Preparing for Birth After a Traumatic Labour

Photo credit: Vladimir Pustovit

If you’ve had a difficult first labour or hard first few months with a newborn you will understand what I mean when I say the thought of another baby can be slightly traumatic. So how do you prepare yourself to do it again and avoid getting into a place of fear surrounding the next birth?

I wrote this post months ago whilst pregnant with my second baby but never got round to sharing it. After being in a position of fear in the months following my son’s birth I can honestly say I felt nothing but joyful anticipation in my second pregnancy. The things I’ve shared below took me from fear to freedom and even after a hard first labour and early experience with my son, nothing was robbed from me this time round. I hope this helps you to! xx

My first experience of labour was hard. Nothing went to plan, my boy’s heart rate dropped throughout labour causing worry with the midwives and then afterwards I was so sick and faint I could barely hold him. Problems continued at home over the next couple of days and then on day three we were rushed back into hospital in an ambulance. Feeding was incredibly difficult and my little man struggled to sleep, day or night. Not exactly the joyful start us mums expect when we have a baby!

I know there are countless stories worse than this but whatever your experience, when things happen out of our control or weren’t what we hoped for we can be left feeling disappointed, upset or even slightly traumatised.

For me I had always wanted another baby to arrive while my son was two. But honestly, having gone through such a hard time I couldn’t face it. I took a long time to process what I’d gone through and feel even remotely ready to face it again.

So how do you prepare? How do you get yourself from a position of fear to one of faith so that the pregnancy can be full of joyful anticipation instead of fear of the unknown?

Write down what you want

I started by writing down every little detail that was important to me. Taking lessons from the first birth and writing exactly how I wanted it to be different.

Pray through the list

I would pray over every detail I’d written. From the type of birth I wanted, to what I wanted it to look like afterwards.  For my first labour I hadn’t prayed consistently over many specifics as I didn’t know what to expect. In the main all I had prayed frequently for was safety for my boy and me, and that I wouldn’t need a C-section. It is no surprise to me that these are the things that occurred. I’ve learnt from this and second time round I’m praying through every detail that’s important. Prayer changes things so to a certain extent we get what we ask for.

Process the emotions

I talked to a few people close to me many times about things that had been hard. This was important for me to get past some of the negative emotions associated with various uncontrollable aspects of the birth.

Allow God to heal you

God loves you. If there’s fear, it’s definitely not something He wants for you. Be honest with God about your emotions and allow Him to comfort you. After praying through my first labour there were quite a few promises I felt God gave me for my second. This was important. When those fears came I could instantly recall these promises and fill my mind with faith instead of fear.

Don’t think you’re alone

Lots of women have gone through hard labours and found it difficult to face another.

Don’t do it alone

Sometimes the worst thing we can do is keep all these fears or concerns hidden inside. Talk to friends and process what you’ve gone through.

Give it time

They say time’s a healer and it really is. If you have just recently gone through a hard birth or experience, time will help. The memories and emotions associated will change over time.

Sometimes our first experiences of labour or motherhood can be very hard. This doesn’t have to be the case next time round. Prepare yourself for your next birth and I believe everything can be different!

Three years ago the thought of going through another labour and the months after scared me, now it doesn’t at all. I look forward to it with only excitement and anticipation. If you feel the same, don’t worry,  you’ll come through those hard times and you’ll learn so much from them.

The last few years have contained moments that have felt really hard and yet I wouldn’t change them. It’s in those hard times that we have the potential to know more of God, to experience Him in a greater way and what God has done in me, the ways in which He’s changed me, I wouldn’t swap. Our trials become our testimony and whatever you’re going through now will become part of yours.

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