Loss of Your Baby
There are no words that can adequately describe how a mother feels when she has gone through a pregnancy and has no baby to hold in her arms. The loss of a pregnancy and the loss of a baby both bring on so many emotions that are not simply hormonal in nature and therefore, the grieving process is multi-layered from physical recovery to emotionally processing your loss. It takes time and most women say they never truly forget even when the first, sharpest pain fades. Many things can cause flashbacks so please be easy with yourself as you struggle through this.
These are few resources that deal with recovery after a cesarean when you do not have your baby to care for. These pages are a safe zone that do not mention caring for the baby.
Loss of Your Uterus
Years ago, long before the internet was the place where people found all their information, a young woman on the AOL Pregnancy chats was discussing her upcoming birth. At age 21, she was full of thoughts of this being the beginning of her family, her life, and she wanted at least 2-3 children. Several weeks later, after a traumatic birth and an emergency hysterectomy, she was left with a newborn and a shattered dream.
How does one begin to recover from that? In her case, it wasn’t a matter of at least you have a healthy baby, it was the sudden realization that this was the only child she would ever have. Are things like surrogates and adoption possible? Of course. But at 21 years old, you aren’t thinking of possible options as you go into early menopause. She was locked into the tragedy of her situation, coping as best she could.
You aren’t wrong for feeling lost if you have lost your uterus. You may feel robbed, unwomanly, you may be trying to find yourself, as well as figuring out how you feel sexually and who you are as a mother. There is so much to go into and through, there really isn’t any one good place to start.
One community for discussing early or unwanted hysterectomy is A little wish, founded by mothers who had hysterectomies after a traumatic birth or cesarean. As we find more resources, we will post them. You can also choose to share your story and feelings with us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Loss of Your Birth
Trauma occurs when we expect one outcome and wind up with a vastly different one. For some, dealing with this trauma is not a long-term experience. They process their thoughts and feelings easily and move on. This can make them even less understanding of mothers who are more caught up in their grieving process. It’s important to realize that we are all different and therefore, we each have our own way of dealing with the changed scenario of birth.
Many often just don’t think that birth matters enough to consider that a change in plans may actually result in feelings of loss. It’s simply not a “get over it” type of event, either. Birth is part of how women define themselves. We describe women with “baby birthing hips” or “her body was made to give birth” or “she had that baby in four hours, she was made to do this” or “my labor was so easy.” These terms leave those who have long labors, difficult births or hard outcomes questioning what they could have done differently. Did they just get a bad hand at life’s playing cards or are they truly broken? Was it something they did or didn’t do? Was their diet bad? Their genetics? Were they too focused on how the birth should turn out, too controlling or not involved enough? Did they give too much power and too many choices away to someone else? Were they listening to the wrong advice? By the time you are done asking all of these questions of yourself and dealing with the aftermath of whatever went wrong, there is also physical recovery to deal with as well. Some mothers who plan homebirths that wind up in a transfer have to come home to a house that is still fully set-up for birth. Some are in surgical recovery, unable to really walk yet and dealing with toddlers on top of the emotional and mental processing.