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Birth Experiences Matter

“My birth experience was the polar opposite of what I hoped and planned for. I felt completely out of control and robbed of the loving, natural birth I wanted for myself and my baby.” ~ Mary, 31

Pregnancy, labour and birth experiences are different for each individual and couple. Considerable anxieties may accompany the pregnancy, particularly where there are health concerns, a threatened miscarriage or threatened early labour are present. Complications occur for some during labour leading to emergency medical intervention, or labour and birth may come too early resulting in a premature birth. Often these experiences are at odds with the mother’s fantasies and expectations about how she imagined her labour and birth. This conflict between expectations and reality can lead to feelings of disappointment, guilt and failure. Additional adjustment is needed when these situations have occurred.

We hear many stories from women who report a poor birth experience. Many say they feel traumatised by the experience, while others talk of feeling out of control and uninformed about the process and medical intervention. The word “failure” comes up a lot.

Some women find that their birth experience leaves them with unresolved feelings that may get in the way of their emerging relationship with their baby or their adjustment to motherhood. Or that greeting their baby for the first time on the outside didn’t produce the love-struck feelings they expected.

“When my baby was born I thought I would feel that surge of love hormones that women talk about…but I didn’t. I didn’t really feel anything towards my baby; I was indifferent. I cared for her, but she could have been anybody’s baby. I kept waiting for her real Mum to turn up and collect her.” ~ Emily, 28

Others find themselves feeling increasingly anxious about their next pregnancy and birth, wondering whether they can face another similar experience.

Dads are impacted too. Men can feel traumatised after a birth, struggling to process what they have witnessed. Men can also fear a subsequent pregnancy and birth.

Some mothers sustain injury and did not expect their physical recovery from birth to take so long or be complicated.

Common reasons for seeking help with us around birthing, for Mums and Dads:

  • Traumatic birth experience

  • Feeling a failure

  • Undesired birth experience, birthing option not as you hoped for

  • The impact of a poor physical recovery

  • Fear of another pregnancy and birth

Birth Counselling provides help for a difficult, out-of-control, disappointing, not-as-planned or traumatic birth – birth experiences matter and we can help you heal…

This post originally appeared on and it has been published here with permission.


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