I am a huge advocate for feelings. Whether they’re the feelings of a child, a friend, or yourself they should be acknowledged. I’m not saying we should throw a pity party for ourselves every time we’re feeling down but I think accepting our feelings for what they are will only help us process them and move on.
A few days ago I posted Owen’s birth story; you can read it here if you missed it. It was hard to keep it short. I left out some parts that weren’t necessarily part of the story. I tried a few times before to write it and it just never came out. For a long time I was ashamed of my birth with Owen. I was very knowledgable of what goes on in birth and what to expect. I had been through it once before, but I had some fears I wasn’t able to overcome. I expressed in my birth story I wasn’t able to get out of my own head and just let my body take over. I kept looking for something or someone to come help me when the strength was right there inside me.
After I had my son Owen I was having a rough time processing his birth. I put it off as some baby blues and thought that so many other women had births far worse that I had no right to be upset by it. My husband was also working a lot and my support system and myself were struggling at the time with our relationship.
I attended a doula class 9 months after I had Owen and explained to the others that I think birth is painful and a life changing experience no matter what kind of birth it was. I felt that it is an experience that rocks the soul to the core and anything like that is bound to be traumatic. The other women assured me that it isn’t and it doesn’t have to be. One momma looked me dead in the eyes and said, “It sound’s like you had a traumatic birth that you need to deal with”. Up till that point of someone telling me straight up I refused to accept that my birth was a traumatic experience. After all, I gave birth at home. It wasn’t a super long birth, and my contractions were spaced very nicely. I didn’t hemorrhage or need to be rushed to the hospital. Owen was extremely healthy and doing wonderful. I had no reason to complain. For me to complain was to put other women down that had far more difficult births, and that is the very last thing I wanted to do.
Birth Trauma comes in all shapes and sizes. I was doing myself a disservice by not accepting my feelings for what they were. When it was pointed out to me that I was capable of feeling birth trauma too I was able to accept it, feel it, and move on.
That is what we as women, and mothers do to ourselves. We don’t let ourselves feel the pain that is needed sometimes to heal. The birth of my son wasn’t horrible. It wasn’t a scary experience that left one of us in danger of our lives. It was however, really hard. It didn’t go the way I wanted it to. It wasn’t the birth story that makes you get goosebumps and cry of happiness, but I have accepted that it is Owen’s birth story.
There are a few things that I really want my next birth to look like and I feel like I will be able to achieve those things. First and foremost, I know I can’t control my birth but I will definitely hire a doula. I will hire a doula that will help me get out of my head. A woman who can direct me to take a walk or remind me to breathe and sway my hips during contractions. A woman who will walk next to me and be my sister.
Most importantly, what I learned from Owens birth and my 2 years since, is that accepting women and ourselves not as mere mothers but as warriors. We, as women, are so strong and even when our feelings don’t feel as such it is there. Acknowledge your thoughts and feelings; are they good for you or are they holding you down? When you realize they aren’t doing you any good, let them go and move on. Also, remember that your feelings are only valid to yourself. Someone might have had a more difficult day, but yours is still your own. You can be grateful for your good and bad experiences.