A birth debrief can make a difference because your labour and birth is totally unique to you. While birth experiences may be similar, yours belongs to you: you own it, you feel it.
Birth can be really positive with good communication and care, leaving parents feeling safe, informed and supported. But it can also leave parents with a range of feelings as they try to process what they have experienced and how it makes them feel about themselves.
How we feel during labour and birth can stay with us, which is why it can be helpful to talk it through and make sense of it, to deal with some of the emotions and to make space for it rather than just leaving it tumbling about in your head.
Talking to and listening to expectant and new parents is a huge part of my work and birth features a lot. The thing about birth is, even when it is positive and straight-forward, it might not look like what you expected it to be.
Birth Debrief: here are some of the comments made about how labour and birth has made someone feel:
- shaken & shocked – it was long and my contractions felt relentless. I didn’t have as much control as I thought I would have.
- confused – I don’t really know what happened, labour went from smooth and positive to medical and urgent and I’m still not too sure why or what went on.
- let-down – I prepared for easy and straight-forward, I didn’t think about it being difficult, I wasn’t prepared for having to make decisions or for my labour to become more medical.
- angry – it wasn’t the birth I wanted, I felt unsupported and on my own.
- upset – just thinking about it makes me feel upset, I don’t really know why.
- sore & painful – my body afterwards and recovery is not what I expected, I don’t think I had thought about it too much but I didn’t expect to feel so achey and exhausted.
- failed – my body couldn’t do it, I couldn’t do, women have been doing this forever so why couldn’t I?
- nothing like I imagined – it was very different from the calm waterbirth I wanted. I was induced and I didn’t really feel supported with my options.
- out of control – my birth was so fast, I just had to go with it. I didn’t have time for pain relief and my contractions were continuous.
- frustrated – that it seemed like there were barriers all the way through from my midwife being a bit controlling, being in a busy unit and because the birth pool wasn’t available.
There isn’t a right way to do birth, there are different needs and it is very subjective. Having a straight-forward birth without intervention doesn’t mean you can’t feel upset, shocked or confused by it. And having a caesarean doesn’t mean you must be disappointed or upset.
As I have already mentioned, it truly is a unique experience and talking it through can be useful and this includes partners. And please do message me with your experience as well as to find out more about birth debrief consultations.
Working with parents since 2002 | Based in Newcastle, working with families everywhere