Whether you opt for a C-section or decide to give birth to your baby the natural way, one primary concern is bound to go on in your mind- ‘will my baby be born healthy?’
While you should place considerable importance on that one aspect of your delivery, that shouldn’t be the only concern. There’s a lot to think about when planning for the delivery of your baby – the OB-GYN you’re most comfortable with, the hospital you want to give birth in, the method of delivery you wish to prepare yourself for and more.
But even after all this planning, your D-day may turn out to be entirely different from what you had planned. Complications can arise, you may be forced to go through a C-section when you had planned for a vaginal delivery, or the treatment you receive at the hospital may not be up to the mark.
It is factors like these that can turn one of the most beautiful days of your life into such a nightmare that you wish you never have to go through them ever again in your entire life. The stress of not having your delivery the way you wanted it to go can be enough to scar and possibly traumatize you. And the only comfort you get for all the pain you had to go through is the well-meaning albeit not all enough words – ‘at least your baby was born healthy.’
Conventionally, women are simply expected to be grateful in the face of sudden complications that their baby turned out just fine, and nobody seems to care about how the mother feels at having gone through a difficult delivery. She is simply expected to be happy and shake her feelings off as if they don’t count as long as the baby is fine. The sad truth is that both the staff of the hospital and the members of the mother’s family do not shy away from trivializing the trauma a woman has to go through during delivery.
This disturbing trend has led to the rise of post-natal depression among women. PATTCH, or Prevention and Treatment of Traumatic Childbirth – an organization devoted to helping women who go through challenging deliveries, reports that nearly 25-34% of women report that their baby’s delivery was a traumatic experience for them . And that too when the hospital staff and the family of the mother concerned do not view it as a traumatizing event.
The problem here lies in the fact that most people do not truly understand what birth trauma entails. It is not just restricted to problematic deliveries but also encompasses other factors such as:
- Physical injury
- Possibility of death of the mother or the baby
- Extreme fear
- The feeling of being alone and helpless and even disrespected
This lack of understanding breeds the feeling of immense guilt in women as they end up believing that they are wrong to feel the way they do – because their baby is fine. Many young women report feeling absolutely lost and helpless, and Nisha* is one such woman.
Nisha had to go through a C-section due to a last-minute complication when she had been preparing for vaginal delivery. Her baby was born fine, but nobody seemed to understand the trauma she was going through.
“I didn’t even know post natal depression was a thing till I was forced to give birth via a C-sec. Nobody was willing to listen to what I was going through. Everyone just brushed it aside.”
Sadly, Nisha is not alone, and countless other women like her suffer from postnatal depression and even feel suicidal as a result.
As a society, we need to change our attitudes and drill the fact into our minds that how the baby is born matters just as much as their health. We need to come up with a support system for new mothers and help them recover from trauma so that they can live guilt-free. That’s the least these wonderful life-givers deserve.
*Name changed to respect privacy