It left a few 'footprints'


Being given some effective local anaesthetic when my vaginal tear was stitched would have #madebirthbetter - that was with my first...11 years ago. I was made to feel stupid for expecting to be pain free for such a procedure. Being believed that you are actually in labour and progressing would #makebirthbetter - with my second baby, 9 years ago I felt ignored and alone, labouring on the antenatal ward, without pain relief, as I 'couldn't possibly be than far along, that quickly' following an induction. Allowing more women to try and birth at home would #makebirthbetter - with my third, I managed my one and only home birth because a wonderful community midwife supported me in my choice to try, even though the odds were stacked against me. I don't really know what would have helped make my fourth birth, almost 2 years ago better. I do know I thought I was going to die, such was the intensity of the contractions and the pain. I remember trying to communicate it to my husband, but failing and just thinking, I'm going to die and then this will end and the pain will go. I feel kind of stupid about it now. Especially when I hear genuinely traumatic stories. I also suffered with severe pregnancy nausea and vomiting/mild hyperemesis gravidarium - birth would most definitely be made better if this condition could be eliminated! It made pregnancy unimaginably hard and lonely...and has, to be honest, left quite a few 'footprints' in my life & relationships.

Better understanding of the isolation experienced by women with these conditions and better care would also #makebirthbetter. I'm not sure any of this is what you were after, but it's part of my experience of birth.

I think women need time. After my first birth, whilst it was traumatic at the time being stitched, it was such a relief to have a baby after my awful pregnancy and then they are so all consuming, it wasn't until about 6 months later that I realised I wasn't actually happy with the care I had. I never made a complaint, because, well, who's got the time to sit and process something like that with a newborn who screams all night and makes your nipples nearly drop off! I think a lot of birth trauma, difficulties etc probably go unreported for this reason

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