It is so hard not to feel let down when situations occur that differ from our hopes and plans.
If complications, unwelcomed interventions or an emergency has taken place during your labor or childbirth, emotional healing after the unexpected childbirth must be integrated into the process of physical healing.
Perhaps you dreamed of a natural birth only to see the birth end in cesarean section, received pain medication when you hadn’t wanted it, or an act was done against your will. It was not the birth experience you wished for.
All of these things can lead to feelings of regret, anger, sadness and blame.
Sometimes this blame is cast out on someone else, and sometimes women blame themselves or their bodies for not doing more or for “failing” themselves.
Up to 15-20% of women suffer from some kind of depression or anxiety in the weeks and months after baby is born.
In fact, while postpartum depression is the most commonly used term for these feelings, there are actually several other forms these feelings can take on.
See Postpartum Support International for more information.
The Nature of Living
“A full life includes both joy and sorrow; such is the nature of living!” – Janice March-Prelesnik, Midwife
There are no guarantees in life – not in birth or in every day living. We will always encounter risks, however seldom.
Learning how to live after loss is part of the emotional healing process and can be considered “creating a new normal,” as we adjust to the changes.
This can come in a multitude of forms, from adjusting to no longer being pregnant, to the change in independence, time management and intimate relationships with a new baby.
Everyone handles emotional healing differently.
Whether you keep a journal, talk to a good friend, speak to a professional or meditate, it’s always good to let yourself cry.
Some people find it hard to allow themselves to cry while others view it as a tremendous relief.
No matter how you release these emotions, try to release them. Here are a few ideas:
- Be sure to keep a healthy diet, as sometimes providing comfort can come in the form of unhealthy foods.
- Dancing, taking a long walk or exercising might give you more energy. It also releases endorphins that naturally dull pain and release “feel good” chemicals.
- Listen to music, get creative and journal – let your thoughts flow out of you without restraint.
Take a Deep Breath – A Healing Poem
This poem was written by a young mother after experiencing am unexpected and traumatic birth.
“Take deep breaths, work really hard, and baby will come out,”
says my three year old son,
as he curls into fetal position,
and lays with his head against my breast.
His thick hair begins to tickle my chin.
This is one of my favorite games.
I grunt, and I make noises.
My son slowly raises his head up.
As if he is breaking through the thick skin of
He smiles from ear to ear
and giggles as he says,
“It’s me, your baby has just been born.”
I laugh and each time, my eyes well up
with joy as I look at him.
He squirms around on my chest,
and I wonder how he got so big,
It is fun,
this birthing dance we do together.
When the game ends I feel so
much better than what I
as a young girl
in an Iowa hospital.
No one takes him,
it is not an emergency,
it is a birth.
He is right here,
next to me.
And I feel alive,
I am awake.
He is connected to me
the way it was intended.
When we get up we are both revived
and we dance and sing
away our morning together.
And each time I am further healed.
And I am stronger,
with my intentions.
Teresa LaMendola, 2004
Sometimes sharing your story with others, and reading the personal stories of others can help you feel less alone which helps the healing process.
If you would like to share your feelings, know they and you are safe to do so here.