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Can't do it again.(21 Posts)
I am mum to a wonderful little boy who I love so completely.
My husband really wants a second child in the near future. I'm not against raising a second tiny human but I just do nit think I can go through pregnancy or birth again and my desire for a second child is certainly nowhere near strong enough to over-ride my dislike and fear of having another.
My pregnancy was uncomplicated, some morning sickness and generally feeling crappy and uncomfortable, as you do but nothing horrendous, no HE, bleeds, SPD etc. But I hated every second of my pregnancy. I was sweaty, uncomfortable and just didn't feel like my body as my body.
The birth was horrid, though not by others standards. My contractions seemed to ramp up quickly, my waters went with a comedy pop and gush I progressed OK but then after pushing for 2 hours they slowed, I was transferred to the labour ward and out on a drip, contractions started again with a bang but by that point I'd been pushing for 3 hours and had been up for almost 24. I was exhausted, had no pain relief (it was refused as it was slowing my labour) and I ended up with an episiotomy and forceps delivery. DS was unaffected by it all, and at no point was he in distress. The forceps were by far the most distressing and painful thing I have ever experienced.
Following the birth I had retained placenta and needed surgery, it was found that part of my placenta was adhered to the uterine wall but came away well and had no long term issues. I lost a litre of blood.
I appreciate that my labour was not 'difficult' or 'traumatic' compared to many but for me it was horrific. Everyone, both pre and post birth said that I'd forget about the pain and it would be worth it. As far as I'm concerned that is a bigger lie than Santa Clause. I remember every detail, have flashbacks and nightmares about it and as much as I hate to say it, it was not worth it. Had I known how bad it would be I would never have got pregnant (I've never been mega maternal).
Husband was present at the birth and is aware of how tough it was for me, he found i difficult too and was surprised at how hard it was. But focuses on the Dr saying 'second births are easier'.
I've had some therapy through my GP, and the therapist didn't feel it was necessary - I'd had a traumatic experience, I wanted to avoid having another and it was an avoidable and unnecessary act (unlike something such as getting in the car) and my reaction was both understandable and justified and she'd be wrong to mitigate my feelings as they were not intrusive or harmful to me. TBH it was nice to have someone say I wasn't over-reacting and play down my experience!
But that leads my husband and I to an impasse. I am adamant I will not have a second child, he is utterly bereft. Should I tell him to find someone else? Seems a bit dramatic but I can't take away his desire for children anymore that he can force me to carry a second one. Neither of us will change our mind.
Oh what a difficult situation. Didn't want to read and run but I have no idea what advice to give you. Ultimately the decision has to be yours, not your husband's. Do you think he could come to terms with it in time?
How old is your son?
The decision is yours and your birth was traumatic for you, sounds awful.
Would an elective c section be an option if you did want another but another birth puts you off? You would be able to get that after what you went through and as you've been having counselling
That sounds like a very difficult situation. I completely understand where you're both coming from. It's your body though and you shouldn't put it through anything that you don't want to do.
I see your options as, not having any more children and remaining together as your existing family, perhaps with some couples counselling to work through it, separating or looking into other ways of having a child e.g. Adoption, fostering or surrogacy.
It sounds like although you found pregnancy unpleasant, the birth was the worst part. If you are happy to raise another child, would you consider having another via c-section? Would your husband fund you a private obstetrician and private c-section if you were prepared to compromise so far? You could definitely push and get a section with NHS care but it can be very distressing achieving it and if private is an option, it would be far less stressful for you.
This might not be what you want at all but I just though perhaps it was an option not considered.
How old is your son? I ask as I could have written your post almost word for word, except my DS is 2 weeks old. So no words of wisdom I'm afraid, just sympathy.
People say I'll forget and get over it but I honestly don't feel I will. Some are already saying to me things like I bet it was totally worth it, and, you just forget about the pain don't you. And I want to scream at them! DH also wants another and I've told him there's not a chance, he's convinced I'll change my mind once I've forgotten (you'd have thought that after 10 years he realise I have a memory like an elephant!).
Right now I feel that the whole 'you'll forget about the pain once baby is here' and 'it's empowering' are massive conspiracies that someone forgot to induct me in to! Right now I'm telling everyone who'll listen how horrific it all was!
I would question the therapist. You have experienced a trauma and it sounds unresolved, whether it's unavoidable or not. I would suggest getting in touch with a specialist - either a trauma therapist, a therapist who specialises in birth trauma or someone who is able to offer EMDR (a treatment that has good results with unresolved traumas). Resolving trauma isn't about playing it down at all - I'd say the opposite - it's about really accepting it so that you can move past it.
As a psychotherapist myself, I would say trauma is a specialist area that requires extra training. Many therapists qualify without any trauma training and others like myself only receive a basic level.
Otherwise, I'd probably recommend some couples counselling or some counselling for your DH to be able to process the loss of hope of a second child if he decides he does want to stay with you if you are unable to have a second child.
Thanks, I thought I might get told to woman up!
I would consider a section, though I'm aware that that isn't an 'easy' option and it is major surgery. My main concern is that I wouldn't get pregnant not knowing if I could have a section, and having spoken with my GP no one will guarantee that I'd get one. I hadn't considered going private for one (I'm a big fan of the NHS) but that is certainly something to explore. We aren't mega rich but if DH wants another child and that's the only way then I think we'd try to find the money.
The age of your son makes a difference here. For the record, your birth was traumatic, drips, forceps, long pushing stages are all traumatic. Don't feel your fear and trauma surrounding it aren't as justified as for a more dramatised birth on TV. My first was stirrups, episiotomy, emergency ventouse etc and it wasn't until I actually read up on normal birth (Ina may Gaskin is a good start) that I realised that it was a traumatic birth. I had a 6 year gap between my two down to my first relationship breaking up, but at this point I'd read up loads on birth and knew I couldn't face he horror of a hospital birth again. I did hypnotise thing classes, had a short water birth at home, and it went just as expected. But even then, I said hand on heart I won't ever go through it again. I went into a shock after she was born and the idea of doing that last 20 minutes of birth terrified me. Now, just over 2 years later and I'm ttc number 3. You do usually forget, but just not always instantly. It can take weeks/months/years, and if you never do that is totally fine too. Please do not put pressure on yourself. There are other options available.
Forgot to say - the flashbacks and nightmares are a classic sign of unresolved trauma. You don't need to live with that. EMDR can really help reduce/end those symptoms.
I think nice guidelines give you the right to have a c section if you want one, a lot of gps and others don't seem to be fully aware of this.
I had an awful HG pregnancy but a wonderful ELCS with dd.
Don't rule out an ELCS give yourself some time.
You are right in that there is no compromise in this situation, is there?
I too think that you should seek further therapy - not to 'change your mind', but to be able to make a decision about whether or not to contemplate a further pregnancy from a position of strength rather than fear.
Wrt future delivery: you should be fully informed about the risk and benefits of either VB or CS and then allowed a choice as per new guidelines.
Please seek further help - reading your posts it does not sound to me as if you have fully recovered from your last pregnancy and delivery.
If you can picture yourself in, say, 5 or 10 years with a family that includes more than one child, then IMO working on how to make this possible is really important because you will otherwise have regrets in later life.
If you are happy with one child and can imagine yourself with one teenager/one young adult/one son who comes to visit with his family (maybe - who knows?), then fine.
But OP is saying that she hated being pregnant. So for her it isn't just that the birth was horrific (and op, it does sound horrific). So even with an elective c-section, she would still have to go through the nine plus months of feeling like her body wasn't her own.
OP, if you could have another child without having to go through pregnancy/childbirth, would you want one?
Because if the answer to that is yes, then it may be worth your while exploring your discomfort and trying to work through your experiences, until you are in a place where you could consider a second pregnancy. If the answer is no, then I would say that you and your husband will have to come to terms with you not wanting another.
OP my experience was similar to yours. Pregnancy wasn't great, but no major problems. The birth was horrendous. As you say, you don't forget the pain, and I didn't feel it was worth it at the time. I never wanted to go through that again. I had PND which I think was made worse or caused by the traumatic birth.
However, I am an only child and so is my husband. I didn't want my baby to be an only child with no cousins, aunts or uncles, so we went ahead and had a second child. Again, I didn't enjoy the pregnancy although there were no major problems.
I opted to have a c-section. I asked for one, and the consultant read my notes and agreed that it was probably a good idea. The c-section was wonderful. It was not traumatic at all, but a calm pleasant experience. The aftercare was much better, and my recovery was far easier than first time around.
I understand if you don't want any more, and that is your decision. I just wanted to point out that if you did want another baby, a c-section is a totally different experience. I would never willingly endure a natural birth again either.
Son is nearly 2. I'm getting older so if we are going to have a second we would need to start ttc soon.
I think if I'd had an uncomplicated birth then I would consider a second, as much as I hated pregnancy I think the means justify the ends in that respect.
TBH I'd be happy with one, it's my husband that wants 2. He also pushed more for our son as I was non-plussed on the child front totally in love now though!.
How old is your child? I had a horrendous pregnancy with medical problems, and an awful birth ' experience' of an emergency section under GA, the recovery was horrendous and I used to have nightmares about the hospital etc. I went to birth after thoughts at the hospital a few months later which helped and then over time I have forgotten how horrendous everything was and am pregnant again. My view is if I can do it once with everything that went wrong in pregnancy and birth then I can do it again, even if it's the same, and having a child forever at the end of it was worth it for me
That sounds like a very difficult time. You can't compare someone else's experience to yours. You do deserve to feel that way.
Did the therapist help you to decide that you don't want another baby because you don't or because you can't because of what happened? They are two different things.
If you want another, would an ELCS help in any way? Or if you just don't, then your partner needs to accept that. He can't force you, you know that. He needs to support that decision, like he did with having your first.
I wonder if men would be so willing to put themselves through it again had it been them!
I found my son's birth traumatic (I didn't describe it as traumatic at the time though as I didn't feel I deserved to label it like that, it was just really disturbing) My pregnancy was absolutely fine, and the birth would have been fine had it not been for my son's HR dropping and them not informing me about it and a lot of other stuff they didn't care to mention. I'm having therapy for ptsd and had a birth debrief. (Have you had a debrief? I assume you have as you said your son wasn't distressed? Do you know that for a fact? I didn't think there was anything I didn't know as I thought they told me all the important stuff I needed to know, but... obviously not!)
Now I say yes it was traumatic but not necessarily because of what happened, but because they just did things to me without asking, explaining and didn't bother to tell me why they done any of it. I was left feeling violated, used and butchered for nothing as they didn't say otherwise.
I was really adamant I'm not having another because I don't ever want to be in that position ever again! I was always on the fence about having another, I just couldn't go ahead with it though, I told everyone 'No.' But your want for another baby doesn't go after a traumatic birth, you just have to live with knowing it wont happen. Having worked through my trauma, I started to think 'maybe I could have that other baby I wanted.' as I realised their 'attack' on me wasn't personal and had they told me I wouldn't have seen it as an attack.
Do you have any help with the flashbacks and nightmares? Tbh it doesn't sound like your therapist has your best interests, I don't know, or doesn't deal with trauma. My therapist told me she was going to get me through this, get me leaving with zeros on the assessment, and make it possible for me to decide whether to have another baby or not because that's what I decide and not because of my experience with my first. But saying it's something you can avoid if you want and is unnecessary isn't really helpful I think. Like a PP said, if you are having flashbacks, that could mean the trauma is unresolved.
I know, it is scary to talk about something like this that is so sensitive on MN. I thought I would get a lot of comments saying 'Your baby is healthy, do shut up!" but that doesn't help at all. I did get a few, but mostly they were supportive, thank f*ck as it is something I really find hard to share, given all I have gone through and being dismissed. If women that have kids of their own don't understand, then how the hell is anyone else going to understand. Are you on the Birth Trauma Association on Facebook? You don't need to explain yourself there.
Sorry I have written a novel
I get worked up about these things in a good way because it is/was a big part of my live
Oh and about forgetting the pain... although it wasn't that bad for me, the pain, I still remember my son's birth quite vividly tbh! I wont forget that, what they did to me, like everyone said I would!
It took me nearly 4 years to consider having a second child. Pregnancy was hard, labour was rubbish and my son was poorly and spent time in nicu.
We had discussed that we wanted two before we had our first but I think we both spent a long time reconsidering. Age wasn't on my side either!!
I would give yourself some more time.. I appreciate age isn't your best friend, but worst case that would make the decision for you.
Good luck xxx
"Second births are easier" not my experience. Quicker yes, easier no. Also my pregnancy was far worse second time round. So I wouldn't base a decision to have a second on a generalisation. Make sure you really want to put yourself through it again. Or as mentioned above consider adopting? Lots of young children who need loving parents out there.
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