I so badly wanted to have a natural birth (per my well written birth plan) followed by a blissful postpartum experience. It never occurred to me that this wouldn’t happen because I had approached pregnancy and motherhood like any other aspect of my life.
I didn’t realize this at the time, but my past successes and achievements, thriving on always finding a way to be on top of my game, would work against me. There was a false sense of control that just because I had wanted it and prepared for it (natural child birth, successful breastfeeding, bonding time with baby, soothing the baby easily, predictable napping and eating schedules, etc.), I could achieve it, the same way I had studied for a test and got an ‘A’ or reduced my calories and lost weight. Having a baby hit me hard in the face with the realization that I had no control no matter how hard I worked.
In preparation for my natural childbirth, I took the Bradley method classes. Again, this was a false sense of control believing that I could prepare for the childbirth experience I wanted like so many other classes I had taken to achieve something I wanted in life.
The pregnancy continued to go well until I was diagnosed with cholestasis at 36 weeks and induction around 37 weeks was highly recommended. This was devastating to me. I was planning on a natural birth with no drugs. An induction was not part of this plan.
I remember the items on my birth plan being eliminated one by one, all the way down to the last item on my list when the doctor cut the umbilical cord which was around my daughter’s neck rather than having it pulsate for one minute as recommended by the Bradley Method. I’m not mad at the doctor for making that call to cut the umbilical cord I’m just disappointed that so many things went wrong. Having my childbirth experience go so differently was so sad for me.
I don’t fault myself or any mother for planning I just wish I had kept my sense of control in check and had more of a surrendering attitude. When I work with mothers that have had similar birth experiences I witness such disappointment and questioning what went wrong sometimes blaming themselves. I can relate to them so much.
I wish I had sought out help and support sooner to share about my birth story as well as the postpartum depression to follow. Unfortunately, the messages we receive as new mothers say we should just be happy and grateful to have a healthy baby and a “Congratulations” is in order, but those kinds of messages just made me feel worse. I needed a safe place to talk about what I was really experiencing. I needed to know I was OK for feeling this way and that I wasn’t alone.