7 Months, Even 80 Years Later
There is nothing more memorable for a woman than the birth of her baby. The birth of her baby one or more, impacts her life, her self-esteem, her relationships with others, and most importantly her relationship with that child …
Recently I had a brief conversation with a mother of 4. Her youngest baby was just 7 months old. She sent me an email describing her birth experience and how she “couldn’t let go” of how she was treated by her doctor and the failure of the epidural to work. “Why?” she asked while hoping I would explain in detail how the epidural works at the same time validating her anger towards her care provider.
She wanted my medical opinion as an RN and as much as I would have liked to to help relieve her anguish, I could not. For one, it would be unprofessional. Second, I wasn’t there and I really don’t have the facts of what happened.
Just knowing her birth experience has been festering in her mind for 7 months demonstrates how birthing memories linger, not just for a week or two, but months, and even years… in fact, a life time.
I told her I couldn’t comment on what happened professionally. But I was happy to talk to her about her experience in hopes it would release some of her anger about her birth experience. She just let me know that I was right about her anger and she had to let it go. Yet, I know it’s still there.
I have not heard from her since.
Some time ago there was a study done on elderly women and childbirth experiences. They were in their eighties – give or take a few years in age before and after. The question, could they remember their birth experiences?
Interestingly these elderly women couldn’t remember what they had for breakfast or dinner, or what they did the day before. But, they could remember every birth of their children as if it were the very day. Their eyes lit up and some even teared recalling these memories.
So precious is the birth of our little ones. So precious are the memories for moms when they birth their little ones.
The way in which she is treated, how she is spoken to, how she is embraced while vulnerable, the circumstance, how she is touched and cared for by others. All of this and more influence the quality of that birth experience and her memories of it. It will creep into every aspect of her life afterwards consciously or unconsciously.
There are many women like the above mom who had negative birth experiences who “can’t let go” of it. They don’t talk about it and you probably know as well as I in some cases this can lead to postpartum “Baby Blues” and depression.
What we can do is listen to their stories, even if we, you, had a great birth experience – because there is healing in sharing and allowing a story to be told
A couple of things can happen when we share – good and bad: We give back respect where it has been lost by listening to a birth story, it can be an educational moment to learn what could have been done differently in planning for birth and wiser for the next time (if there is one), and experiences and resources can be shared.
But the best of this is building empowerment, compassion, and acceptance, (not fostering negativity about birth) among women to share their birth stories and a source for birth planning and inspiration for the mom-to-be
What’s yours? I’d love to hear it!