A couple of weeks ago I decided to request a debrief, as a couple of mum friends had recommended it might help in reducing my feelings of guilt and fear of labour. The reason I wanted to have a birth debrief is because my memory was hazy and large parts of my labour were completely blacked out. Both me and my husband have decided for the foreseeable future we don’t want anymore children. This is largely due to our experience and other more practical issues. If you read my blog post on My Birth Trauma you will have gained an insight into how much this experience has affected me. The reason I am writing this post is to try and break the silence around traumatic births an in doing so try and help others with sharing their story or just knowing that their thoughts are a completely normal response.
I want to make it clear that all the medical staff were amazing and I have no concerns at all regarding how me and Ralph were looked after. My midwife was an absolute womb warrior and really supported me, I honestly couldn’t have given birth without her. As stated above my debrief was purely to gain more of an understanding about the feelings I have been scarred with.
So here is how the debrief went:
My mum drove me to the hospital, which I was glad about as it gave me time to collect my thoughts and try to fathom how I was going to explain how I am feeling. Luckily I wasn’t waiting too long before the midwife called me in so my nerves didn’t have time to turn me into a emotional mess. Don’t get me wrong there was still tears but I felt a sense of calm and relief as I was explaining what I could remember and how I was feeling.
The midwife I met with was so compassionate and understanding, despite me not having the most traumatic birth ever she didn’t make me feel like I was wasting her time. In fact she spent 2 and half hours going through every aspect of my labour and explaining to me why things had happened and what they have put in place since I have given birth, so other mother’s can have a more positive experience. It was only later she disclosed she had had a very similar birth and how she had been left feeling the same. She also reassured me I would still be a candidate for a birth center, low risk birth for future pregnancies.
She helped me to understand that what I went through was a completely normal response to the trauma my body has faced. She eased a lot of my guilt, which was a hard tasks as I’m not really sure why I feel so guilty. She explained there was nothing I had done during my pregnancy and labour and pointed out that it had been noted on numerous occasions that I had put in ‘a good maternal effort.’
I now feel lighter and clearer about the whole experience. Maybe these feelings will never fully leave but by having a debrief they have definitely been dulled. I can feel my emotionally and mentally wounds healing but I need to give myself time and space to do so.
If you are in a similar situation yourself I would recommend you have a debrief, especially if you’re seeking some understanding of your feelings, which have been conjured up or you are experiencing PTSD symptoms or maybe just seeking some closure.
I would love to hear how other people’s debriefs went and if there was anything else you’ve done which has helped you heal.