Many women plan the details of their birth for months. Some even begin before the baby is conceived. The reading lists are endless and you can never learn all there is to learn about the topic of birth. No matter how hard you study and plan for your desired outcome, birth often has plans of its own. Rarely, does birth go as planned, and that can be a sad reality for some women to realize postpartum.
So you just gave birth and it wasn’t what you thought. Maybe it took much longer than you expected or maybe you had a C-section after half a year of prepping for a water birth at home. No matter your expectations, birth, and life have trajectories of their own. The following tips will help you come to terms with a birth that didn’t go as planned:
1. Take time to grieve the experience.
It can be a let down to have such high hopes and then not have them fulfilled. There is a period of grieving that takes place for the experience you wish you had. Allow yourself to grieve and take recovery and your new parenting journey at the pace that is right for you. Let out your birth story to a loved one when you feel ready. Tell it in its entirety to process the feelings of your experience. It can be difficult but discussing it allows you to take the first step to acceptance.
2. Come to acceptance at your own pace.
Acceptance is a healthy part of unfortunate experiences, but it doesn’t happen immediately. Don’t force yourself to accept your experience until you have grieved the loss of what you wanted. Acceptance comes as time does, and it might show you that your unexpected birth experience was a critical life lesson you needed to learn.
3. Put the phone and Internet away.
In times of uncertainty, it is all too easy to turn to the Internet forums and Google research. Steer clear. Many people do this out of a search to not feel alone in their experience. Rather, opt for an in-person community with individuals that can share their stories as well. You will feel much more supported in a group with real human interaction.
4. Find understanding support.
Find a new moms group in your area. These types of groups are a great resource for new parents. Many moms share their birth experiences and parenting insight for newcomers. It can be the best resource to have a group that understands your situation and experienced similar themselves. You can even receive breastfeeding help and referrals for other resources.
5. Be grateful for a happy healthy baby.
Regardless of the arrival circumstance, you have a brand new baby. All you can wish for your child is their health and their happiness. They arrived just the way they needed to and just at the right time. It is perfectly normal to take your time coming to terms with your unexpected birth, but in the meantime, your baby is just glad to be in your arms and enjoying your family from outside the womb.
Birth and parenting are all about how life cannot be controlled no matter how hard you try. Sometimes learning the hard way occurs for us to best grow from an experience. Emotions are strong after a birth, and the best thing you can do is have a trusted supportive community established to help you find your footing. Most of all, be forgiving to yourself. After all, you are only human.