Advanced search

Got questions about giving birth? Know what to expect and when to expect it, with the Mumsnet Pregnancy Calendar.

Upset by labour- not valid apparently!!

(18 Posts)
Iwannalivebythesea Sun 10-Jul-11 08:56:08

I know I sound really silly but had my 3rd baby 2 weeks ago and can't stop thinking about the labour. It was really quick, from very first contraction to baby being born it was just over an hour. I don't know why since it was my 3rd time and both my other babies were quick also (1st about 7 hours and 2nd about 2.5 hours from first pain to baby) but I feel really traumatised by the whole thing and can't seem to get my head around it. It as by far my worst labour ever. The pains started 2 mins apart lasting about 90 secs and I was panicking the whole time and was genuinely scared!!! even though my other labours were quick, there as a build up, pain gradually got worse I had time to get my head around what as happening but this time it as just horrible.
when I got to the hospital, the midwife examined me and said I as 6cm and one more contraction and 1 push baby as born.

Everyone keeps telling me how lucky I was that it was so quick but I don't feel lucky, I don't know why I am upset by it but I really am to the point where I feel its stopping me enjoying the whole new baby thing. I seriously feel like I'm going mad as I really can't stop going over it in my head. dp keeps saying it was the best labour yet and telling me to stop being silly. I don't have an valid reason apparently to be upset and should just let it go (I know I should)
I don't even know why I'm writing this...maybe hoping someone has felt the same...or someone has some words of wisdom to help get over it...

sorry bit rambling, thanks

schmee Sun 10-Jul-11 09:05:25

Congratulations on your new baby. I don't really have any words of wisdom expect to say that this happened to a friend of mine and she was really upset by it - so you are not alone. It must have been really scary with no time to prepare yourself mentally for what was happening.

The fact that no-one is acknowledging how you feel must be difficult too - maybe you could explain to DP that if he acknowledged your fear you might find it easier to put it behind you.

BuckBuckMcFate Sun 10-Jul-11 09:14:51


I can understand why you would feel that way as you had no time mentally or physically to prepare yourself for what was about to happen.

With DC4 I felt like i had a very different labour to the other 3, nowhere near as traumatic as your experience, and I got quite upset and told DP during the labour that he had tricked me as I genuinely felt that way.

I'm not sure how you deal with it tbh, and I did find that my mind dwelt on it for the 1st few weeks.

I definitely think you need to have someone listen and acknowledge how you felt about your experience.

Take care

nomoreheels Sun 10-Jul-11 10:13:35

I had similar feelings after I had my DD 6 weeks ago. She was born in 5 & 3/4 hours so not nearly as quick as you, but I felt like I went from 0 - 10 in terms of contractions/pain in no time, & never had the chance to adjust to what was happening. I felt scared & utterly alone even though my DP was there & the midwife was lovely. So goodness knows how intense that must have been for you in one hour!

Did you have a specific birth plan? Another aspect is that I felt a bit cheated - my wishes for a waterbirth with dimmed lights & music ended up in the bin due to speed & complications. I thought I was prepared for a change in plan but I really wasn't, & accepting I was pissed off about it helped me a bit.

I'd also suggest spelling it out to your DP - telling you to stop being silly is no help at all. I've also had comments saying "aren't you lucky it was quick" & I just politely say "true, but I still found it all really hard..."

Is there anyone in RL you could talk to as well?

thursday Sun 10-Jul-11 10:29:52


there are no rules as to what you're allowed to be traumatised by. i was traumatised by both my births, and they were very different, and all i wanted to do was talk about it a lot. people dont like it though, they either think you're competing for shittest birth awards or that you're a drip. everyone says 'well, it's ok, everyone's fine' and you want to say 'well no, i'm not fine, that's why i keep bringing it up!!!'

it's only been 2 weeks, i hope with a bit more time you can put it behind you a bit. the fact you feel it's getting in the way of you enjoying your new baby is enough for you DP to take you seriously and stop dismissing how you feel. maybe speak to you HV if you have a good one, i had a wonderful on once and she made all the difference.

bagelmonkey Sun 10-Jul-11 10:40:41

I can't think of anything helpful or constructive, but your story left me feeling slightly shaken on your behalf, so I'm not surprised you feel traumatised! Hopefully being able to share your story with people who acknowledge your feelings will help a little. It diesnt sound like you had any time to get your head around it and it must've been pretty frightening. I had a fairly quick labour with DD1 (under 2 1/2 hours total), and I think that the rapid changes to your body make you feel very strange and shaken.

Secondtimelucky Sun 10-Jul-11 11:48:43

I think birth trauma is massively under recognised. And it can happen with any birth, no matter how 'good' it looks from the outside. To say that everything is alright is the worst thing people can do - but they think that they are helping.

Give it time, it really does heal a lot of wounds. However, for me, I only really moved on from DD1's birth when preparing for no. 2 with my doula. It really helped that someone said "telling you the baby was healthy really doesn't help does it?", acknowledging what happened and working through it with me. If you feel that you need that kind of real life support, it might be worth finding out whether either a hospital debrief or some other professional would help. Even if you are not planning more children, I imagine plenty of birth professionals (doulas, independent midwives and the like) would be happy to run a session with you, or a more general counsellor?

BlameItOnTheBogey Sun 10-Jul-11 11:55:38

I had a similar experience with DC2. She was born in an hour and 15 minutes from first contraction. I felt so traumatised by the whole thing that I didn't want to hold her for a long time after she was born and I had flashbacks every time I closed my eyes for weeks. My abiding memory is of DH telling everyone that 'it was so much easier this time' and not understanding why this upset me (DC was a three day back to back labour - I'd take that again any day over DC2). DC2 is 18 months now and I am over it. I requested my notes from the hospital (which prompted another melt down when I read them as they were totally made up - understandable given that it was too quick to write anything down but still...)

I think time is an enormous healer but I also think you should try and speak to someone about this. Don't let it ruin you first few weeks with your baby.

TheRedQueen Sun 10-Jul-11 12:07:07

I'm not surprised you don't feel lucky. There is short and there is too short and it sounds as though yours was so short that you mentally experienced it quasi as violence and are now in shock.

I'm sorry your DH doesn't really understand. Lots of people seem to assume that quicker is better, but I really don't think that is always the case.

I hope you find a way to come to terms with what happened soon and to really start to enjoy your new baby xx

pirateparty Sun 10-Jul-11 12:07:33

You can go over the labour with a midwife at our local hospital to discuss things. Is it worth finding out if your hospital offers this?

I also had a fast second labour (3 1/2 hours so not quite as fast) and have found it much harder than my first, and have found it/ am finding it much harder to recover from emotionally. (And physically too because I had a third degree tear).

I admit to not understanding this feeling until I had my recent experience. I don't think it matters how fast/ slow/ interventional or not your experience is, if you found it traumatic that is the only indication that it was. However, I have noticed there is a great deal of competitive story telling after labour, and if you can avoid this then do! It can be hard though as everyone wants to tell you their story! I wonder though if this is because telling the story helps us heal?

Make sure you take care of yourself in this hectic time, and perhaps consider whether having some form of counselling/closure would help you (only you know this). And congratulations!

neolara Sun 10-Jul-11 12:11:21


I've had quick births too and I think the sense of shock is quite common - at least that's what my NCT teacher said after the quick birth of DC1 (4 1/2 hours). DC3 was born 30 mins from first contraction. I had two contractions 5 mins apart, followed by what felt by a 15 min contraction with the odd few seconds "off". Was hideous. Scary and no midwife around so not great. My "best" labour by a million miles was DC2 which was 4 hour labour from first twinge. Slow build up, time to rest between contractions, midwife present (!). It felt under control.

Why don't you try and get a debrief from the hospital? I did this with DC1 and it helped clarify all sorts of things.

Secondtimelucky Sun 10-Jul-11 12:17:10

I think telling the story does help us heal. It's like any major life event - we often talk to process it. I think part of the problem comes when the response doesn't reflect our experience - we are telling the story of a traumatic, potentially even violent, event and others think we are telling the story of a dramatic near-miss (I nearly crashed the car, but I swerved at the last minute) or a 'wasn't I so lucky' story.

I found with DD1, everyone focused on the forceps. Lots of "ooh, poor you". My doula was the first person (other than DH) to really listen to the story I was telling, which was that the forceps bit was ok (other than to my poor pelvic floor!) and the registrar was the first person to be really nice to me whilst carrying out an intervention. The trauma was the long lead up, the back pain, the horrid patronising midwife and the sleep deprivation. In many ways, people's responses to my story invalidated my feelings about it. I needed someone to recognise my experience, and that really helped me to move on. So although it was a very different labour, I can relate to what you're saying OP about people not getting why you are upset.

PrincessScrumpy Sun 10-Jul-11 12:34:53

I had a fast birth with dd1 and the mw didn't believe me I was ready to push - she actually tried to send me home before dh stepped in and asked for a second opinion. The registrar realised I was 10cm and was ready.

People tell me I'm really lucky but I felt I wasn't at all mentally ready and when handed our dd dh and I were both in shock and feeling baffled.

I had a debrief which helped as it backed up how I felt so I didn't feel so pathetic - my notes had a huge gap from mw advising me to go home to being 10cm with only minutes between the notes being written. I found mws tend to make up excuses but when I saw a consultant to discuss birth of dc2 (who wasn't even conceived at the time) he agreed to a cs (not sure I definitely wanted this but I wanted to have the option before ttc) and he apologised for my experience. Sounds silly but it meant a lot - I just needed my feelings validated.

Talking to my dh helped the most as he remembers it and can go through it with me. You will feel better, but tbh I still cry at one born every minute as my birth was not like that at all!

mumblebum Sun 10-Jul-11 12:49:38

I'm not reading all this thread because I'm worried enough (overdue with no.3 and no.2 was just over 2hr labour).

I totally understand the shock though. Fast labour is really frightening! People dismissing your feelings really doesn't help and you need to spell that out to your DH. He probably thinks he's helping. Be kind to yourself.

stella1w Sun 10-Jul-11 23:43:21

just had my second baby and found it much harder than the first. Contractions were more painful, transition was more overwhelming. It was longer than the first and I felt really down afterwards. I had a HORRIBLE midwife who was so emotionally nasty to me I am considering complaining. I am very depressed about it as from the outside all was OK - me fine, baby fine. But I want to block out the memory of the birth which is a shame as would like to remember the birth of my son. Also my birth partner didn't help by telling me the midwife was really concerned about me. So I found the whole thing really isolating. It helps to share feelings with people who understand and I may seek professional help in dealing with the issue as I think it is affecting my bonding with the baby.

SweetGrapes Sun 10-Jul-11 23:59:47

congratulations on your new baby!

I had ds2 8 months back and it was very quick. I was in shock, baby was traumatised and in scbu for 24 hours and in the ward for 5 days and everyone told me how lucky I was. hmm No, I wasn't!
ds1 was much better - not a long labour but enough time for us both to get prepared.
A small labour can be just as bad as a long one and the ideal one would be where you have enough time for every stage without dragging anything on.
"short == good" is just not true.

I hope you feel better about it soon and get back to enjoying your new baby.... smile

Tangle Mon 11-Jul-11 00:13:32

I'm sorry you had such a shocking experience sad. For me, the birth of DD2 turned into my worst nightmare in some respects - but what I've found hardest in the aftermath is that people have their own ideas of what must have been hardest and don't seem to understand that my experience didn't/doesn't fit in with their ideas.

Have you come across the Birth Trauma Association? Some of the points they make are that:
- very short labours can be traumatic
- birth trauma is in the eye of the beholder

If people in your immediate circle aren't able to provide you with support then it might be worth giving them a call and just talking things through with people who get the fact that, however it may have appeared to your DH, your MW, outsiders... you found it traumatic and need a sympathetic ear.

I really hope you can find some peace with what happened by whatever means, and that you can start to enjoy your new DC smile

SweetGrapes Mon 11-Jul-11 00:16:32

also, show the thread to your dp. He needs to stop telling you that you're being silly and start supporting you instead. You feel what you do and saying that you're being silly doesn't stop you from feeling it or do anything to make you feel any better!!

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, watch threads, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now »

Already registered? Log in with: