Every woman has a plan, and a dream, of how her birth should go. Unfortunately sometimes even the best laid plans go awry. If your natural birth became an emergency caesarean, or your home birth turned into a hospital birth with an epidural then you’re probably not happy about it. That’s normal, but there are ways you can get over the frustration, anger and disappointment.
The first step is to let your body heal. Difficult births, like c-sections and those that require episiotomies and other procedures, put additional strain on your body. Give yourself time to heal physically. Follow your doctor’s advice and accept help when it’s offered. Focus on yourself and your baby, ask a friend or family member to help out with other children and your house, or hire help. Whatever it takes to heal, including diet and doctor visits, should be your first priority.
If you are really hurt by the loss of your dream birth, acknowledge those feelings and give yourself time to mourn. You need to get over it and that takes time. Ignore people who tell you that at least your child is healthy and deal with your feelings first.
One of the best ways to deal with it is to talk to someone. Whether it’s your partner, your mother or a professional, sharing your disappointment with someone who will listen is a great way to unburden yourself. If the birth was particularly traumatic, such as an emergency c-section, then a group or one on one therapy session may be just what you need to get over the trauma.
Focus on the positive. When you have had time to think about the birth and talk about your feelings about it, it does help to focus on what went right. The fact that your baby was born healthy is a major point, but there are sure to be others that you can consider.
Don’t feel guilty. If you needed an assisted birth, drugs, a caesarean or anything else during the birth, it’s not your fault. Childbirth is not a test and if you need a little help due to medical reasons you have absolutely nothing to feel bad about.
Finally, don’t take anyone’s judgements to heart. Everyone has someone who makes a snide comment about your ‘failure’ to have a natural birth or your need of an epidural. Everyone is different, and the fact that you couldn’t have your dream birth is nothing to be ashamed of. It’s also none of their business. You are as great a mom as they are and your child is as healthy and happy. Leave it at that and move on.