Did you plan to have natural childbirth and instead had to have an emergency C-section? Did you want to have an elective C-section and be refused? Did your birth plan state you absolutely would not use painkilling medications and you found yourself with an epidural in the delivery room?
"Perinatal psychologists have researched the long-term effects of the birth process on women and their families and conclude that giving birth is a momentous event which can impact all involved psychologically and spiritually for an entire lifetime," says Shelly Girard, a licensed midwife and certified professional midwife.
Marilyn Sander, mother to Bianca, 12, and Cullen, 6, prepared for natural childbirth but her baby had other ideas. At three weeks past her due date Marilyn went for a checkup and it was decided that she would be induced as her baby was showing signs of distress. After four hours of labor she was only four centimeters dilated and her baby's heartbeat was erratic—the baby's neck was also caught behind her pelvis. She was told she would need an emergency C-section and given a consent form to sign. Bianca was born 45 minutes later. With Cullen she decided to have an epidural C-section but again her plans went awry—the anesthetist could not find the right vertebra and after five attempts it was deemed necessary that she undergo her second emergency C-section.
"Mothers who attempt natural childbirth and fail to achieve their desired goal due to life threatening emergency or medical complications often feel extremely angry, frustrated or depressed," says Girard. "Pushing a baby out of her body with her own efforts can be one of the most exhilarating and joyful accomplishments of a woman's life. And yet, indisputably the most important outcome is a healthy infant and mother, and not where or how birth takes place."