Is this the last taboo?
The truth is that pregnancy, birth, motherhood, it’s EMOTIONAL.
You are going about your life as a strong, independent woman and suddenly everyone wants to be involved in your life, everyone has an opinion, and of course everyone knows best. Strangers are touching your belly in the street, well-meaning friends are telling you your bump is too big, too small, colleagues are regaling you with traumatic birth stories, your mother-in-law suddenly knows the exact right thing you should be eating, which hospital you should be going to, what colour you should paint the nursery. Honestly, it’s all a bit full on.
What about the birth?
And that’s before you even get to the labour. The labour! It’s like the highs and lows of a lifetime all squished into a few intense hours or days. The joy, the excitement, the bliss, that’s what everyone wants to hear about. A baby! Congratulations! How wonderful! How to try to explain or even make sense of some of those other moments? People are happy to hear about the pain, the stiches at a stretch, but those other emotions? Nobody wants to know. Nobody even wants to admit they exist.
And we havn’t even got to motherhood! Doubt, lack of confidence, baby blues, low mood, exhaustion, relationship dynamics, hormonal changes. Noone wants to talk about them. It’s all about how adorable your little one is, how excited you must be, how wonderful it all is.
It’s ok to express your feelings
Which of course it is, and sometimes this is ALL it is. Wonderful, happy, joyful. But not always. Life comes with a whole range of emotions, and so it is with birth. The good, the bad, the in between. Nobody suggests that this is the way it works, that it’s ok to have good and bad days, to have hormonal days, to have negative emotions, that it’s ok to EXPRESS them.
And then we wonder why women are ASHAMED when they feel overwhelmed, when they don’t feel able to admit how they are feeling, why they feel less than perfect when they experience negative emotions, why they never tell anyone if they’re not really coping. Yes, emotion in childbirth is surely the last taboo, the thing that no one is ready to address, the thing that no one admits to. No one has the language to address those things.
Know that there is somewhere you can go
If you have been affected by any of these things, from pregnancy anxiety and depression, to a disappointing, scary or traumatic birth, to negative postnatal emotions or depression, please know that you are not alone and there are organisations that can help. Approach your GP or Health Visitor, contact the Pandas Foundation or similar who have free helplines. And know most of all that it’s ok to express yourself, it’s NORMAL to need to express yourself.
Written by Rachel Weber, a former midwife, at Healing Your Stories. She offers a bespoke private service to help anyone clear emotions or experiences, at any stage of childbirth. She works via Skype and can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org, www.healingyourstories.com or Tel: 07717 471 584. She is always happy to have a chat about whether her approach is right for you.