Has it been hard to say goodbye to the dream of your child’s birth?
The months of expectation for that day may’ve dissipated quickly.
Or crumbled over the course of hours.
Perhaps the way you planned to participate and witness your first maternal moments simply never unfolded.
Of course you’re “happy to have your family.” Of course you want to “just move on.”
But you also want your birthing experience rewound.
You want it erased, then played out again. The way it was supposed to be.
Because the memories you’re stuck with keep replaying in your head and just seem so unfair.
What now? Is there any way you can ease the sorrow and disappointment of your traumatic birth experience? Consider these strategies for relief:
Call your pain what it is.
For 9 mos you built an image of what your childbirth experience would be like. You wanted that warm and powerful feeling that came with bringing your child into the world and it never happened. It hurts to think you can’t get those moments back.
It hurts to consider letting that go.
That’s real. That’s loss. That’s grief.
Go easy on yourself.
Intentionally challenge the voice in your head that says you don’t have time to grieve, that you’re a bad mother, partner, or friend. You needn’t feel ashamed or push yourself to “get over it” without processing your experience fully. You are worthy of the time it takes to grieve.
Accept that not everyone understands your grief.
Your grief may be compounded by the fear of your trauma being devalued and dismissed.
Sadly, because you are grieving the loss of an experience, many of the people you want to get it, simply won’t. They just want you to move on. It may seem easier to just withdraw.
Please don’t. Going it alone keeps you stuck and mired in sadness that may push you toward depression.
Seek steady, safe support.
You may feel cheated, disconnected, misunderstood, and ashamed at your inability to be present for your family now. You need a support system that understands the complexity of your feelings. Try the following:
- Individual therapy can help you shore up an emotional foundation for the self-care,
release, and search for meaning that accompanies grief. Isolation will begin to fade as you make space to examine your feelings.
- Support groups are excellent places for compassionate care from empathetic, caring people. You can share your story with other women face-to-face and feel accepted and heard.
- Online sites, message boards, blogs, and social media platforms are filled with global affirmation of your experience. Women there share and connect to help each other through.
- Choose expression rather than suppression.
- On your own, or with the aid of a therapist, journal your anger, sadness, and frustration.
- Write letters that say exactly how you felt abandoned, betrayed, or alone.
- Paint or play an instrument as a healthy way to express your loss.
Place grief outside you, where you can plainly see it.
Resist the urge to keep it pressed deep inside, suffocating your ability to heal.
Embrace holistic wellness.
All that you’ve been through has affected all of you.
You need to be wholly comforted to feel whole again.
Consider mindfulness meditation, yoga, or massage, along with your therapy or support group.