Birth Experience

Why Birth Experience Matters | Introduction

28 Comments 28 February 2010

“You should just be happy that you have a healthy baby.”

When a mother often reflects upon her birth experience when she finds it didn’t play out as she anticipated or hoped, she may this discuss with a close friend, family member or spouse.

If the listener responds with the aforementioned quote, they mean well.

Unfortunately, any phrase containing, “you should just be happy because ________,” often does not result in feelings of gratefulness and joy (“Gee, thanks…”).

If the feeling or issue is not resolved by forgiveness or acceptance, it continues to linger, unsolved. This can turn out to be a recipe for disaster for mom and/or baby.

Research Shows That the Childbirth Experience Affects a Woman’s Self-Esteem

“Research does show that the childbirth experience has an effect on women’s self-esteem after birth and can impact her emotional availability to her baby immediately afterwards.

Giving birth will tend to be integrative or disintegrative, depending on the support, preparation and acceptance of her feelings before, during and after the birth. Her sense of maintaining psychological wholeness throughout the labor, whatever the method or kind of birth, is key to a positive sense of self.

Giving birth is an experience of great magnitude. It naturally follows that the more intact a woman feels emotionally, the easier it is for her body to adapt to the intensity of the labor, as heightened amounts of fear can give messages in some women for the brain to shut off labor. Self-esteem is a part of health.” -Dr. Gayle Peterson

*Read the entire article at The Birth Scene

Go into labor informed on the birthing process, and what you may encounter along the way.

Why Birth Experience Matters is a series created to first inform women on common procedures known as “birth management.” The second half is full of measures you can take to increase the odds of having a positive and empowering labor.

To discover how women can have a better birth experience, I think we must delve into the medical interventions which result in a woman feeling disappointed in her birth experience.

My goal with this series is to present you with the necessary information to be able to make informed choices and/or how to avoid often unnecessary interventions during childbirth.

By learning the pros and cons of medical interventions, one can understand the effects management has on labor, and whether or not it is necessary.

Ultimately it is self-advocacy, demanding a higher standard of care, and all around more education on the birthing process, will help to ensure that women have a better birth experience.

Birth Experience Matters Chapters

Part One

Part Two

Your Comments

28 Comments so far

  1. Sarah says:

    “Ultimately it is self-advocacy, demanding a higher standard of care, and all around more education on the birthing process that will help to ensure that women have a better birth no matter where they birth.”

    I cannot believe how many women I know who don’t care to educate themselves about pregnancy and the birth process. I know that homebirths and midwives are not for everyone, but I wish that women would see themselves as consumers and advocate for themselves as such.

    For example, I’m still reeling from a friend-of-a-friend’s birth in December – at 38 weeks she found out that midwives existed (!) and wished she could have a natural birth at the hospital with a midwife attending. Instead of changing providers – or even looking into changing providers – she told her OB that she wanted a natural birth and he (!) replied “We can try that.” She was able to fight against induction, even though she ended up going into labor at 42 weeks. But because she wasn’t educated, she ended up with Pitocin, epidural, c-section. And then she started using formula when the baby was a month old and “supplementing with pumped milk” (!).

    I hope this website & blog make it to the eyes of those who need it. :) Love the new look!

  2. Lexie says:

    Love it. It is so important for moms to remember that they way they birth does matter.

    And I love your site! It looks fabulous!

  3. Sherry says:

    One problem is, many women think they ARE educated just because they took a childbirth class(usually at the hospital)or read a book by some OB/GYN. And unfortunately, many women only discover they have rights, and that there are better ways, after having horrendous experiences.

    Unfortunately, when you try to tell some of these women that there are better ways, they are convinced that they don’t need any more information, and what they’ve read is good enough.

  4. Lissie_lyslys says:

    Why is it that when some people go in labour they want to abort they baby or give it away if i were having a child i what of keep it instead of having that dont care attitude but most of us women only want to do it with men and afterwards dont want the baby i would of make my man get the supplies by baby needs and pay for wealthfare and i donot want to give my babay up at all it is my own fles and blood and responsibilty and i would love to have him/her for that matter…

  5. Tina says:

    I can not express home much this series means to me!! When I tell people I’m attempting a VBA2C and that my mid wife supports my decision for the birth experience reasons, they look at me like I’m crazy! When I then tell them ideally I’d like to do a HBAC they get enraged, like I have no right to it. I want to say “hello I’m a smart educated woman with way more medical experience then you, I’ve done my research, I know what I need”. But this series should be broadcast world wide to every pregnant woman, we all need to research and educate are self to be better mothers!

  6. sara says:

    I was very upset after my first childbirth experience for the interventions I had and I didn’t want. When I got home after a few days we started talking about postpsrtum depression with family, and someone told me “you have no reason to feel depressed, you have a beautiful healthy baby”that made me feel even guilty that I was feeling blue, ending up that I was really borderline with depression

  7. Michele Gunnellls says:

    Hey there! I’m 13 weeks pregnant and because I have a shunt in my brain I will have to have my baby C-section. Will I not be able to bond with my baby right away? What about breastfeeding? Will my milk be available when my baby needs it? I hate the thought of formula.

    • bringbirthhome says:

      @Michele – It will be harder to bond with your baby immediately because you’ll be separated while you recover. Your milk will not be available right away due to this. That said, women who have cesarean sections breastfeed. It might take a little more work, but you can do it! The great thing about us humans is, we’re resilient. We bounce back. Good luck to you!

    • Kristen says:

      Just a word of encouragement. I have a 6 week old baby that started as a homebirth and ended up as a csection. I had a beautiful birth, even though it didn’t look like how I planned. My midwife was amazing and the hospital we transferred to worked with us. My baby was in my husband’s arms within 5 minutes (after the NICU gave her a clean bill of health) and my arms within an hour of being born. As soon as I was sewn/cleaned up in the OR, they handed me my baby. As soon as I got back to recovery, I was able to sit up and nurse my newborn. My doula helped me latch her on and she nursed beautifully for 30+ minutes! I latched that babe on every time she rooted….once every hour to two hours until we were discharged and I was engorged at 72 hours postpartum. We’ve been nursing successfully for 6 weeks now and I’ve even had to deal with an oversupply issue. Yes, it was harder to bond at first and I had to be crazy about nursing for the first few days…but it was worth it and it turned out beautifully! Talk about your options with your MD and insist on the birth that you want…even if it has to include a csection. Some MD’s are even letting mom’s do skin to skin/breastfeed in the OR while they are being sewn up. You still have options. :) Good luck Mama, you will do great!

  8. Michelle says:

    “By learning the pros and cons of medical interventions, one can understand the effects management has on labor, and whether or not it is necessary”

    See, I was informed, I knew all the pros and cons, but that just isn’t enough. It is not fair to blame the victim in this way. In the most vulnerable time of my life I was not given a choice, procedures were carried out on me and I didn’t get a say. How can one self advocate when trying to give birth, why should we have to?

    • bringbirthhome says:

      @Michelle – I would never blame the victim, and hope you didn’t take what I wrote in that way. Things do not always go to “plan” no matter how informed you are! You shouldn’t *have* to self advocate while giving birth, but unfortunately in hospitals today, that is the case. If not you, then your partner, or better yet, a doula.

  9. I’m glad that this has been recognized and that I found your article. I had a horrific birth and after birth experience and am still traumatized now, two months after.

    Yesterday my midwife suggested that I see a psy and put me in touch with an association here in France that can help me.

    My dreadful experience was not down to poor planning, unfortunately it was due to poor medical care.

    I did try and blog about it as a way of releasing my feelings, whilst it helped in teh short term it didn’t really help much. Here’s what I wrote if you’re interested:


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