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To wish my friend would give it a rest about her birth experience?

(128 Posts)
Heatherbell1978 Tue 16-Jan-18 11:12:19

One of my friends gave birth 6 years ago to her DD. By all accounts it was fairly traumatic; induction, 2 day labour then emergency CS. I think she was taken by surprise by the experience and it shook her up. Her DD was difficult and she went back to work quite early from mat leave. She's a high flyer and quite a perfectionist so things just didn't work out quite as prefect. She won't have any more kids now.

I was very sympathetic at the time although didn't have my own experience to call upon. She used to talk about it all the time and get quite drunk and angry while doing so.

Wind on a few years and I've had DS and DD. Neither birth was 'easy'; DS was back to back and I had a post partum heamorrage after DD which meant a rush into surgery. But both were quick, gas and air only and water births so very lucky in that respect.

I don't see said friend very often but when I do she still talks about the birth. She brought it up while on my birthday night out at the weekend in a very animated way going on about how people who don't have epidurals are stupid for trying to do it naturally and just how horrific it all is. I kept quiet as I just couldn't be bothered saying that actually my experience wasn't but it was a clear dig at me.

Could she still be suffering with some kind of post traumatic stress or something?!

GlitterUnicornsAndAllThatJazz Tue 16-Jan-18 11:14:16

Maybe a subconscious part of her is angry that the trauma of her first birth left her too scared to have a second child.

TheDailyMailIsADisgustingRag Tue 16-Jan-18 11:20:00

Poor woman. She’s clearly not over it at all.

But, yanbu to not want to discuss it all the time... I have no idea what to suggest. I guess as you don’t see her very much then it doesn’t really matter?

Do you feel as if your birth experiences are being minimised a bit? I get that, but then, I do think there’s something about someone still feeling very angry and talking a lot about their birth, after six years. I think she sounds utterly traumatised tbh.

rightsaidfrederickII Tue 16-Jan-18 11:30:38

The poor woman does sound traumatised. Not really my area, but is there any sort of help available for people who have experienced a traumatic birth e.g. Counselling?

whiskyowl Tue 16-Jan-18 11:34:03

It sounds as though this was a huge deal for her and she is still not OK. Which is understandable. We all react differently. You don't have to tolerate her digs, though. If you don't see her regularly, scaling down contact still further should be easy.

peachgreen Tue 16-Jan-18 11:34:15

Telling and retelling a story is a very common symptom of PTSD.

Heatherbell1978 Tue 16-Jan-18 11:37:37

To be honest she's not the type who would go to counselling. She studied psychology and is in that kind of area within HR with her career. I think she'd be very offended if I even suggested it. It's the manner by which she talks about it though. Very loudly, angry and condescending to people who have had easier experiences. I don't really want to talk about my births every time time I see her but at times you'd think I'd never given birth, she's just not interested in advice from someone who 'doesn't understand' as I had it so easy.
I don't see her much so it's not a huge issue for me, I'm just frustrated that the table on my night out had to listen to her drunken rambles about her childbirth for around an hour😩 Lots of friends haven't had children so it wasn't a discussion they were that interested in

x2boys Tue 16-Jan-18 11:37:49

Would she have counselling? I went through a completely different traumatic experience a few years ago i found counselling really helpful because I was able to talk through the whole thing with someone listening to me .

CheapSausagesAndSpam Tue 16-Jan-18 11:38:20

Your friend's birth sounds textbook similar to mine. I had the same with DD1 and it was AWFUL.

I still think about it now and DD1 is 13.

I had PTSD basically....and when she was 6 I was still in that phase. I've just begun to feel normal over the past year.


I didn't talk about it much but then your friend might cope differently....talking might help her.

x2boys Tue 16-Jan-18 11:38:25

Sorry cross post.

PinkHeart5914 Tue 16-Jan-18 11:41:08

Fair enough if she isn’t over it but that doesn’t mean she has the right to make digs at you and to have a dig over it on your birthday night out i mean seriously?

Birth is not a competition, and someone has always had a worse or better birth than you it’s just the way it is.

Yanbu If she wants to talk about it then she needs to look for some counselling not make digs at friends and expect them to listen after all these years.

Shineystrawberrylover Tue 16-Jan-18 11:52:19

I have a friend who similarly still raises the experience (awful) she is seriously overprotective of her dd as a result and will passionately tell me she couldn't do it again because her dd might end up motherless. I honestly think her daughter will grow up to never get pregnant if she carries on as she very much lives her whole life with her daughter next to her.
I have suggested she consider counselling for the experience (as it helped me).
It's sad that it's such a big part of her life still.

TreadSoftlyOnMyDreams Tue 16-Jan-18 12:07:35

I think she'd be very offended if I even suggested it.
She might stop talking about it though?

peachgreen Tue 16-Jan-18 12:09:00

I had PTSD from a different traumatic experience and made a complete idiot of myself for several years as I told and retold the same story in completely inappropriate situations to completely inappropriate people. It was awful. Looking back it makes me cringe myself inside out. But I really couldn't help it. Your friend needs help. If she won't accept it that's awful, but I suspect she's really suffering.

GreatDuckCookery Tue 16-Jan-18 12:13:26

She's sounds a nightmare. Lots of women ( me included) have had terrible birth experiences but know that not everyone wants or needs to keep hearing about it, especially if she's being angry and condescending too.

Youcanstayundermyumbrella Tue 16-Jan-18 12:19:31

I know someone who was like this, and was diagnosed with PTSD after about four years. She had some counselling and it did make a difference. I think pretty much all our mutual friends were utterly fed up with hearing every detail of the birth repeatedly, and it took quite a while of us suggesting she sought help before she did.

I get that you don't feel able to make that suggestion to her. Do you know if she's ever had a debrief of her birth with a senior midwife? Hospitals offer this; someone will read through the delivery notes and any other relevant information, and then talk you through what happened and what the options at each stage would have been. They will also apologise if it appears to them that mistakes were made. Someone else I knew was badly traumatised by her labour and I put her in touch with a midwife friend who looked through her photocopied notes with her, said the whole thing looked appalling and badly documented, and then she went back to her hospital and was given a full apology for their failings (none of which had resulted in any physical harm to her or her baby luckily).

quizqueen Tue 16-Jan-18 12:19:57

People say and do things because they are allowed to. Tell her that after 6 years of hearing the same story you are fed up of hearing the same thing over and over again especially when it encroaches on something like a birthday celebration. So, she either needs to seek help to get over it or forget it and realise that no one else is interested any longer. I had two horrific deliveries but my adult daughters are the joy of my life so I don't give their births a second thought. It just happened.
She's just being self indulgent. Don't be her audience any longer.

goodiegoodieyumyum Tue 16-Jan-18 12:20:52

I nearly bled to death 5 days after i had my DD, I don't think about it much but today a day after her 10th birthday I am in a bad mood and in tears and it took me several hours to realise that maybe part of my bad mood was associated with my anger with the NHS who basically told the discomfort I felt after giving birth was normal and ignored my heavy bleeding and told me to stay at home until I was basically unconscious. It turned out I had a Haematoma and torn Urethra not at all normal at all. The fact I was on blood thinners to me makes it all the worse, i think.

Thank god I had my second child in the Netherlands, the after care I had there would have me getting to the stage of being uconscious would never have happened.

SendintheArdwolves Tue 16-Jan-18 12:21:07

Next time she brings it up, say "I'm worried about you that you still seem so angry and aggressive about your experiences. TBH, it makes me feel quite attacked, which I'm sure isn't your intention. Have you considered having some counselling to help you get over it?"

She will either react positively or negatively. If she reacts positively - great, you can support her in her recovery. If she reacts negatively - well, she might think twice about bringing it up in front of you again.

ScipioAfricanus Tue 16-Jan-18 12:26:29

It does sound horrid for you to have it repeatedly brought up and her actions do seem to suggest some unprocessed trauma. She also sounds quite defensive - I wonder if she has other friends or acquaintances who have been very smug and boastful about non medicated and non CS births? I came across loads of these women, wanting to tell me their ‘birth story’ at great length (I wasn’t considered to have a birth story, since I had a planned CS in a high risk pregnancy for medical reasons - and not without its complications before and after for me and my child), and it made me quite defensive about how much luck (rather than innate earth mother skill) is involved in a good birth experience. However if she is always bringing this up out of the blue it sounds less like defensive attack and more like trauma.

nutnerk Tue 16-Jan-18 12:26:33

You need to create a line that you are happy with and repeat it whenever she brings it up. She will get the message soon enough.

Think class MN 'Did you mean to be so rude' - make it clear what she is saying is offensive and that everyone has their own experience, struggles and different circumstances and people shouldn't be judged for it.

HolyShet Tue 16-Jan-18 12:29:15

tbh - Offend her, if that's what's needed.
She needs some support with this, clearly.
It's affecting her friendships - with you - possibly others.
If she has a professional role which touches on this she may recognise the truth in what you are saying even if she prickles at first.

Dipitydoda Tue 16-Jan-18 12:29:42

Can’t believe some of the responses on here about someone whose mental health has clearly been seriously affected by a traumatic experience. It sounds like she’s got Ptsd, it’s prob either stopped her having another or another hasn’t happened so hasn’t been able to have a better birth experience. She needs help and sympathy.

MrsDustyBusty Tue 16-Jan-18 12:35:16

She's clearly unable to cope with the aftermath of the birth. She may not welcome a suggestion of birth trauma counselling, but it sounds like she does need some help to process the event.

Poor woman. I'm sure it's annoying but she sounds like she has been struggling for some time and this has possibly prevented her from having the family she may have wanted.

HolyShet Tue 16-Jan-18 12:36:51

when I say offend her, I mean by suggesting counselling - hope that's clear!

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