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I have just watched that extraordinary birth programme and I feel like an utter failure

(37 Posts)
CrushWithEyeliner Fri 11-Jul-08 11:54:45

How can 3 women from completely different circumstances give birth so beautifully and easily with such dignity with no pain relief and I be such a complete mess? What was wrong with me?
Why did I scream like a banshee and swear? Why did I chicken out on arrival to hospital and ask for an epidural? Why did I hemorridge why did I tear? Was it something I did because of panic and the fear. I am sure it was my fault for not being brave and confident enough after watching these amazing women.

I am sobbing here. Why? I am still so traumatised from my birth 2 years on. What do I do? Can anyone help me as I don't think I have thought about this until now and I am really upset.

LittleMyDancing Fri 11-Jul-08 11:57:13

There is NOTHING wrong with you. NOTHING.

Some people have easier births than others, it's one of life's great unfairnesses.

Just remember that 100 years ago, many of us would have died in childbirth.

If you are still feeling traumatised from your birth, there are support groups who can help, it sounds like you had a horrid time.


LittleMyDancing Fri 11-Jul-08 11:59:13

As for epidurals being chickening out, please don't think of it like that. Why is it chickening out to take pain relief when you're in pain? Would you call taking paracetamol when you have a headache chickening out?

You took the pain relief offered to you, very sensibly. the level of pain you were feeling may have been much more than those women on the TV, noone feels pain the same way.

and remember the telly lies. birth is a messy, painful process but clever editing can leave all those bits out!

berolina Fri 11-Jul-08 12:00:24

oh lovely

I know something, not much, something of this. I had a fabulous calm labour with ds2 then in the last half-hour it overwhelmed me. I screamed, I swore, I tore. Birth is a huge thing and nobody hould feel hey 'failed' at it, but be proud for having come through.

Contact the Birth Trauma Association. Someone'll be along with he link - I am one-handed atm and must dash.

Thinking of you.

berolina Fri 11-Jul-08 12:01:22

I found screaming extremely instinctive and liberating, btw. It is as valid a coping method as any.

RubberDuck Fri 11-Jul-08 12:01:41

Aw Crush. Remember, telly isn't the full truth. They selectively show you stuff. You don't know if they filmed 10 women or more and only chose the 3 to fit the theme they wanted to show.

Sometimes things don't go to plan - it's not your fault, there's so many different factors going on in such a complicated process. I hate the whole "you only feel pain if you're tense/fearful" crap, it sells women short and is complete utter bollocks.

I could have written your post 2 years after ds1's birth. By the time ds2 was born, we'd moved areas and I had a beautiful birth with him. Yes I had more pregnancy complications, yes I ended up being monitored and having an induction and epidural. But it was so much better, it really erased a lot of demons. I think it helped that I didn't have such a rosy ideal in my head what birth was - just prepared in my head for every eventuality and as a result felt more in control.

My dses are 7 and 4 now. And you know what - no-one could give a toss how they were born or even if I breast or bottle fed. They are two lovely little boys.

There are no medals given out for how you gave birth. Labour is not a competition. You have a beautiful 2 year old - isn't that the best prize you could get?

PortBlacksandResident Fri 11-Jul-08 12:02:53

Yes - clever editing. They are trying to make a telly programme remember. It wouldn't be much of a story for them if the women had 'normal' births (or normal worried attitudes to birth iyswim).

It's no different to wanting to look like every airbrushed model you see on telly or going to the back of beyond and eating slug soup. These people are not the average norm and it's not real life.

Please don't worry.

charitygirl Fri 11-Jul-08 12:03:12

oh lord you poor thing - haven't given birth yet so about as much use as chocolate teapot but didn't want to read and run!

I watched the programme too - thought it was pretty inspiring(although apart from one I saw A LOT of shouring and swearing...and whimpering and crying). But pleeeeease don't fall for the propaganda that how you birthsets the tone of what kind of mother you are. All through history there will have been mothers who didn't have beatific births - they didn't have an epidural but they would have if they could have.

You should talk to someone if you haven't - either a midwife at the hospital to go through what happened and why (LOTS of people do this), or maybe a counsellor with PTSD experience - you may not be suffering from PTSD exactly, but might still be useful.

Grrr - hate the fact that women who have given birth shoud in any way feel inadequate for things they couldn't help!

Romy7 Fri 11-Jul-08 12:09:26

i'm rubbish at childbirth. i had a cs, then a back to back vbac where i was in such a state they kept me in for a week, then another vbac which left dd2 brain damaged due to hypoxia.

there's an awful lot more to life than childbirth, but culturally women are made to feel that it is the only possible way that our 'success' or otherwise can be measured in - which is frankly bollocks. that's not to say i don't have unhealthy flashbacks etc, just that i do understand that it is not a reflection on my self-worth.

agree that contacting the birth trauma assoc may be useful if the programme has raised issues that you thought had been dealt with - but never ever feel like a failure because of some ridiculously edited show. a day spent on an average maternity ward would prove to you just how normal you are in the grand scheme of things x

rebelmum1 Fri 11-Jul-08 12:11:16

I really recommend reading some Sheila Kitzinger's research I found it very enlightening and empowering here I was induced but didn't have pain relief, it was bloody awful. You have to make a decision based on what you know at the time and what you are comfortable with. You could have been stressed to hell unattended at home and run into problems too..

DustyTV Fri 11-Jul-08 12:12:57

Oh Crush, there is absolutley nothing wrong with you. You have given life to a beautiful lo. Nothing as wonderful as a baby comes easily. Please talk to someone, anyone about how you are feeling.

I watched that program and I personally felt that the women in it, especially the one is Wales (I think that was where she was) were very very smug.

It was like they were saying, look at me I am better than all the people who had a MW/Hosp birth/ pain relief etc.

As the others have said, clever editing will only show you the bits the program makers want you to see.

I think the women on it were very selfish, I mean they could have at least had a dula there with them. Selfish to ask your partner to do something like that. Weather or not their partner consented. Selfish to their baby that if anything could go wrong the baby could be permanently hurt or worse. Selfish if something had happened to them, leaving a baby and other DC without a mum.

youngbutnotdumb Fri 11-Jul-08 12:30:33

Theres nothing wrong with u at all!! I didnt see this program but I can imagine is the usual smug perfect motherly type people on it!

I felt like this when I had my DS 2years ago because a friends partn er was constantly mocking me because I had to get an ECS saying things like 'you couldnt handle the pain', or when she had a baby I said god contractions hurt dont they and he comes out with 'how the hell would you know you couldnt even hack it, she didnt have any pain relief and only lasted 1.5 hours'
Then realised he was talking shit! ARGH is frustrating though what the hell would he know!!!

RubberDuck Fri 11-Jul-08 12:35:08

youngbutnotdumb: tell him to go have his wisdom teeth extracted without any pain relief grin Then if he refuses feel free to mock loudly and in front of everyone.

What a tosser!

lulumama Fri 11-Jul-08 12:35:48

crush, is this the freeebirthing programme?

if so, please don;t take that as the norm, have been at a few births now and i have to say, the default mode of screaming and swearing and wanting an epidural is certainly not abnormal!

why did you heamorrhage ? why did you tear? i am sure it was nothing to do with you. if you felt fear and panic, then you should have been supported and nurtured.

it might help to go through your birth notes with a midwife from teh hospital, get some answers and get some closure.

i am so very sorry you feel so upset 2 years on, but i have to say that getting the feelings out is a really good way to start healing and moving on.

it took me 5 years to get over DSs birth, and it was just a bog standard em c.s for failure to progress. but it hit me hard i recongnise and understand those feelings of failure.

you might want to think about contacting the birth trauma assoication or sheila kitzinger's birth crisis helpline to discuss how you are feeling with a peer supporter

please don;t blame yourself. i can assure you it is not your fault.

Pruners Fri 11-Jul-08 12:49:00

Message withdrawn

Pruners Fri 11-Jul-08 12:49:49

Message withdrawn

Tortington Fri 11-Jul-08 12:50:23

i gave birth to quads whilst remaining in my office at work, the nanny took them away and i carried on with a conference call

i really dont understand the big deal

lulumama Fri 11-Jul-08 13:00:35

custy, i am sure you trying to be funny, but it does not really help the OP , who is clearly very distressed and needs some serious support.

LilRedWhiskGersingles Fri 11-Jul-08 13:04:56

Crush - I used to feel a failure about DD's birth (she's two) because she was elective CS, but am more okay about it now. Something my wonderful midwife, sister and DH repeated to me was that it really didn't matter how DD arrived, just that she did and we were both okay.

It sounds trite and at first it annoyed me, but then I came to think, well, yes, it's true.

I really do think that you need to look into getting some councilling. I am currently having it for miscarriages I had before DD was born - I had no idea how much it was still affecting me.

Take care of yourself.

LilRedWhiskGersingles Fri 11-Jul-08 13:06:58

YBND - I had similar experiences and agree how hurtful it can be. I must admit that it does feel strange that I have given birth but never had a contraction, but hey - DD is here and perfect!

MsDemeanor Fri 11-Jul-08 13:10:53

Look, would you be a 'failure' if you broke your leg? Or a 'failure' if you developed an underactive thyroid? Or a 'failure' if you had cancer? Would call a friend with a broken leg, dodgy thyroid or cancer a 'failure'? Of course not. Our bodies are all different, and do different things. Different types of births cause different levels of pain. The pain of childbirth can be absolutely horrific. A haemorrhage is no more your 'fault' than getting the flu would be.
Birth is not a competition. It is one of the most extreme things you body can go through, and we aren't that brilliantly designed for it. Left to nature women and babies die of it sometimes. Do you think people who get the flu or arthritis or cancer are just not 'brave' or 'confident' enough? You are being far too harsh with yourself. YOu grew an amazing human being from a tiny dot and survived a very tough experience. Please give yourself credit for that.

MsDemeanor Fri 11-Jul-08 13:13:19

Also, while I think it was a wonderful thing for birth campaigners to win more choice for women, to end abusive practises like forced enemas and legs in stirrups etc, the flipside of that is a romanticising of birth that makes women like you feel like a failure because their birth didn't live up to an ideal that is completely unrealistic for most women. And if the ideal is that birth is painless and serene, unrealistic for about 99.9% of women.

cupsoftea Fri 11-Jul-08 13:16:05

Birth is just the start of the story - (everyone should have their wishes on childbirth respected) but it is just a process. Whats more important is safe birth and then wonderful parenting

lulumama Fri 11-Jul-08 13:27:43

i don;t know any birth campaigners who pedal the notion that birth is painless and serene.

certainly not the more mainstream ones

this freebirth programme does not represent anything like the norm.

it is a miniscule pocket of women who choose to do this

rebelmum1 Fri 11-Jul-08 13:28:22

Where being a mother is concerned birth's the easy bit!

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