New Beginnings Doula Training

New Beginnings Doula Training
Courses for doulas and online childbirth education

Monday, June 27, 2011

What do women grief for after birth?

I just wanted to add a quick idea of what people grieve for after a birth before we talk about the actual stages of grief.  When women first are pregnant, a plan or idea of how they expect the birth to go begins to develop.  If things don't go as expected, or if a woman feels like her control has been taken away, there is often some degree of loss.  This can happen even though the birth looked fairly "normal" from the outside. 

Things that woman may grief for:  loss of their own sense of control, the experience wasn't what they expected, wishing that they had done something different, wishing they had handled the pain differently, more interventions than they had originally intended, less interventions than they had originally intended, the feeling that they could have done something different to make it better, the feeling that the medical professionals should have done something different.  The list could go on and on.

My point in mentioning this is to show that women can grief for so many things, and that it is OK.  When something does not go as planned, or we have some control stripped from us, it is natural to grief what we have lost.

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Birth is a Journey: Does it have to be life changing?

  • One woman might have to climb on an overfilled boat, risking her life and nearly dying as she escapes over the ocean to come to this land. This experience could certainly be life altering. It may very well color the rest of her life, positively or negatively. (I overcame this amazing struggle and here I am triumphant! OR Holy crap, that was SO hard I don’t know if I can go on! By the way, neither response is “right”. No one would judge the woman with the 2nd response.)
  • One woman may buy an airplane ticket, sit on a comfortable 747 and fly to America with a nice smooth flight and landing. She is happy to be in America. Those welcoming her are glad she is here safe and sound. She may only travel by plane 2-4 times in her life, so it is pretty memorable. But the journey itself probably wouldn’t be life changing; it would simply be a journey.
  • One woman may learn to fly an ultra-light plane to lead a flock of geese into America teaching them to migrate. This experience could certainly be empowering and life altering.