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Do my mum's and aunties' birth experiences have any likely effect on what my birth will be like?

(21 Posts)
DangerMousey Sun 28-Oct-12 09:06:00

My mum is a negative, unpleasant "glass half empty" kind of person. We've never been close and she doesn't have a maternal bone in her body.

During this pregnancy (I am currently 35 weeks), she has constantly been saying really unhelpful things like "well, of course you're unlikely to have a natural, uncomplicated birth, cos me and my two sisters have had EMCS for all 6 of our children."

And "Are you sure your baby's not still breech? there's lots of breech babies in our family" - even though at my 34 week appointment, the MW seemed pretty confident the baby was head down.

And "I really hope you and your DH know what you're getting yourselves in for...it really is going to be hellish when you bring that baby home you know? Stay in hospital as long as you can, cos when you get home, it will be simply awful."

Her way of looking at the world is starting to impact on the positive calm preparations for labour I have been trying to do (lots of relaxation exercises, hypnobirthing course etc etc), and also I am starting to doubt my ability to be a good mum/cope with the sleepless nights etc.

Does anyone know if there's a proven link between women in your family's birth experiences, and your own? I am trying to tell myself that my body their bodies and life experiences are totally different to mine - and therefore unlikely to dictate what happens to me in labour? and they all give birth in the 1980s, so I guess things might have been different then? - more interventions etc?

I have had an uncomplicated pregnancy so far and am hoping to give birth in the MW led unit if I can.

Please someone reassure me!

SneakyBiscuitEater Sun 28-Oct-12 09:10:16

My DM was in labour for days with her first (my DB) and ended up with forceps. My DS arrived in under two hours at home with not time to get to the hospital. Chin up you'll be grand.

SecretCermonials Sun 28-Oct-12 09:10:46

My mum died when I was ten, but she ha problems concieving. I've had problems too but different. She had a girl, and ive got a boy and another on the way. She had a natural labour i ended up with an emcs. I see no reason why just because something happened to your mum and aunts it would to you. If you were all very small and petite And had ten piund babies I might forsee it, but I think its unlikely.

WRT the type of parenting experience you will have, its gubbins! Depends on you, your OH/ situation, your baby, your external situation... I would say that your mums negativity wont be helping you though. Can you tell her you just dont want to hear it?

lindsell Sun 28-Oct-12 09:34:48

My dm was in labour 27hrs with me (her dc1) and i came out with my hand by my face and tore her badly and I was in labour 2.5hrs with ds1 (my first) and didn't tear - when I called to tell her he had arrived an hour and a half after I'd called to say we were off to hospital she was almost speechless that it had been so quick and so unlike her experience.

There are so many different factors affecting birth that IMHO (and totally unscientific) I think that some things may be hereditary eg tendency towards wider/narrower pelvis etc but other things are completely down to chance - eg exact position of baby etc

Good luck smile

Pourquoimoi Sun 28-Oct-12 09:40:29

I wouldn't worry, everyone's experience is very different and your mum sounds a but miserable.

My maternal grandmother died as a result of the birth, my mum had easy labours, I had a tricky one with forceps then emergent section under general then an elective section. So no correlation whatsoever.

What I'd bear in mind is that it will be life changing bringing the baby home but it will be amazing as well as very tiring etc. it is very unlikely to be 'hellish'.

I'd nod along when she talks but just think in your head that it's a load of crap and not take much notice.

Good luck! smile

HauntedLittleLunatic Sun 28-Oct-12 09:40:38

Some things are hereditary. As has been pointed out pelvis shape, propensity to preterm labour, gestational diabetes, pre-eclampsia....

I guess it depends what the reasons for emcs were. If those reasons are hereditary then it might be useful to know so that can be monitored. Of it was just position of baby then you have no worries.

ISeeThreadPeople Sun 28-Oct-12 09:42:41

There is a link between the two but it's just not that straightforward. So many things make a difference. Your dh's genetics, baby's position, support during labour etc.

My Mum had two relatively short labours, no pain, easy, straightforward deliveries. I had two VERY long and difficult labours, a lot of intervention and 2x emcs.

The real question you have is how to deal with your mother's negativity at this time. You need to counter it directly I think as it's clearly worrying you. I feel a bit sad for her too. Sounds like her birth experiences and the early days with a baby were hard. Acknowledge that but tell her your experience isn't decided and you'd like to enter it with joy, not pessimism.

ISeeThreadPeople Sun 28-Oct-12 09:45:21

Oh yes pre-eclampsia. DH's great grandmother had it, grandmother had it twice, MIL had very severe pre-eclampsia and dh was born under ga by cs at 31 weeks with neither MIL nor DH expected to survive at the time. My SIL knows that should she ever have a baby, there is a chance that she will follow the same pattern.

SirBoobAlot Sun 28-Oct-12 09:45:58

Not really.

But I think the main issue here if your mother. You need to distance yourself from her. Not only is she causing anxieties for you about your labour and birth, but she's only going to get worse when your baby arrives.

Best of luck.

LeBFG Sun 28-Oct-12 09:49:04

Even if some things are hereditary, it's worth bearing in mind that they are frequently not certainties.

My mum had three c-sections (and severe pnd after 2), sisters had c-sections or difficult births. All went overdue. My greatest fear was a c-section, pnd and the lack of maternal instincts. However, my DS decided to come very early, in 7 hours with no complications. No pnd and we're stuck together like glue most of the time, so no bonding issues whatsoever.

I really wouldn't worry, op. We're all different, she's just had bad luck, and it's colouring her view on the matter. I'm sure if she and her sister had had easy vaginal births every time she'd be crowing about that and making you feel bad if you "got it wrong" by needing a cs or whatever. Stop listening, smile and nod. Hopefully you'll have a very normal boring sort of birth!

Life after the birth is great. When you get home, you snuggle in your bed or on the sofa with your lovely, cuddly newborn. They smell amazing, they mainly want you (yay!) and everyone wants to meet them and bring you flowers. Yes, you may get sore boobs if you're breastfeeding. The sleepless nights aren't too pleasant, but every time you're awake it's with your new baby who is just as cute and appealing as they are in the daytime, and you're up seeing to their needs so you won't mind, and you'll get used to it. Your bits will be sore, but nothing painkillers and warm baths can't handle. The house will get messy but it doesn't matter that much in the scheme of things.

You may have a brief "Oh god what have I done?" moment a few days after the birth, I know I did, but there's no reason to assume life after the birth is horrible, I remember it as wonderful, despite tearing both times and being frankly crap at breastfeeding! Try not to worry.

yellowsubmarine53 Sun 28-Oct-12 09:59:44

Your mum sounds so much like mine. It's toxic stuff, isn't it?

I would be guided by your midwife, who is looking at you and your body, rather than your mother who is trying to bring the family weight of misery to bear on your experiences.

You're right to be thinking ahead about how to protect yourself when your baby is here. My mother's first words to me (she came in as my dd was breastfeeding) were, "So you've got some bottles in, I hope, for when that doesn't work out. I tried and couldn't do it, so of course, you'll ....... etc etc etc "

Good luck grin

ENormaSnob Sun 28-Oct-12 10:06:05

Ignore the silly bitch.

JustSpidero Sun 28-Oct-12 10:08:07

I'd be surprised if there was any proven connection.

My mum had no morning sickness or other pregnancy symptoms until her blood pressure shot up at about 34 weeks and she was hospitalised on bed rest. I arrived naturally 3 days late.

I had chronic morning sickness to such an extent that I ended my pregnancy a stone lighter than I started it. My blood pressure was normal throughout, but DD arrived 2 weeks late after an induction and EMCS.

Absolutely no comparison whatsoever.

EugenesAxe Sun 28-Oct-12 10:32:30

If there is any correlation it's likely to be for physiological reasons e.g. pelvis size, shape of torso.

For example, DM and I have a similar body shape and we did have similar labours; average length, no intervention, normal pain, both took steps to encourage optimal position. My sister is more slight but not vastly different... her labour was more traumatic. Having said that, her DS decided to chew his fist on the way out... I think that's where most of her difficulties lay.

Look most likely, it will be a shock to the system when you get out, but most people have no trouble getting sorted quickly. You will have midwife support & don't be at all afraid to get out with your baby in the first few days. It will calm both of you and they are durable little things. Don't go to crowded places if yuou are worried about germs but just have a walk.

DS cried hugely the first night and just having DM there to point out that he looked like he was windy was really helpful. I was all at sea and panicky and didn't want her to leave, but it only took a couple of weeks to feel back in control.

In case you do have a colicky baby, swot up on massage and get some Dentinox (I found better than Infacol). Not being able to calm our crying baby those first few nights is probably what DH and I found most stressful. Also if you have feeding difficulties be pushy about it - get a tongue-tie expert from your local HV team to check him/her out in the first week. Sorting early will help establish supply and stop your DC dropping down the centiles. Seeing my DS's ribs and all the saggy skin on his back was the other thing that caused me major stress and upset, and was one of the reasons for me giving up on BFing. I had a lot of other TT indicators but don't know if he had it - DD did but it was of the 'tight sepulum' variety so not as easy to identify. My DSis found BFing cafes a real help - just to knock issue about with like-minded women and get out of the house.

Enough of my scary realism - forewarned is forearmed but don't forget in addition to the above having a baby is wonderful! Don't let your DM get you down.

EvilTwins Sun 28-Oct-12 10:34:22

My mum had two straightforward natural births. I had twins- one breech, one transverse and therefore needed an ELCS. No correlation at all.

JustSpidero Sun 28-Oct-12 10:37:18

Coming home with a first baby is bound to be a bit unnerving, but it will only be a nightmare if you put too much pressure on yourself and do too much.

The nice thing about being in hospital is that you can't do much - if you apply the same tactics at home - easy meals, sleep as and when you feel the need, do the bare minimum of housework and don't overdo the outings and visitors you'll make life much easier for yourself.

SneezySnatcher Sun 28-Oct-12 13:16:05

My mum had to have sections for DSis and I - her pelvis is too small to birth a baby.
DSIs had to have a section due to her DD being breech.
My DD's birth was straightforward and (relatively) enjoyable, despite being induced. Managed without an epidural. I'm the only one of us to develop pre-eclampsia though.

WRT bringing the baby home. It's hard but the hard bit doesn't last long. My (BF) DD didn't sleep through until she was almost two. My DNeice (also BF) slept through at two weeks old envy

weeblueberry Sun 28-Oct-12 14:08:39

Given that women can have such a different experience between their own births, I'm not sure how it can really affect you?

Please don't listen to your mother - I'm only pregnant with my first but I genuinely believe bringing our child home will be one of the happiest things I've ever done. And yes the birth may be difficult but women manage and you will too. smile Please don't let her bring you down at a time where you're already feeling very sensitive...

DangerMousey Sun 28-Oct-12 14:41:58

.....and this is why I love Mumsnet grin

Thanks so much ladies.

Our once-weekly phone calls always leave me feeling a bit down (even when not PG!), so I guess I am not surprised to feel like this after this morning's classic, at 35 weeks.

I will try to smile, nod and ignore her more - it is difficult though (as my DH always says, "why do you care so much what she thinks when she's been such a toxic negative person at every stage of your life?".....as a much-loved son of a doting mother, I don't think he'll ever understand!!!).

But on a practical level, I feel reassured that there's no guaranteed link between her births and mine. One of her births was breech twins under GA, and then 2 EMCS after 'failure to progress'....she seems to think this was cos my brothers' heads were too big, but admits she was never told this by a medical professional. Sounds to me like the story she has filled in around what happened. Who knows? Might have been because she lay on her back in bed on a monitor for 8 hours, before the decision was taken for an EMCS.

Gonna try and let all this stuff go anyway. And focus on what mine and DH's experiences of early parenthood are going to be like (tiring, overwhelming - yes, i am sure. But hopefully not "hellish"....silly old cow).

halloweeneyqueeney Sun 28-Oct-12 20:01:33

my mum and aunts had emcs, I had an emcs, I honestly don't believe there was ANY genetic element to it though

my own was your textbook "cascade of interventions" scenario with me being on my back for hours and having an epidural, after weeks of "feet up" on the sofa, so baby in a tricky position anyway and being on my back in labour didn't help move him, looking back I really didn't give natural labour a proper chance!

my mum's waters were artificially broken because it was just before the holidays and the doc wanted everyone "done" by then hmm, labour didn't progress so it was a CS

Aunt's emcs had other reasons

I think all of our emcs can be explained without it being "genetic" and predetermined. If I thought it was genetic I'ld be going for a planned CS this time but I'm not, I'm going for a VBAC but this time not going to do everything known to hinder a natrural birth like I did last time!

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