I know you just had a baby and I know it didn’t go the way you wanted. You felt like something happened TO you instead of feeling like an integral part of the process. That must have felt awful. Especially since you and your baby came out the other side perfectly healthy. I’m guessing you feel really conflicted – wanting to be happy over that sweet new baby cradled in your arms, but actually feeling like you’re mourning your birth experience.
You’re not alone. I’ve seen it happen many times. In fact I recently went over to a client’s home whom I’m helping in the postpartum period and at our first visit she told me the story of her birth. It was the first time she allowed herself to recount the details. She cried so hard she couldn’t even speak at times. She said something along the lines of, “I shouldn’t be feeling this way since my baby and I are okay. But I just can’t help but feel like I’m mourning my birth.”
Like you, this client thought her birth would go completely differently. She had her birth preferences and envisioned birthing her baby a certain way, but she hadn’t anticipated that there might be a cascade of interventions where she felt like she didn’t have control over what was happening to her. For her, this was extremely traumatizing. She was healthy in the end, and so was her baby, but mentally and emotionally she was not okay. She was having a hard time processing because by all accounts, she felt like she should be happy. She had a beautiful baby, and she was healthy.
She felt guilty for feeling sad. If you’re feeling like her, lean in a little closer and listen really carefully:
A healthy mom and healthy baby is actually NOT all that matters. Your emotional and mental health is equally important. And if you feel unhappy about how your birth went, then that is 100% okay and it might take some time until you start to feel better. Many people feel like birth is something that happens TO them and it’s not a process they have much control over. And that’s really shitty. So momma, I hear you. I see you. This is a really hard time and you have the right to be sad for however long you need to. It doesn’t make you any less of a mother and your baby is so lucky to have you.
Sending you love, peace, warmth, and hope for a better day. Until then, take all the time you need and find comfort in knowing that your feelings matter.