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Emotional Support needed

(11 Posts)
NewMummy5July2011 Fri 19-Aug-11 08:37:41

I could really use some support. BF hasn't worked out for me - I won't go into all the details, but was separated from my DD at birth - only held her once in a 24 hour period, was in hospital for 6 days, DD was in NICU, I was traumatised by labour that ended in EMCS. Milk took over a week to come in, DD was fed forumula in hospital, BF was a disaster. I gave up after 10 days of desperately trying and now I mainly FF and I give DD what breastmilk I can.

However, I guess I'm feeling really guilty - for me personally I had desperately wanted to BF - it's the vision I had whilst pregnant, I never pictured anything other than BF. My DD is 5 weeks old now and doing really well with formula milk, I guess I'm just struggling with lots of guilty feelings - how she was born (i.e. my body just wouldn't perform), feeding (body again just wouldn't perform)... and I keep reflecting on those early days. Did I give up too soon? At the time I couldn't cope, was crying everyday, DD was screaming constantly, I was exhausted and traumatised... and didn't know what to do.

I found at the time BF counsellors to be useless for me as well. I remember trying everything. But now I look around at other women who have struggled and succeeded and wonder if I could have done anything differently. I don't feel overly judged but I do feel I am judging myself.

I have lots of friends who have FF, and most of my friends were FF themselves so it's not the formula part that bothers me. I suppose it's more coming to grips with things turning out differently than I thought. And of course seeing the constant breast is best message.

Just wondering if there is anyone else out there that felt this way, and what you did / how you managed to overcome these feelings.

WoTmania Fri 19-Aug-11 08:54:30

Sounds like you really need to 'tell your story', lots. I don't know about the other BF organistations but I know that LLL BFCs will definitely sit and talk through your experience on the phone with you. Sometimes just talking to someone who is not a friend/family can help.

ChildofIsis Fri 19-Aug-11 09:00:34

Try to be gentle with yourself.
You've had a shock and been through some things that you didn't expect.
As long as your baby is feeding well and putting on weight then you are doing your best for her.

You have done nothing wrong so have no need to feel guilty.
Please don't blame yourself/body anymore.
Your DD is 5 weeks and doing well, that's down to your mothering skills and nurturing.
You are doing a great job. Well done!.

Mampig Fri 19-Aug-11 09:12:14

Oh dearsad. The important thing for you to remember is that you and your body have produced an amazing human being!! At the end of the day, that is what measures success- not how you got there! I know it's easy to say but sooo true! Over 9 months you have nurtured and protected. And you are continuing to do this/ how it's done is not the main concern! Congratulations on your new baby and please stop beating yourself up- you are doing a wonderful job smile

beatofthedrum Fri 19-Aug-11 09:27:22

You poor soul. I have not been through this but my second birth was so far from my imagined birth that I felt traumatised by it. I know exactly what you mean about finding it hard to accept that things did not happen as you'd planned/hoped. You're also dealing with so many things - am EMCS is horrendous (well, I found it so), the worry of your baby being in special care, the stress of feeding, your own weakness after the surgery...all this on top of adjusting to the stresses and joys and exhaustion of having a new baby.
I think it takes time to take it all in and accept that what happened is part of your 'life experience'. Yes, it's good to talk. That's awful you are having guilt feelings - you have done AMAZINGLY in very difficult circumstances, gave bf your best shot and you must look at your baby, see that she is thriving, and know that is due to your love and care. Bf is important to me so I do understand the disappointment. However it sounds like at that point in time you had no choice, you made the decision through love and worry for your daughter.
My experience was not nearly as traumatic as yours as my baby was not in special care, but I found it took six full months to 'get over' my birth. You're just five weeks in. You sound such a caring and loving mother - focus on your baby and take care of yourself, you have been through so much. It will take a while but these shocking happenings will become part of your history. You have your dd safe so just take your time getting better yourself and ask for support from your friends and family.

lilham Fri 19-Aug-11 10:12:41

My birth experience was really bad and every time I talked about it I can't help but cry. But talking about it lots help. I think it's after about 3 months that I can think about the birth without bringing tears to my eyes. Time will heal the wounds and just talk to anyone who are kind enough to listen. Seeing my DD thrive helps put the bad memories in the past too.

And if anytime you think you are heading towards depression, seek professional help. It's all too common us women suffer this alone.

NewMummy5July2011 Fri 19-Aug-11 11:23:50

Thanks everyone for your kind words of support. Lilham - I'm keeping an eye on how I feel as is my husband - I do have down days but I'm very aware of my feelings and if I think I'm heading towards PND I will definitely seek help straightaway. I suppose I probably haven't talked quite enough about the birth - at the moment I try to push it away from my thoughts - but it inevitably creeps back up through anxiety dreams or just occassional flashbacks. I find it hard to talk about with crying through.

beatofthedrum - I also found the EMCS awful and really scary. And the first day in hospital I sobbed all day being separated from my little girl. I also remember screaming at the midwives as nobody would bring me a syringe and I was desperate to give her colostrum - it was the only thing at the time I felt I had any control over.

I love my little girl so much and there isn't anything I wouldn't do for her. I probably do need to just keep talking about it until the feelings start to get better.

FerretMum Fri 19-Aug-11 16:06:32

Hi NewMummy

First of all Congratulations on the the birth of your lovely daughter!

I am sorry to hear of the traumatic time you had giving birth and then being separated from your new baby, that must have been a terrible and frightening time. I understand your disappointment at not being able to breast feed, it is hard when things don't work out as you planned/hoped.

Please don't blame yourself, breast feeding may appear the most natural, instinctive thing in the world, but it is not! It is a learned skilled, for both of you, and in a society where it is almost taboo, not something you know or think about before you are suddenly trying to do it... There is an appalling lack of support available to bf mothers from the nhs, given the emphasis they put on "breast is best" during antenatal care. In fact postnatal care and support in the community is virtually non-existent full stop, in my experience...

The first few weeks of motherhood are incredibly hard - you are recovering from the birth, learning how to care for an entirely dependent baby and undergoing the torture that is sleep deprivation. You are bombarded with conflicting advice and information, and make the transition from hospital to being home alone... I have found breast feeding extremely hard work, still do at 13 wks, I wouldn't have been able to continue without the ongoing support I get from my peers at NCT and the local bf support group. In fact if it wasn't for the fact that my DD will not take a bottle (yet...) I don't know that I would still be ebf now even with all that support!

Ultimately we can only do the best we can at any given time, I think that is what we are all getting to realise as new parents... Things are seldom the ideal you hoped for, but you have to be objective and realise that actually, that's ok...

Wishing you well. xx

beatofthedrum Fri 19-Aug-11 16:22:23

I avoided talking about it as didn't want to upset myself, but in fact it just delayed feeling better. I am so sorry you have this huge mishmash of traumatic and upsetting feelings. You sound a lovely mum, very natural and instinctive, you're giving your all to your baby despite the turmoil you're in. Just hold her close and cry it out. I was scared to do that and went to ridiculous lengths to avoid it (got my DH to change round all the furniture in our bedroom as that was the scene for a lot of the labour, threw out my trainers and dressing gown I wore for the hospital dash as couldn't bear to look at them). Just be kind to yourself and give yourself time.
It's fantastic you gave her colostrum and all the milk you could at the start. Now you're nurturing her in so many ways. Hold strong. I felt very weak at 5 weeks as you're 'supposed' to be better by 6 weeks and I just wasn't. PM me if you're feeling low and want a cyber chat, your post has really touched a nerve with me and I am feeling for you very much. Hope you're having a restful day.

lilham Fri 19-Aug-11 16:43:07

I know how you feel thinking you are let down by the hospital staff. Talking to other mums, it's so common that makes me angry and sad at the same time now. Your story about separation with newborn is so similar to a mum I know. She didn't have EMCS, but was in theatre. She was separated with her baby after birth, she demanded many times the midwives to bring her baby to her so she can feed her. She later found out the baby was with her DH, who was holding a distressed crying baby, and not knowing where she was! angry Baby went to NICU afterward and that killed off the BF, with the lack of skin to skin IMHO. Neither of you did anything wrong. It's the state of care in the maternity units that's appalling.

Mollcat Sat 20-Aug-11 10:56:12

Hi NewMummy - excellent advice and you'll find great support here. It's so sad that so many of us go through these feelings and it is absolutely not your fault. You have nothing at all to feel guilty about. I did think I felt guilty, but gradually came to realise that what I'm feeling (and will always feel to some extent) is grief. I don't know if that helps - it sort of made more sense to me once I started to think of it that way. Anger, sadness, denial, feeling cheated are all part of grief. You've lost your chance at the vision you had when you were pregnant - I do know how that feels having had a difficult birth and then not being able to BF.

It is possible to have post-traumatic stress disorder rather than PND - flashbacks may be a part of that. This site was helpful to me in understanding what I was going through about the birth: and this blog post helped me with how I feel about BF (or not being able to):

PM me if it will help to tell more of your story. I'm more than happy to listen and have been so grateful to those who've listened to me (even, perhaps especially, the internet weirdies!!). I've been over mine a million times in my head and with other people (baby is now 13 weeks but it's still raw with me).

Most of all though, you sound like a wonderful caring and loving mummy. I know it doesn't feel like it now, but there will be other things as your daughter grows up which will help what you're feeling now recede a bit.

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