Sometimes birth doesn't go the way we planned it. We plan and we plan and when the day finally comes, maybe it's not exactly what we thought it was going to be. Going into our birth experiences, we should always strive to have realistic expectations and understand that things could go a little crazy.
That's not to say we shouldn't dream, write a birth plan, take some birth prep classes or talk about our wants and desires for our birth! Those things are all excellent and I always encourage my students and doula clients to do them before they give birth.
I'm simply saying that sometimes things don't go the way we planned and we can end up a bit shaken. If this is the case for you, I have 5 tips to help recover from a not so perfect birth experience.
1. Write a letter to your child:
Regardless of how they came into the world, your child just came into the world!!! I suggest writing them a letter, highlighting the things that went well and right during your birth experience. Help your child to feel the love that you have for them and had for them at first sight. This can be therapeutic because you will be remembering all the special moments and good things that happened! Don't dwell on the hard things in this letter, help your child to remember their special BIRTHday as something that was really life changing!
2. Write a letter to your delivering OB and nurses:
Writing a letter of gratitude can help us shift our focus from the things that were disappointing or not quite right, to the things that were amazing and filled us with gratitude at that time. We all know that OB's and nurses work tirelessly to help each and every laboring women and baby be safe and healthy. Thats their job! Take a minute and thank them for the work that they have done.
3. Talk to a friend/doula:
Birth experiences can be tricky and talking about them, the good, the bad and the downright ugly, can be so therapeutic as you work to understand your feelings and thoughts about your birth experience. Choose or prepare a friend who is non-judgmental, supportive and wont chime in with "well, when I gave birth..." Let the conversation be about you and your needs! Can't find someone? Hire a doula. Many doulas charge a small consultation fee per hour that allows for you to have that friend and confidant without the extra baggage a friend can bring. Already hired a doula? Even better! Call her up and let the flood gates open! Your doula will cry with you, laugh with you and hold your space as you explore your birth experience further.
4. Discuss with your partner:
Some partners are amazingly supportive about their partners need to talk things through, get things off their chest and understand the life changing experience you both just shared. Getting your partner involved in your emotional recovery can also bring you closer together and strengthen the bond of being new parents. Try leaning on your partner, something amazing may happen!
5. Contact a therapist:
If you feel like your experience was simply too much for any one person to handle on their own, it may be time to contact a professional. A professional therapist who specializes in birth trauma can help you fully work through your birth experience and help you heal from what happened. Don't be afraid to call a professional, especially if you feel that trauma was involved. You deserve to remember the day you gave birth as something special.
I hope these tips are helpful for newly postpartum women, as you work to fully understand your birth experience. It's a story you will tell over and over again! You are an amazing person and you deserve all the good things this world has to offer!