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To feel 'conned' by the whole natural childbirth/labour and breastfeeding hardsell?

(84 Posts)
angel1976 Sun 08-Nov-09 12:04:55

I don't post that much on AIBU cos I am mostly scared of most of you! But I do want to know truly if I am the only person who feels this way about childbirth/labour/BF-ing?

DS2 born last Wednesday. I am truly happy and blessed now to have two very healthy and gorgeous sons. However, both my childbirth/labour/BF-ing experience have left me feeling quite down and I wonder if I AIBU to feel this way?

DS1 - Got 'sold' all the crap facts about natural labour without pain relief, drugs are bad etc, every woman can BF etc etc. Had very 'aspirational' ideas of how the birth of DS1 would be - birthing pool, calm etc.

Reality is I had a very quick labour. Midwives did not believe I was in labour when I got into hospital. Left screaming on the floor in waiting room. Got into delivery suite, 7cm dilated, I was completely hazy with pain (can't remember the details of what happened next TBH). DS1 was in distress with each contraction. All I remembered was loads of people rushing in, DS1 delivered with ventouse, had a horrendous 48 hours in hospital with no support, no help with BF-ing. Struggled with BF-ing big-time, got told over and over again what I was going through was normal. As a background, I have a pituitary tumour that messes with my hormones and could be the reason why I struggled so much with BF-ing. Tried to get every help I could with it and even the BF-ing counsellor told me in the end to use formula and was so concerned with my state of mind (I was crying all the time cos I felt I 'failed' as a mother by not being able to BF) that she called my HV to come and see me. In the end I was very depressed for at least 6 months after DS1's birth and did not enjoy that time with him.

DS2 - Definitely wanted pain relief of some sort. Again, got to hospital late. Midwifes believe me this time about how quick everything is happening (as one of the midwives know me fairly well). Asked for pain relief straightaway and instead of giving it straight to me, the midwives tried to use gas and air as a 'bargaining' tool and held off giving it to me! hmm

Realised straightaway gas and air is another 'con', I was in so much pain. Midwives kept telling me I was doing well and refused to give me any other pain relief. Shouted to them I could feel DS2's head but was not believed till DH shouted to them that I wasn't lying! My waters didn't break and the midwives thought my waters will break first so again, got caught unawares.

DS2 born last Wednesday, Friday I felt a lot of pressure underneath and had an emergency callout with the midwife and got diagnosed with a vaginal prolapse. Got told I wouldn't get to see a gyne for another 2-3 weeks on the NHS. Luckily DH has private healthcare and we are going down that route on Monday. Trust me, if you have a vaginal prolapse, you do not want to WAIT to see a doctor. Again, struggling with BF-ing. DH spotted that DS2 is tongue tied like DS1, confirmed by the midwife who came on the first day.

I just feel so depressed by the whole thing. I really feel I was 'mis-sold' everything about childbirth and BF-ing! I've never even heard of a vaginal prolapse before it happened to me. I know I am VERY, VERY lucky that I have two beautiful boys and that I am 'healthy' (relatively speaking) but I wished someone had warned me the 'reality' of having two natural childbirths so close together. And now to be struggling with a vaginal prolapse and BF-ing at the same time, I can almost feel the old depression that swamped so much of my early days with DS1 coming back... I have a very close friend who has had an elective C-section cos she didn't want to feel labour pains and I used to think what a wimp she was and though it wasn't by choice, I felt kinda proud of having had DS1 completely naturally.

Now I just feel cheated and angry. So what if I had two vaginal births and only with gas and air with the second one? My body is seriously f*ed up. I have women issues only faced by old women... While my friend with the C-section has no issues as far as I know other than a scar... So AIBU????????????????????

MitchyInge Sun 08-Nov-09 12:08:33


relax, get well soon and enjoy your babies your way!

Morloth Sun 08-Nov-09 12:08:39

Having children (in any way) puts a strain on your body. It is the trade off we make for them.

diddl Sun 08-Nov-09 12:11:14

Of course YANBU.

But I´m wondering who "sold" you all this.

PacificGuywood Sun 08-Nov-09 12:14:58


What a terrible time of it you've had.
Congratulations on the arrival of your son, but also commiserations at not having had a positive birth/post birth experience.

Please speak to you community midwife/HV about how bad you are feeling. Concentrate on recovering just now, get your prolapse sorted. I am glad you have an appointment very soon.

When you feel up to it you can contact the hospital where you delivered and ask for a "debrief" of your delivery/ies. A lot women find it very helpful to get some explanation for why what happended.

Unfortunately, sometimes it is those who have had the highest expectations for their birth experience who have the worst experiences and feel the most cheated sad. You are only a few days after having given birth, your hormones (even without pituatary tumour!) will be all over the place and you are unlikely to be at your most resilient.
Allow yourself to be angry, sad, exhausted and whatever else you are feeling, but equally do seek support and help.

I do hope you feel better, physically and emotionally soon. And that you find the peace to enjoy your son's first days/weeks.

posieparker Sun 08-Nov-09 12:19:33

You can seek counselling for this, I think it's quite common following the euphoria of getting a baby to be disappointed how we got them out! I have had sections and feel lucky that having to defend my position, the last two were elective, I feel very strongly about a woman's right to choose and that caesearean is as good as any other method of delivery. There are no heroes in childbirth, no medals just mothers and babies.

I guess OP pride cometh before a fall.

JjandtheBean Sun 08-Nov-09 12:28:14


i felt the same, ds was tongue tied, barely breastfed at all, yet id never heard of it and had no idea until he was 8mnths and played around poking his tongue at people! dd was bf for 9mnths when she self weaned which many have told me she couldnt do, well she did!!! trust me i was gutted!!

Due to two WRONG suspected babies with IUGR ive had two c-secs both planned, so never had a contraction, i felt a failure, and a cheat for ages, then i see my beautiful 1 and 2yr old playing and what does it matter, theyre both very happy and healthy!

prettyfly1 Sun 08-Nov-09 12:28:27

YANBU. What you are trying to say is that surely if a woman and child get through birth easily and safely with no lasting complications and the child is happy and well fed post birth than THAT is the ideal way to enter motherhood REGARDLESS of how it happens. You have discovered how wrong the whole "its only worthy if its natural, and you bf" is. Noone hands out medals for natural delivery - The priority is health and my fingers are crossed that you feel better soon. It just happens sometimes that birth and bf dont work out how we hope and NOONE should make you feel bad about that - least of all yourself.

gorionine Sun 08-Nov-09 12:34:19

congratulations on your DSs!

YANBU, surely it should be up to the mother to choose which pain relief she thinks appropriate, with minimal imput from the midwife unless real medical issue.

I had a similar experience whith the birth of DD1. The midwife did not believe labour had started, refused to call Dh because according to her ""baby would certainly not come tonight and most probably not tomorrow!"" Well DD1 was there 5 hours later! Gas and air (my choice) but the midwife I use to see before hospital was a different one top the one I had a bith and was fantastic, when I told her I wanted as little pain relief as possible, she sais "put in your birth plan that you IDEALLY only want gas and air but reserve yourswelf the right of asking for stronger pain relief""

Now WRT BF, after a short labour I was tired but ok. DDwas born at 6 in the mornong and they reliesed me from hospital at 10 in the morning the following day. The first day DD slept throughout the day so did not BF, on the day I was leaving, nobody thought it was important (even after me requesting a bit of help) to show me how to actually BF her as "it would come naturally" NOT!!!! And two weeks of hell followed as neither DD nor me had a clue what wewere doing. I did persevere but I can tell you that I was close to give up many times and had it not been for DH's fantastic support (my mum lives abrod as the rest of my +DH's family so not much support from them), I would have given up all together.

I think one of the issues is that midwifes do wish a nice straightoforeward birth to all mums and maybe tend to forget that a nice straightforward birth is one that goes along with the mum's wishes.

I do agree with Morloth :By Morloth Sun 08-Nov-09 12:08:39
"Having children (in any way) puts a strain on your body. It is the trade off we make for them." I am not sure a csection is necessarily gentler on the body.

policywonk Sun 08-Nov-09 12:34:46

I'm so sorry about all the crap you've experienced. Nothing you feel about childbirth and breastfeeding could be construed as unreasonable, given your experiences.

But... IMO the problem isn't so much the promotion of non-instrumental/medical childbirth and breastfeeding: it's the wholesale promotion of those things without giving women the support they need to achieve them.

We ask women to give birth with insufficient care from midwives and labour ward staff, and we ask them to breastfeed without sufficient support from people who know wtf they're talking about. The result is a lot of women who feel as you do. It's a disgrace.

Georgimama Sun 08-Nov-09 12:36:59

I'm sorry your birth experiences have been so traumatic but it isn't fair to say that natural childbirth is a "con". Many many women are able to give birth with little or no pain relief (not because that's an end in itself, but because they choose to) and to BF. I'm sorry you weren't supported enough to do those things.

Maria2007loveshersleep Sun 08-Nov-09 12:37:22

Congratulations on the birth of your DS! Please try to look after yourself as much as you can, get all the support you need, & rest...

YANBU, in that this seems to happen to many women. There is a lot of people who hope for wholly 'natural' labours that are going to be good experiences. The reality often (unfortunately, very often) disappoints. For various reasons...

In a way though, YABabitU because it's not the biggest secret in the world that labour can be very hard & doesn't go according to plan. I do agree that 'natural childbirth' is discussed a lot nowadays, but difficult labours & the problems around them are also discussed. Maybe you didn't want to hear those stories because you hoped for a wonderful labour? I'm so sorry yours wasn't what you had expected...

As for the bf, it's a different thing, there's more you can control about making it work, but ultimately that's quite hard too for some women(as it seems it's hard in your case). Maybe get some good help from a bf counsellor who can come to your home? Or a doula, if you can afford it?

Kadiya Sun 08-Nov-09 12:37:23

I don't think you are being unreasonable at all in the way you feel, but you need to put the 'natural' deliveries and section deliveries into perspective.
You have had two VERY traumatic births and are having to cope with the issues surrounding that, as well as adapt to your expandig family and having health issues too.
It's no wonder you feel let down!
I have had two sections and believe me, they are no walk in the park at all. Once you have had one, you suddenly become a "high risk" patient if you get pregnant again...there are chances of placenta accretia/praevia, scar rupture, sticky bladder/bowels, deep vein thrombosis, hysterectomy and more. You have had major abdominal surgery, and if you had a drain put in, you have to have that taken out and it HURTS. You also have to have someone else wash you and change your pads for you the first day, are made to get up the next day to try and get in the bath, all the time feeling like your innards are about to fall out. You need help to even bottle feed your baby.
You are at higher risk for PND, many section women do not breastfeed at all and feel like they lost something from the birth. Not all, but some.
I also had two natural deliveries, my vba2c was exactly four hours start to finish and resulted in a second degree tear. I struggled to breastfeed, but it turned out that I had hypothyroidism, so my milk just dried up completly. My stitches hurt and I had no bladder control AT ALL
When I got pregnant with my fourth, I knew there was no point in going into hospital just to 'push' the baby out (HA! I don't get chance to push) so I had a home water birth.
39 minutes of labour and he was out. Another second degree tear.
I have to admit, I went into shock after him, I just couldn't cope with what happened. Don't get me wrong, my hubby was thrilled to help his son into the world, to cut the cord and for us all to be able to go to our own bed instead of worrying about hospital visits etc, but I didn't come round from the shock for a couple of hours.
I have been warned that if I have anymore, then they will be 'traumatic' births too, because that just seems to be the way my body works.
I find breastfeeding extremely difficult, for so many different reasons, but mainly because of the emotional impact on I breastfeed for as long as I possibly can and them move on to FF.Not for everyone, but it is for me.
I have to, otherwise I feel like a failure and that puts me in danger of getting PND...
If the breastfeeding isn't working for you, then accept that and move on. There will be plenty who will disagree with me about changing to or using Formula, but your kiddies need a happy mummy, not a sad one.
A happy mummy makes a happy baby, not the other way round ;)

Georgimama Sun 08-Nov-09 12:37:31

x posted with PW. What she said.

MintyCane Sun 08-Nov-09 12:39:24

YANBU it is very very hard. There is a very good book called Life After Birth &sr=8-1 that helped me get over the shock it is very honest. It does get easier and re the breastfeeding it is only the first weeks that are so hard honest.

policywonk Sun 08-Nov-09 12:42:03

And also what Georgi said grin

Kadiya Sun 08-Nov-09 12:45:48

Policywonk, I totally agree with what you have said

Lulumama Sun 08-Nov-09 12:57:39

policywonk has hit hte nail on the head

i am so sorry you feel like this and i have every sympathy as i had similar after the birth of DC1...

i would make an appointment to go through your birth notes.. even finding out something simple, like you were not given pethidine as labour was too advanced and your baby would have been born too sleepy can help you make sense of why things happened hte way they did

it is hard to take on board what is being said to you whilst in labour if you are distressed and your pain is not managed.

i am also sorry about your prolapse and hope you get sorted quickly

please take time to talk through your births and i thikn it will help you

BertieBotts Sun 08-Nov-09 13:02:37

When they take the placenta out, they put the guilt in.

Can't remember who said that (it may have been on here I read it) but it's so true - as a mother you will find something to feel guilty about or that you haven't done well enough. FGS, I felt like a failure for ages because I had read up about and planned to do elimination communication with my baby (which, for the uninitiated, is basically taking the baby to the potty every 20 minutes or so when they are tiny and then following them around with it when they are older so that they never have to sit around in a wet/dirty nappy) - it didn't work for us at all, I was rubbish at reading his "pee signals" and never even managed to get on with washable nappies so he is in disposables now - the complete opposite of what I had planned to do.

It gets easier as they get older and it is in the past and you are not comparing yourself to other mothers.

Booyhoo Sun 08-Nov-09 13:13:33

how horrendous for you.

it sounds like you have been massively let down by HCPs on a number of issues. you definitely havent reieved the support that one should expect and indeed requires during pregnancy and the early days of motherhood.

i understand you feeling you have been misold an ideal, but i think its rather a case of you perhaps not being open to the fact that very rarely does childbirth go to anyone's plan and often we find it hard to deal with that without there being someone to apportion blame to. i do think its very early days and you have gone through alot and are still very emotional about it all but i do completely understand where you are coming from.

i think you should definitely discuss your issues with someone (HV/GP) after things have settled down a bit as you seem to need clarification/ reasons fro alot of what has happened.

Booyhoo Sun 08-Nov-09 13:23:46

also, gas and air is a very effective pain relief method for lots of mothers but does damn all for others. it isnt a con, its a viable option, just not the one that worked best for you. nobody was trying to con you into taking gas and air to keep you in pain.

sarah293 Sun 08-Nov-09 13:26:32

Message withdrawn

emmarussell Sun 08-Nov-09 15:34:52

I sympathise with you alot! I had natural births and they went fine and were both born at home. However, I had stitches and have had alot of pain since. Birth should be about believing the mother and respecting and supporting her choices and views (within the limits of safety of course). Hospital midwives often do not listed to the mothers or believe them and the NCT for example do set up a myth that if you try hard enough you can have a natural birth. There are also not enough Dr's to do c-sections/ epidurals so they are trained to try and talk you out of it.

Don't let this stop you enjoying your babies though. If you do feel depressed or anxious there are perinatal mental health teams who can help so speak to your GP. And if you prefer to bottle feed then do it. Don't let anyone else make you feel guilty. What makes you feel relaxed and happy is good for you and the baby.


Oblomov Sun 08-Nov-09 16:07:12

You prob need some counselling. Someone to go through your birth notes with you.
Agree with who sold this to you ? I never had any expectation that it was going to be easy, but was still shocked at how hard it all is.
You need some bf'ing support and advice. My bf counsellor at local hospital is not well advertised. But she was fab.
Are you having the tongue tie snipped. I did. best thing I ever did. Bf'ing did get a little bit easier.
You poor love,. Hold on in there and we will try and help you.

Oblomov Sun 08-Nov-09 16:08:27

By the way, I have had 2 emcs, but I still thought I could support you.

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