I had an unfortunate experience with my birth. I feel if I had been better prepared it may have been easier to deal with from a mental health point of view.
I sat with my midwife and filled in the tick sheet in my birth plan. I thought this was the process and didn’t think of asking any questions. I never discussed anything about the different types of pain relief or even how the process went once in labour. She just said ‘I’d tick them all’
I attended every antenatal class but we discussed how to take care of the baby once they were here, nothing prior. My advice to any new parent is to speak up and ask any question no matter how silly you think it is.
Be prepared, not scared.
If you are anxious and feeling low or generally not happy then please speak to your midwife, GP or health visitor and make sure they listen to how you are feeling. If you feel they haven’t answered your questions don’t be afraid to get a second opinion.
There should be more information given to mums preparing them for labour. More information for dads that are struggling to come to terms with being a new dad.
I wish I had been better prepared and had more in-depth discussions with my midwife or at my antenatal classes. If I had been given some literature to read, I wouldn’t have spent all my time on Google.
We all know Google can be a nightmare researching any situation. I think we should be given literature or visual aids, as we all learn things in different ways.
I agree that we don’t want to scare new mums, but giving certain information to better prepare them for birth I believe is a must. I felt like a rabbit in the headlights going to the hospital frantically asking my mum, what now? Medically things have come along way since she had me.
I wish my midwife had explained fully to me what was on offer regarding drugs rather than filling in a tick sheet for what drugs I wanted during labour and going by what I thought was ok.
Giving birth is not what it’s like in the movies. I felt like I was going to be in a delivery room with my midwife and husband having them cheer me on whilst I delivered my daughter.
I was not prepared for what happened. I know we can not be prepared for every eventuality, I appreciate that, but a better understanding is needed. A more realistic approach needs to be given. This may be time consuming for midwives and health professionals but something needs to be done.
We need change, good change.
Better education in antenatal classes regarding the understanding of drugs during labour. I think it’s great we are shown how to care for our baby after they have arrived but more education regarding birth is needed.
Things I wish I’d known;
- What is an epidural and what will happen if I have one?
- When should I have one and will it harm the baby?
- What other drugs are on offer and what do they involve?
- What is a 1st, 2nd and 3rd degree tear?
- What if my birth plan doesn’t go to plan?
- What if I am unable to give consent?
- What happens after my baby has arrived and my birth went well?
- What tests does the baby have before we leave the hospital?
- What if I cannot breastfeed?
- Who do I speak to if I feel like myself or my husband haven’t bonded with our baby?
- What happens to the baby if I have to stay in hospital?
Better education if complications arise, like a C-section, forceps, episiotomy and other interventions. A brief discussion on what they involve.
Birth plans need to be discussed in more depth. Mothers are scared to come forward through fear of being seen as a failure and being judged. Men because they feel they have to be strong and be supportive for their partner. They may be feeling worried or anxious about becoming a mother or father or even feeling nothing at all. It’s time for more empathy and understanding.
I appreciate the NHS is under pressure and some health care professionals are amazing but what can we do to make a difference by working together?
More support volunteers that make a guest visits to antenatal classes.? I’ve seen a few of these around the UK already. Parents can discuss any concerns regarding the above or more. Parents then have a choice to attend or not.
One to one chats after this discussion for parents that are embarrassed to come forward or an email or private chat group on a certain day or evening to discuss their concerns and have a group of volunteer health care professionals able to reply?
What are your views? What do you wish had been discussed with your birth plan?
My intention is not to offend anyone or blame. I want to bring this to light and hope for better change by working together.
There are some amazing charities and organisations out there willing to better prepare you for birth and the Birth and Baby academy are here to help you. They provide online antenatal classes and have a Facebook group and website that has lots of information regarding birth related topics. Please see the link to their website;
Here is a link to my personal blog and twitter.