I’m experiencing a few quite new emotions. My friend has blogged previously about how sensitive it can be to discuss pregnancy/birth/children and that people can take offence so easily by everything. She said that some get provoked when she says she found giving birth easy. But also by the fact that she found breast-feeding difficult and not enjoyable. I was not provoked by her experience then or now. But I didn’t really know what she meant, until now… And I’m the one taking offense.
This Swedish blogger has just had a baby. Which is lovely! But straight away she’s started indicating what a fantastic experience it was, her 4 hour labour and birth, and that it was the best thing she’s ever done and she’s telling her expectant mothers-to-be readers not to worry because her experience was so great.
This really provokes me,Â I’ve noticed. I’m surprised by my own reaction, but I also want to dig a bit deeper into why it’s so provoking to me. I mean it’s not like I was hoping that she’d have a terrible experience. I’ve had plenty of friends telling me that they really enjoyed giving birth, and this has not made me upset in any way.
And I agree with her that there is NO NEED TO WORRY. Seriously. The baby will come out and the first few days, weeks after are just amazing. The emotions of having a child is great. And if it’s not because of complications, then worrying now, will not help you in any way.
So I guess it’s that addition of saying “don’t worry,Â it was the best thing I’ve ever done”, that is sooo provoking. The reason forÂ not worrying should be that you can’t do anything about it, and that it is a lottery (women that have had several children can testify to this – the same woman can have as many different birth experiences as children). But that this woman had a great birth is no indication of what other people’s experience will be.
For me, giving birth was far from great. I still view it as a trauma. I have no positive thoughts connected with the actual birth or hospital stay after.
I think I’m provoked because there is this underlying idea or thought that if you’re tough enough, prepared enough you will get an easy birth. There’s all these tips out there – teas, exercises etc to tone your uterus and make birth giving easy peasy. I did it all. I prepared for it as thoroughly as I did the London marathon.
My opinion now, after having given birth, is that it’s a lottery and you can be lucky or unlucky. You can’t really do much about it. If it’s straight forward then maybe your preparation can help you a little and make you feel better. But just because it goes pear-shaped does not mean that you could have done anything about it, before or during.
It’s true that I feel cheated out of an awesome experience myself, so it might just be viewed as bitterness. And it’s true that I feel let down by Swedish health care. And I also feel very unlucky.
It’s not really that I’m begrudging of others lovely experience of birth giving, not really. I just think that had I had a great labour/birth experience myself, I would have probably felt it was due to all my preparation, my mental attitude and my personal strength. Since that didn’t happen, I feel this urge to explain that if you had a great experience you were lucky – not better prepared, or mentally stronger, or physically in better shape than me – you were just lucky!
It’s stupid, I know. It doesn’t make a difference and it doesn’t change individual experiences. It shouldn’t make me feel less. Less of a woman or whatever type of primal emotions it has awaken in me.
That’s where I’m at. Not saying it’s right. I’m actually a bit surprised about it. But that’s my feelings. And probably a lot of other women’s feelings as well. So I’ve started thinking of my labour and birth and I might write it down & share as an exercise to try to come to terms with what happened and to remember how I experienced it.
All this also made me think of this woman I saw on TV who has been diagnosed with cancer recently. She talked about this blame culture when it comes to diseases and it did really make me think. I’ve caught myself passing silent blames. Especially when you see someone not taking care of their health and ending up being sick in different ways. She said that she never thought it would happen to someone like her; yoga person, health aware and thinking about her diet. But it is what they sayÂ Cancer doesn’t discriminate.
And with cancer you often hear what a positive attitude can do, and you have toÂ fight cancer. But people who fight for their lives still die in cancer. Some people have made all the right choice pre-cancer and still end up with this killer disease. And others might have really played with fire and sure enough end up with cancer, but they survive.
It’s unfair and it’s mostly out of our control. Being a strong person can help deal with the consequences of a bad birth experience and to juggle all emotions afterwards. But the actual turn of events during labour is hard to control regardless of preparation made.