Let’s Share Birth Stories
Men share war stories and women share birth stories.
The birth stories on this website (birth center birth, home birth and home birth in the hospital) get massive amounts of hits every day. Since everyone finds it so interesting, I thought that I would revisit one of my experiences again, but this time with new eyes.
Emotional Postpartum Healing
Before we dive in, let’s make sure that we share our birth stories in a way that promotes emotional postpartum healing, ok?
It’s so easy to nitpick even the most beautiful, serene and amazing births. We women are so hard on ourselves! We easily slip into a mindset of blame and shame.
I invite you to revisit your experience along side of me and share any insights in the comment section below.
I’d love to hear your new ideas!
Take Captive Every Thought (2 Cor 10:5)
An important part of emotional postpartum healing is to take captive every thought that comes to us. Normally, thoughts come in and out of our minds. We don’t pay attention to most of them! But to start healing our minds and bodies, it’s important to start becoming aware of what we’re saying to ourselves.
Here’s an example of what I became aware of when I started listening to my thoughts after my third birth.
Some days I find myself picking through the threads of my birth, trying to find something I missed. Something I could have done differently. Something I did wrong.
But then I stop myself and back track to the root of those thoughts and counteract them by speaking things like this to myself:
“Lindsey, you did nothing wrong. There was nothing more you could have done. In all those moments you did your best, and honestly, you rocked doing the next best thing. You ROCKED transferring to the hospital, advocating for yourself and using the resources/people available to you. You did not fail. You are not a failure. You are a bad ass mama! Oh and HELLO you had an unmedicated Pitocin augmentation!”
It is important for me (and YOU!) to stop these negative thoughts in their tracks. They are lies and not to be believed.
Four Questions for Postpartum Healing
Once we become aware of and take captive of our thoughts, now we can look at our births with new eyes and receive postpartum healing by truthfully answering the following questions.
TIP: If you get stuck, ask one of your birth partner’s to help answer for you. You might be surprised at their answers!
1. What was my most brilliant moment?
First Answer: My most brilliant moment was when I was enjoying myself. I really had a good time at my birth. I chitchatted between contractions, smiled, ate watermelon, posed for pictures and during contractions I did my breath awareness while holding on to Matt. I think I was so relaxed about when I was going to go into labor and how it was going to actually pan out, I was just enjoying the ride. Everything surprised me, I was like a kid in the candy store. I didn’t try to run from labor, but was actually fascinated by the whole thing.
Second Answer: My most brilliant moment was during transition. Right after Layla broke my water my contractions, which I thought were pretty heavy, got even heavier. And I did not expect that. During the first contraction after my water broke I freaked out because it was the most painful out of control experience I had had up to that very moment. I quickly realized that I was not coping well and was making it worse for myself and during the next break I got off the bed and stood with Matt. I held on for dear life, and by golly I somehow managed to get through the next 20 minutes. The contractions were on top of eachother, there was no break and I told Matt that I couldn’t do this. But you know what? I freaking did it. I got through transition, I coped by making up a random visualization in my mind’s eye of blowing through the center of a bullseye. I rocked that transition, baby, and I am proud of it!
2. What is one thing my partner did that really made a difference?
He was always there for me. He was my rock. I leaned on him for every contraction and threw all my weight into him. Nothing else was helpful – not counter pressure, water, massage – nothing. He never complained, but did everything I needed. He never left my side. Every time I had a contraction I called his name and he re-appeared if he was gone and let me fall into his arms. I’m so grateful he was completely in his masculine energy and held my body and the space so I could labor totally inhibited.
3. What is my favorite moment?
My favorite moment was when Gabriel was put on my chest right after I pushed him out. I remember he felt so big, heavy, warm and wet. I don’t think I can ever forget that moment. I was in complete shock and awe. I didn’t know what to do! And I don’t think my mind was thinking about what to do, I was just reacting to what was going on. Before Gabriel had taken his first breath, our midwife Layla, said to talk to him to get him going. As soon as Matt and I started talking to Gabriel he started breathing. I couldn’t even wrap my mind around what had just happened.
4. What was one moment of holy terror I had and how did I get through it?
After I pushed Gabriel’s head out, my contraction ended and even though I was still pushing he didn’t budge. Matt was supposed to catch him, and Layla was trying to show him what to do, but since I guess he needed to come out at that moment, Layla took over. Layla was telling me to “push, Lindsey!” and I was trying, but it wasn’t working. I was so out of my mind at this point and I didn’t know what to do. My worst fear was shoulder dystocia, but on the surface I wasn’t even thinking about this, I was just trying to push. Layla had to manipulate Gabriel a little bit, probably to get his shoulders unstuck, so that he would come out. I got through this moment of holy terror by pushing. And trying some more. And I kept going. And my midwife helped me. And then he was born. I have no idea how long this took. Later I asked Layla if I had shoulder dystocia, but she said no, that he was just “a little stuck”.
Share Your Story
So, how would you answer those questions for your own birth experience and postpartum healing? I would LOVE to hear what you come up with.
One more time, here are the questions I asked:
- What was your most brilliant moment?
- What was one thing your partner did that really made a difference?
- What was your favorite moment?
- What was one moment of holy terror I had and how did I get through it?
Also, how will taking captive every thought be helpful for you?
Leave me a comment!