Unexpected Outcomes in Pregnancy/Labour
So this topic was one which I was invited to attend at a group meeting with some fabulous independent Midwife practitioners and some of their clients. I was asked to come along to listen as well as offer some tips which may be useful for them in their journey to heal. This was a group of women who had birthed at home and for most this was their second birth. When they were asked about what was their understanding around this topic – I could see and hear the traumas that these women had. Some could not even talk about their previous experience and just broke down and cried, other were able to talk and to find a way that enabled them to discuss what had happened with them, others sat quietly – listening but couldn’t bring their stories forward. There was no pressure on this group, they knew they didn’t have to discuss anything that they were not comfortable in discussing but there were a couple of things that I took away from this group that really just reinforced what I was already thinking:
- Different things affect people in different way – what seems to be so insignificant to us, may be a huge issue for that person concerned.
- The importance of not “brushing off” their experience as “Oh your OK and your baby is OK – you should be happy” is probably the WORST response you could ever give a couple.
- As a health professional – the language we use in front of labouring women or women who are already stressed during a pregnancy is quite frankly appalling. We need to be much more mindful in how we talk to couples in ways that they understand without putting the fear of god in them – they already have that in the first place, we don’t need to reinforce that.
- That in some cases, women birth at home because they will not go back to a place where their trauma occurred previously.
- Healing is possible with the right supports from caregivers, families and society in general.
So my tips:
- Education: doing some antenatal courses that are out of main stream hospital based ones. Invest in these because they will give you some amazing information and tools to use in labour and in general life situations when things feel overwhelming. Always check with the facilitator first to make sure its something that will fit with your philosophy.
- Care providers: This is really important. These people will be involved with you when your going through pregnancy and birth and postnatal period. These are the people that you have to feel comfortable with, who you can discuss your plans for your birth and who will respect you enough to help work with you to achieving what you want for your experience. Shop around, get some referrals and go meet with them first. If you find down the track that they don’t feel right for you – change. You are entitled to change your care providers whenever you wish, its not a lock in deal. There are some fabulous care providers out there who will work WITH you to help achieve the experience you want.
- Check out your birthing place: Go and have a look through the units. Make appointments to do a tour through your maternity wards and labour wards and in some cases nurseries. Ask lots of questions – what you can take in with you, what they provide, what the routines are, what classes do they run to help you. Make a list of what is important for you to know. If your planning a homebirth, make a list of what is important to know and include things such as if you have to transfer in to hospital – what does that involve, how does that decision come around etc.
- Be proactive in informing yourself and your partner. Work together as a team.
I hope some of this is helpful for you but remember, if your not feeling good after your birth – come and talk. I am only a phone call away.