SafeMotherhood
safe motherhood

IMMEDIATELY AFTER THE BIRTH

DEBRIEFING

After labour, some women are floating high with, pride, joy and love and remember these moments for years to come.

Other women feel sad that their pregnancy is over as it was a time when they felt nurtured and unique. It is natural to mourn the end of something special, even when you now have something better. Give yourself time. Talk through the birth with someone close, or write it down. The nostalgia for pregnancy will fade and you will move on.

Some women feel a sense of being let down if the birth was not as planned. Talking about these feelings to your family may be difficult. They may think that since you now have your baby, the circumstances of the birth don't matter. Your partner may feel that talking about your anger and unhappiness means you are blaming him. But you may actually be wondering if it's you at fault, since all the other mothers seem happy and grateful.

If you feel this way, act now. Your distress may fade, but it will probably won't go away until it has been faced. Tell your midwife how you feel. Ask her to read through your labour notes with you, and explain what happened. You are entitled to keep a copy of your notes.

You may feel sad for other reasons. Perhaps you gave birth far from home and family. Maybe the birth reawakened your grief for people who have died or gone away, babies you have had before or lost during pregnancy. Maybe you felt in pain and helpless during your labour and this has brought back deeply unhappy memories from your past.

If you cannot talk things through with somebody in hospital, try to confide in somebody once you are home - your community midwife, health visitor or antenatal teacher.

If you would feel better talking to someone who doesn't know you then phone Birth Crisis Network (020 7485 4725) or the Samaritans. Don't dismiss your feelings as unimportant.