When you’ve experienced a traumatic birth, how do you go through with a second pregnancy? I wrote about my experience here of experiencing a traumatic birth, and what I did to start healing. When I became pregnant with my second, this is what I did to support myself, and how this journey actually brought me further healing.
Preparing After Trauma
Knowing that I needed support, the first thing I did was ask for it. I reached out to a group of friends, I let them know I was scared in this process and specifically asked them for encouragement throughout the pregnancy. I created a text group, and I kept them updated. When triggering things happened (such as discussing difficult things with doctors or stress tests) I reached out. And when I went into labor, I had my husband text them.
The other thing I did was to prepare for what I could control. I researched my care team and was committed to switching if I didn’t feel comfortable. At the practice, I saw as many different providers as possible and consulted with a high-risk doctor. And I laid out in my birth plan that I’d experienced a past traumatic birth and everything that had happened.
When the time came to go to the hospital, I was triggered. I felt like throwing up, which reminded me of my first labor. The hospital staff met me where I was at with such empathy and sincere care. They administered medication to stop the nausea. The staff assured me it was unlikely I’d experience the same complications, but they were prepared regardless.
Ultimately, I decided on an epidural, and it was the right choice for me to maintain calm during labor. My daughter was born about 10 hours after arriving at the hospital and after 30 minutes of pushing. We were blessed with no complications, and I was able to hold her on my chest and enjoy that moment—something I was unable to do with my first.
This second birth was so different, and in going through an “uncomplicated” birth, it gave even more perspective as to how traumatic the first birth was, and how much I had missed out on and endured. And with that also came more pride. I again saw that first-time mom and was so proud.
I’m glad we decided to have a second baby. I don’t take for granted the gift it is that we were both healthy. I cried a lot in the the days following my daughter’s birth—just tears of joy and happiness. This second birth healed me in ways that I was hoping for. The experience also changed my perspective of my first delivery in ways I couldn’t have anticipated.
Here’s to all the mothers out there that have endured a traumatic birth. Healing is a lifelong journey and can look so different. It might mean having another, it might not. Along the way, I hope you find thankfulness, and you continue to see just how strong and powerful you are.