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Getting a bit upset by other people's comments

(117 Posts)
LisaSimpsonsbff Sun 20-May-18 22:03:42

I'm nearly 32 weeks pregnant, so maybe over-reacting due to hormones! Recently I've had a few comments about childbirth from friends - all along the lines of 'I'm absolutely never going to have a vaginal birth - I'll have a C-section' (none of them have ever given birth). This has all come with comments about 'ruined vaginas', etc. I know I should ignore these not particularly well-informed comments (though one of them was a doctor!), but I also keep seeing comments on Mumsnet (admittedly, I'm sure these are sticking out for me because it's something on my mind) basically suggesting that all women should have elective caesareans, too. The thing is, it's not even like anyone would even agree to give me an elective C-section - no medical indications, and while I'm scared of giving birth that's just in a normal way, not tokophobia - so it's not a decision I have to make, but these comments just keep going round and round my head. I've also had a few comments saying I should immediately ask for an epidural (some of these ones are from women who have given birth), and although I'm totally open to that if I need it, that's also not my ideal plan. I don't really know what I'm looking for here - maybe reassurance that I'm not a totally naive idiot? I'm really not a 'candles and I'll just breathe the baby out' idealistic first-time mother - as I said, I'm terrified and fully expecting it to be painful and horrible, but people keep (completely unsolicitedly! I haven't brought up the topic of childbirth in conversation once!) making me feel like I'm doing something stupid.

ThrownMuse Sun 20-May-18 22:07:13

Smile, tilt your head and ignore. I have never understood why some women feel the need to freak soon to be mums out like this. It's not a pain competition!

Every birth is different, and do not worry about yours. You most definitely are not stupid!

YerAuntFanny Sun 20-May-18 22:10:30

For some unbeknown reason women love sharing gory birth stories with pregnant ladies, no idea why!

Try not to get hung up on it, I had an emergency section with my first and an advised elective with my second due to her position and my anxiety because of my first BUT I proceeded with an open mind in both pregnancies as no 2 are the same.

My eldest is 12 and my youngest is 5 so we know plenty of other Mums and I'd say the vast majority have had trouble free vaginal births.

Phoenix76 Sun 20-May-18 22:42:03

When people are around pregnant women it sure brings out some strange behaviour! Totally ignore this, as hard as it feels to, no pregnancy or birth are the same. Yes your body will have some changes after birth but no one can say what as everyone is different. I will say this though, if it’s as horrific as people like to say why do those of us who are lucky enough to have the choice choose to go through it at least once more or, in some cases, several more times. I’ve had two vaginal births and any changes have been more than worth it. Enjoy the rest of your pregnancy and ignore the comments.

LisaSimpsonsbff Mon 21-May-18 09:18:22

Thanks for the comments - I know you're all right that I should just ignore these comments, but I'm finding them hard to get out of my head. The real irony is that all of these women have said how they think it's awful that women are put under pressure to have natural births with no pain relief - but no one at all has suggested that to me, the only pressure has been entirely along these 'why wouldn't you have a C-section' and 'it's stupid to be in pain if you don't have to be' lines!

Caspiana Mon 21-May-18 09:23:47

Im 39 weeks with my 1st and I feel the same - you’re not overreacting, it’s really irritating and unhelpful.

Morgan12 Mon 21-May-18 09:32:33

C-section is major surgery and certainly not the easy option. I've been researching them alot as I may be getting one but I'd rather have a vaginal birth even though I've had a previous bad one.

Best advice I can give is ignore all the comments and when it comes to labour just breathe, move around and remember that's what your body is made for and you 100% can do it. Woman are awesome.

3stonedown Mon 21-May-18 09:34:25

I know it's hard but you just have to try and ignore them. I was exactly the same. Now I've been through it I know that, for me, labour isn't that bad and I would never have a C-section if I didn't have to for medical reasons. The idea of a c-section terrifies me to be honest now. When I say that to people they look at me like I have 4 heads

LisaSimpsonsbff Mon 21-May-18 09:39:27

I have tried to explain that from what I know a C-section really isn't some magic 'get out of jail free' card, but I think there's this really strong (and horrible and dismissive for women who have C-sections) cultural idea that having a C-section is 'easy' ('too posh to push'). I also think a lot of the 'ruined vagina' stuff is deeply misogynistic and not really about concern for women's welfare at all.

I'm sort of glad (though of course not glad at the same time!) that other people have also got a lot of these comments - as I said, everyone keeps acting like everyone's always trying to persuade you to have a home birth with aromatherapy and that isn't how I feel at all.

StealthPolarBear Mon 21-May-18 09:42:12

Op you hear the horror stories. You don't tend to hear from people like me and many of my friends who had straightforward births

littlecabbage Mon 21-May-18 09:43:56

I think the reason some women talk about their traumatic births to other women is because they are horrified about what happened to them and on some subconscious level, feel that people should know how they suffered. And I do think that some births are very traumatic for the woman, causing a type of PTSD, and think they should be able to discuss it to help them move forward.

However, a birth afterthoughts service or counselling is appropriate for this, and it is definitely not helpful to offload onto pregnant first time mothers. It is proven that an underlying fear of birth does increase pain perception in labouring women, so listening to other people's horror stories is not helpful at all.

OP, rest assured that a lot of vaginal births DO go smoothly, it's just that they are less talked about. I would recommend politely saying "I only want to hear positive stories, thank you" if someone begins a negative tale, and I also recommend hypnobirthing. It isn't too late if you are prepared to spare some time listening to the hypnosis tracks, and I can recommend a book on this if you are interested? You wouldn't need to attend a course.

I have had 3 births and am 33 weeks pregnant with my 4th. My first birth wasn't as I'd hoped, due to being induced, but the 2nd and 3rd were v positive experiences, especially the 3rd after discovering hypnobirthing. It helped me to feel much more relaxed about childbirth, and actually look forward to it, and also to stay relaxed during the process.

Personally, I would agree with you to not rush into an epidural. Fine to ask for one if you are really not coping with the contractions, but you may well cope with them fine. And remember that an epidural slows things down and makes instrumental delivery more likely.

Hope that helps, all the best for your positive birth experience smile

Wildlingofthewest Mon 21-May-18 09:50:31

Please try to ignore these types of comments.
If you have a vaginal birth then yes, you can expect some mild trauma to the area but this is usually superficial and you will heal over a few weeks. Some ladies have no issues and don’t have any vaginal tearing. It takes a while for your body to settle and heal after you have a baby. That is natural. Please stop worrying!
A C-section is a major surgery and while you wouldn’t need to worry about any trauma to the vagina you would be dealing with all the healing and complexity that comes with major abdominal surgery. It’s by no means an easy or pain free way of having a baby.
Pain relief is totally a personal choice and will be dictated by what happens on the day. Go into it with an open mind, see how you feel and if you want pain relief then make the call at the time.
Stop listening to the opinions of others - pregnancy and child birth are a really personal and individual to each woman and you really don’t need to justify your choices to anyone else.

kiwielite Mon 21-May-18 09:51:59

I had my first baby last year and got quite upset about people sharing their horror stories before the birth. People were quite happy to offer their support with a newborn ‘if you need anything just say’ but couldn’t rally for me for the birth.

I think women sharing their horror stories is some sort of therapy for them.

On the positive note, based on these stories, I had psyched myself for it being much worse. It was actually fine and was an incredible experience that I hope to repeat one day.

My advise to any women would be to just surrender yourself to the process and have an open mind about how it may unfold.

Good luck, you’ve totally got this!

LisaSimpsonsbff Mon 21-May-18 09:53:13

Again, just to be clear, most of these aren't actually coming from women who have given birth (I'm one of the first of my friends to have a baby) - and those tend to be the 'go for the epidural' ones rather than 'can't you just have a C-section', which I don't find as unhelpful. I have had a couple of women tell me their horror stories, and while I don't much like that either (and I wonder if it would actually have helped them as much as they think if they'd known/been told in advance and so spent pregnancy in terrified anticipation) I have more sympathy. These are more completely uninformed - though as I said, one of them is a doctor! - 'helpful' comments about barbaric and horrific childbirth is.

Racecardriver Mon 21-May-18 09:54:59

I have given birth twice. The contractions while you ate dilating are far far worse than the pain of active labour. I say this as someone who labours quickly, is prime to tearing and have had midwives get teary over how bruised up my vagina looks afterwards. I would chose it over major surgery any day.

Wildlingofthewest Mon 21-May-18 09:58:07

Also - child birth was no where near as bad as I was expecting. Honestly. It was different to what I was expecting but it was manageable and I would happily do it again. I had my baby in December, no pain relief (just gas & air) looking back on it I’m glad that I didn’t have the epidural but only because I know now how it felt and I’m grateful to have experienced it.

LisaSimpsonsbff Mon 21-May-18 09:58:33

Oh, and I actually am having hypnobirthing classes starting in a couple of weeks (my local hospital offers them as an alternative to the standard antenatal classes) but I've learned to keep very quiet about that after the one friend I told openly laughed at me about how stupid it was to think that might help, and went on a rant about how this was a misogynistic NHS conspiracy to stop women getting proper pain relief...!

Wait4nothing Mon 21-May-18 10:00:07

Oh that’s rubbish - I think I’d just give the comment ‘I don’t fancy looking after a newborn after major surgery by choice thanks’ after every elective c section comment. It works for some people but for me the recovery was so important (I know recovery from a vaginal birth can also be horrendous) that this had to be a major consideration.
Fwiw I had a drip induction and didn’t feel I needed an epidural (though did have pain killers) - I was open to it - just took what I needed at the time - ramping it up as pain did. I think being open about the birth is the best thing. And don’t consider the opinions of women (and men!) who haven’t given birth 😂

Wildlingofthewest Mon 21-May-18 10:01:11

Oh god...
OP, with respect,your friends sound like total idiots.
If they haven’t been through child birth then they really need to shut up. They have no idea what the are taking about and are just making you feel bad!
You do you. This is your experience.

JohnnyMcGrathSaysFuckOff Mon 21-May-18 10:03:31

OP people who say things like this are projecting THEIR fears.

Honestly I have had 3 babies vaginally inc twins and it was fine. Really fine. All 3 without pain relief and one sithout medical attendance! All fine.

Your vagina will feel different after but with exercises you will likely be okay. And an elcs is no guarantee of a non-ruined vadge hmm

LisaSimpsonsbff Mon 21-May-18 10:07:18

Thank you! I feel like I'm painting them as monsters, when they really aren't - they're all being very sweet and trying to be interested, but conversations about childbirth isn't how I want them to express that! I think it's hard for some of them because although they're trying to be supportive they can't really work out why I want a baby at all, so it's like I've done something a bit mad... (This was particularly hard when we were having fertility problems - I had three miscarriages before this pregnancy) The thing that's quite hard to counter is that this is being presented as a feminist point - the whole 'no one expects you to go without pain relief if you have a broken leg, so it's a patriarchal conspiracy that makes women suffer in labour' argument. I think what they're not grasping is that this is an interesting theoretical debate for them right now, but it's not hypothetical for me!

wowbutter Mon 21-May-18 10:07:31

That's total rubbish.
I have had to children.
My first child was supposed to be a hypnobirthing experience, at home. It ended up being a failed induction after he refused to come out at 42+2 and after 24 hours of active labour I had an epidural, and then an emergency section. The labour was totally fine, yes it hurt, but it was productive. I got to fully dilated, but he turned and wouldn't come out, so emergency section.

My second child was an elective section, good god the pain! The recovery was horrendous, I felt awful, I lost loads of blood, it took six weeks to even walk properly, my parent had to move in to help, it was just awful.

Natural birth all the way for me, had my first ds not turned the way he did, I would have got him out myself.

You will be fine, women have done this for millennia. There's nothing wrong with an elective section, but it's not the easy way out, and it does hurt.

I got through 24 hours of labour wth no pain relief, just hypnobirthing, and I had the epidural as they put me on the drip and made me lie on my back to be monitored, and the drip made the contractions continuous.

One of my friends had her ds a week after me, naturally, and the day after leaving the hospital she was doing the school run, no stitches, or grazes, baby came out and off she went.

QueenofSerene Mon 21-May-18 10:07:36

It’s a bizarre phenomenon the way some people approach birthing stories and what they tend to share with expectant mothers, I hate people who seem hellbent on scaring the shit out of first time mums especially.

Both my pregnancies were cruisey and uneventful and labour’s were quick and vaginal. With my second I got to hospital with about 20mins to spare and ended up having an impromptu drug free water birth, which I totally didn’t expect. I remember one midwife saying to me “maybe tone down your experience when you have coffee with friends” (as in don’t gloat about how easy you had it) but another midwife jumped in and was like “uh absolutely not, we need more people sharing their positive birth stories” because it seems people tend to only share the horrific ones.

If it were that horrible, people wouldn’t keep going back for more. It’s painful but like most pain you quickly forget about it, you know it hurt but you don’t necessarily remember the exact pain. I hope I never have to have a c-section because it is major surgery and the healing period is so much longer, and from what I understand, difficult to manage if you have other kids to look after.

Caspiana Mon 21-May-18 10:11:10

I agree with the feminist argument that women should be entitled to proper pain relief and resources should be such that this is not at the mercy of if an anaesthetist is free - but the important part is this is for women who want pain relief. Choice is key.

I am also hypnobirthing and have kept it to myself because people just laugh. Way I see it, it works for some people, may not work for others. If I don’t think it’s working for me in labour I’ll stop it, and no harm done!

I’m hoping to manage without an epidural if I can because I’m scared of forceps but if I feel I need one, I will ask for one.

LisaSimpsonsbff Mon 21-May-18 10:14:24

I agree with the feminist argument that women should be entitled to proper pain relief and resources should be such that this is not at the mercy of if an anaesthetist is free - but the important part is this is for women who want pain relief. Choice is key.

I completely agree - and to be clear, it's not that I don't think there are feminist issues surrounding medical care in labour, aftercare, and the dismissal of women's suffering. I just feel like right now isn't the time for everyone around me to debate this!

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