Women’s feelings and reactions to an unexpected surgical birth can run from gratitude for a healthy baby all the way to feelings of remorse to anger. Some women feel extreme grief and sorrow over the loss of the birth experience they had dreamed of.
Not only must they heal physically, they need to heal from the emotional damage. Many struggle for months and even years.
- PTSD- Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome
- Postpartum Depression
- Anxiety or Panic Disorder
- Inability to bond with the newborn
- Resentment toward baby
- Blame themselves or others
- Disappointment and loss of control
- Despair and grief
The mother’s support group may not understand why she isn’t just happy to have a healthy baby. They may wonder about her reaction. What she’ll need from others is empathy. The worst thing that can be said is, “Just accept it and move on.” “I don’t understand why you’re upset! You have a healthy baby!”
This new mom is so busy caring for her new child, dealing with sleep deprivation, all while healing from major abdominal surgery. The best thing friends and family can do for her is, help around the house, cook, do laundry, help in any way that makes physical healing a little easier. Also, empathy and acknowledging her feelings can go a long way to help her heal emotionally. Even if you don’t understand her feelings, just acknowledging them can go a long way. She will be mourning the loss of a dream she envisioned. For some mothers, this is extremely traumatic.
Help Yourself Heal Emotionally:
- Frequent doses of your baby will help you bond.
- Get help with breastfeeding. Find a lactation consultant
- Attend an ICAN meeting International Cesarean Awareness Network. Being around others and sharing with other mothers who have had similar experiences can help you feel less alone and isolated.
- Join an online support group. You’ll be amazed how many women feel exactly as you do. http://www.solaceformothers.org ; http://www.birthtraumaassociation.org.uk/whoarewe.htm ; Do a search on Facebook for Cesarean or VBAC support groups
- Seek counseling from a licensed psychotherapist
- Though difficult, most women find it to be cathartic and healing to write their birth story.
- Remember that 85% of women can have a successful VBAC.
It is healthy to mourn the loss of your dream. It’s okay to be angry and even disappointed even when you have a healthy baby. Confusion is normal. Be patient with yourself. Be kind to yourself. Finally, ask for help. You don’t need to do this on your own.