Thursday, February 7, 2008

Can I Be Both?

I am reading a self help book about recovering from a traumatic birth.

I read Chapter 1 this morning before C woke up.

I used my highlighter like it was a school project or something.

I want to feel better. I want to incorporate the experience and the scar from the unplanned c-section and the sense that I somehow failed.

I wanted to welcome C into the world calmly, gently, and with ease. Why did that not happen?

People tell me that I should be happy that C is here, alive and well, and to nevermind the birth and how she got here.

Can I be both? Happy - ecstatic, even - that she is here, alive and well... AND sad that things didn't go as planned?

Because today I am both.

4 comments:

owl and pcat said...

Yes you can be both. 2 and a bit years later i am still both (and my birth story is a walk in the park compared to yours).

For a long time I imagined the type of birth I would get and I got the complete opposite. My memories of my daughter's birth are tainted by the fact i thought i was never going to be able to care for her, they were irrational and unfounded but in the moment when i should have been most happy i have never been more scared. It was the most isolating experience of my life. While I am overjoyed and grateful for my healthy and amazing daughter I have such sadness and despair and fear about the moments she took her first breaths.

It does fade though, but it is OK to be both. It is OK to not just be happy to get the beautiful healthy baby and to have some sadness as well. one doesn't cancel out the other.

Lo said...

I absolutely agree that you can be both. Not from experience (my wife gave birth to our son), but it sounds like the healthiest place to be. I know I feel that way about other events in my life.

bleu said...

I had a home birth planned with a birthing tub in my dining room. After 3 days of prodromal labor and my cervix still less than 1 and the fact that it is 42 weeks I was transferred. I allowed an epidural after 10 hours back labor and slept the night, they also broke my waters, still no dilation. After 4 days of labor I got a c-section. A lot happened that was awful and it messed me up for a long time.
Now every year on his birthday I tell Bliss the story, all of it, even the awful. I apologize to him for what happened and let him know how it wasn't what I wanted but he was everything I have ever wished for. It has helped the healing.
It is a grieving process like all others and should be honored. People who tell you how you should feel are not in tune with their own feelings and have no business saying such things. No one should try and invalidate anyone's feelings.

It does get easier, but it is always there.

Much love.

Jen said...

i can't imagine anyone navigating the first year of parenthood is 100% blissful so - hell yeah - you can totally feel both ways. my birth experience wasn't what i had hoped for either and there have been other things that haven't worked out or time i felt like i didn't use the right way, etc. i just try and hold on to the good stuff, acknowledge the other stuff and avoid getting my wheels stuck in the mud again.