering if it will just open up old wounds. Did anyone with PND do one and find it useful?

JellyMouldJnr Fri 08-Jul-16 19:43:25

Hmm. I had one shortly after the birth. For me it was useful because it helped me understand the sequence of events and why things had happened. I think if you think you might have another child, that 'old wound' needs to be talked through at some stage.

ImperialBlether Fri 08-Jul-16 19:46:05

No, but I wish I had. For example I was told something by an auxiliary nurse that really upset me and made me dwell on it when I had PND later. It was months before a midwife friend of mine set me straight on that and it really did help.

I think the point is just to answer any questions you have and to clarify the reasons why things happened. For instance my daughter needed a forceps delivery and I thought it was because I couldn't push hard enough, so I blamed myself. When I found out from her notes that she was face presentation and that only a small percentage of larger babies with face presentation will be born without forceps, then a huge weight was lifted off my shoulders.

I think it's worse to try to repress your feelings about the birth. Far better to have someone explain anything you need, so that you don't blame yourself for anything you struggled with.

flowers to you for suffering PND - I hope you're getting help for it.

ricketytickety Fri 08-Jul-16 19:46:12

I had one after my lo had difficulties during birth. Settled my mind about some questions I had, some of which were about what could I have done better (the answer was nothing, but they gave me time to explore this and convince myself I couldn't have done anything better).

RandomMess Fri 08-Jul-16 19:48:00

I found them helpful.

AlfrescoBalconyWanker Fri 08-Jul-16 19:48:18

I got my notes after DC1 was born. I also read Kitzinger's Birth Your Way where she described my birth experience to a T. I was told I "had" to have all sorts of intervention that I didn't need. I was told I'd had an epi, my notes said not. In fact, my notes didn't bear a lot of relation to what actually happened, because I didn't ask, as the notes claimed, for the all sorts of things that they did to me. And I went through them again with an independent midwife who was able to talk honestly (because she was not employed by the NHS trust) about the pressure the MW would have been under to do or say X, why she would have done X or Y based on Z etc. I did get (more) mad, but it helped to feel the blame shift from me to The System and DH

Certainly made a difference with subsequent births.

ClaretAndBlue30 Fri 08-Jul-16 19:49:57

I didn't have pnd but did have a debrief (when DD was 4 months old) due to a difficult birth and severe post partum haemorrhage. It helped me understand the sequence of events and why what was done was done (as I had a lot of misgivings about certain decisions). I 100% felt it was worth it and it gave me some closure to the whole episode. Some very important questions were answered and I know I would have wondered, most likely for the rest of my life, what the answers were.

Hope you are ok fourteen flowers

GloGirl Fri 08-Jul-16 19:51:17

Curious about this. I'm tempted. I know having one really helped a friend.

LowlLowl Fri 08-Jul-16 19:53:39

I had a traumatic birth with DS1 and didn't have a debrief at the time (I felt like it wouldn't help and wanted to deal with it in my own way). Then when I got pregnant with DS2 a lot of it came back and I went for a debrief then which was amazingly helpful. I think it helped having the gap because I could be a lot more dispassionate about it. It helped me see that I wasn't a failure and that history wasn't necessarily about to repeat itself.

I'm sorry you're having a tough time. I hope you've got supportive people around you. Do what you need to do to look after yourself flowers

FrancesHaHa Fri 08-Jul-16 19:53:46

I would definately have one if I was going to have more children. In fact, if I'd had one, I might have had more than one (child).

At the time I thought I was in control of things, but when I think about it now so many things were unclear.

A friend of mine had one after her first, and she told me it was really helpful to understand why things happened the way they did, and that some things weren't as she thought - eg that she thought certain parts of the labour went on for hours, but were actually a short period of time.

I hope you're also being offered counselling support?

MadAboutFourteen Fri 08-Jul-16 19:53:47

Thanks all. Will give it a go.

I'm getting help but it doesn't feel like enough. Things feel very bleak.

Twerking9to5 Fri 08-Jul-16 19:54:06

Really helped me too. The midwife talking me through it was fantastic and didn't rush anything. I came away feeling like I understood what had happened and why.


nousernames Fri 08-Jul-16 19:56:07

I did not find mine useful at all.

StarlingMurmuration Fri 08-Jul-16 20:02:31

I had one eight months after a traumatic birth leading to birth injuries which I needed an operation for, and PND. It made an enormous difference to me, both because it reassured me that they had done everything in their power to save the life of my son (so my injury was unavoidable to get him out safely) and that, if I were to get pregnant again, they would allow me to have a ELCS without argument. I dwelled upon the birth for a long time after DS was born, and after I'd had the debrief, I pretty much stopped thinking about it at all.

zoobaby Fri 08-Jul-16 20:37:27

Hope it helps Mad. I didn't have PND but a traumatic first birth really impacted upon my 2nd pregnancy and the third trimester in the lead up to the birth. I had an appointment with a senior midwife to go through the notes (2 years on). It really did help me to put perspective on things and to understand how/why certain actions were taken and when they were performed and the clinical reasoning behind each decision. It was very helpful for my situation. I hope you find your debrief to be equally valuable.

KayTee87 Fri 08-Jul-16 20:42:00

I think it would be helpful if all didn't go to plan. For instance I was talking to my mum about my birth which was a very long labour that ended in a traumatic emc - I asked her if she knew the reason and she only knew the basics. She said no one ever explained anything in those days and was quite frustrated that she couldn't give me the details 28 years on.

Paddingtonthebear Fri 08-Jul-16 20:45:11

I had one. Three years after giving birth. I didn't have PND but the birth was very hard and a few years later I decided I needed to talk through and piece together what happened and why it happened.

Whathaveilost Fri 08-Jul-16 20:45:47

I have never heard of de briefs.
When did they become commonplace?

Paddingtonthebear Fri 08-Jul-16 20:50:05

I don't think they are common place but they are available if you had a traumatic labour. They are called debrief service or sometimes birth afterthoughts service. I was given a leaflet by my local health team about it.

Are you left with unanswered questions after your birth experience?

"The Birth Afterthoughts service provides you with an opportunity, following your birth experience, to have any questions answered that you may not have previously asked.

At any point in time after your birth experience you may call a designated phone line, leaving your name and contact number. A midwife will get back to you to arrange a meeting at a mutually convenient time and venue. You will be offered a one-off session with a midwife lasting up to an hour."

Susieqt Fri 08-Jul-16 20:52:11

Do it
I had mine nearly 2 years after a really traumatic birth, hadn't heard of them at the time, and it finally gave me closure and helped me understand why decisions were made and what went on. Was invaluable to me and I have a clear birth story now.

LifeIsGoodish Fri 08-Jul-16 20:52:49

I had one 2y after the birth. It made an enormous difference to me, and enabled me to go forward to my next labour with a positive outlook.

The debriefing midwife acknowledged my feelings and my opinions, it was very much a two-way conversation. She explained why things had happened, and was forthright when she said that certain things should not have happened. She empowered me to say "No" when I did not want something to happen (which I did, several times, in subsequent labours).

My subsequent labours were increasingly good experiences, and the good experience literally wiped away the distress of my first labour.

Hope it goes well for you.

PanickingwithacapitalP Fri 08-Jul-16 20:56:37

Didn't help me at all

Mine was badly organised, badly located in the hospital and added to my pain

LaurieMarlow Fri 08-Jul-16 20:57:22

I think generally it's better to talk about things than not. And it feels like an empowering thing for women to take ownership over their birth stories.

Do it.

Paddingtonthebear Fri 08-Jul-16 20:57:39

When I went to my meeting I was a bit nervous because I thought going to it three years after giving birth they might think I was weird.

I went in and the midwife said "I've read all your notes, you had a really hard time of it didn't you?". And that immediately put me at ease and made me realise that she was going to listen and help me understand what happened.

Of course it doesn't really change anything but I definitely came away feeling better about it all.

MidMay Fri 08-Jul-16 20:58:37

I've debriefed women (and partners) who've had births that have not gone to plan and it can be really helpful for putting events in context and gaining closure on unanswered questions. As a HCP it's a good learning experience for us too.

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