Need opinions on sharing birth stories

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Spacers's picture
Joined: 12/29/03
Posts: 4087
Need opinions on sharing birth stories

I have two co-workers who are pregnant, both due in late October/early November. Last week, I offered one of them (expecting a girl) my breast pump, and the other (expecting a boy) a bunch of baby boy clothes. Today, one of them came to me and started talking about birth plans. She's planning a natural hospital birth, and has hired a doula. She asked about my experience, since she's heard that I gave birth at the same hospital that she's using. I said, as politely as I could, that I don't share my birth stories with pregnant mamas. Those of you who followed my birth lodge with Weston know the story of Tiven's birth (planned homebirth, emergency c-section following a cord compression, very traumatic) and the story of Weston's birth (another planned homebirth, another c-section, which was a good experience even though it took three days) and I think with my history, this is a good policy even though I'm a total natural birth nut and love to hear birth stories even when they bring me to tears. My co-worker is apparently telling others that I'm "stuck up" or something like about as immature as that, simply because I won't tell her what happened to me when I gave birth at "our" hospital. :rolleyes:

My issue isn't really with the hospital. I think this is probably one of the better hospitals in the area to give birth, even with it's faults. My "issue" is trying to spare an emotional first-time mom the "issues" surrounding both of my births, neither of which was anything near the norm. I've told plenty of other pregnant mamas, in real life and online, that I don't share my birth stories, and no one in six years has ever had trouble with it until now. And most BTDT women who have heard one or both of my stories appreciate me not sharing it with pregnant mamas.

The one thing I hated most about being pregnant was people telling me horror stories. I had to fight hard to maintain my bubble of peace. I don't want to be one of "those people" making birth seem like a horrible experience, even though I *did* have a horrible experience. And a few horrible hours in my second experience, LOL! So what do I do? Sit her down & tell her the honest truth & scare the living blazes out of her? Gloss over the details, and say birth is never what you expect? (Any suggestions on how to transform, "My baby's heart stopped but they got her out in 16 minutes," into something warm & fuzzy & preggo-positive are welcome.) Tell her that it all worked out, and I'll share the details when she returns from maternity leave? (That's my #1 option, at the moment.) It seems like it might be a long six weeks before she goes on out leave....

Joined: 08/22/06
Posts: 621

That's tough. I enjoy hearing ALL birth stories because I can learn from them. But, of course, I've educated myself way more than the average woman. I think it also comes in the "delivery" (pardon the pun!) of the story. If you tell it without making it sound like it was the worst thing and that's how all births end up and explain that it *isn't* the norm in most cases, then I don't think you are spreading horrible birth stories.

I got sooo many horrible stories last pregnancy but most were unsolicited and no one was educated in birth. But again, I learned from those horrible experiences and because I didn't want that to happen, I learned what I could control if I had been in those situations.

Good luck in your decision!

Marite13's picture
Joined: 08/07/09
Posts: 3368

I totally get what you're saying...you don't want to contribute to the "birth is dangerous" mentality...but if she doesn't know why you're not sharing, she going to make up her own reason (like that you're stuck up). I would agree with pp that maybe you can choose to tell her your story without doing it dramatically, and finish like, "but what happened to me is not normal/usual!" Or could you say something like, "My births were unusually traumatic, so I don't like to freak out pregnant moms that will probably have normal births- but just so you know, the hospital handled everything really well." You could even add in an "I'll tell you all about it, after you deliver!" Good luck!

Joined: 01/18/06
Posts: 1626

Geez, it's your story. A very personal story. I think it's pretty rude to label you a snob just because you are hesitant to share such a personal experience with a coworker.

If it were me (and I'd feel the same about sharing a scary birth story to ftm's) I'd be blunt and say it was an emotional day due to circumstances beyond your control and sharing the story isn't something you just do at the office water cooler.

Joined: 03/16/15
Posts: 53852

What I'm hearing from the way you phrased her questions is that she really wants to know how the hospital is. You could tell her that without sharing painful details of your births.

I see a little of everyone's POV here...it's a personal story!! But, if you don't share something with her then she is going to make up her own reasons why. You are very pronatural birth and I have no doubt that you can encourage her with your own experiences without drawing on the painful parts.

I also think there is a different between sharing unsolicited horror stories and sharing with someone who is seriously inquiring. KWIM?

TiggersMommy's picture
Joined: 02/14/10
Posts: 6043

I agree with points everyone's made so far. Perhaps she's looking for reassurance that she'll be well cared for at "your" hospital in the event of an emergency. I hate the unsolicited horror stories and I wish more women would keep them to themselves as you've chosen to do. FTMs know that c/s's happen. Simply stating that that's how it ended up shouldn't traumatize her. It's the details that linger. If she really wants to hear the details, tell her after she's given birth to keep from putting a wedge between the two of you.

Spacers's picture
Joined: 12/29/03
Posts: 4087

Thanks for your input, everyone! It never occured to me that she might have been asking more about the hospital than about what I experienced at the hospital. Perhaps she just didn't choose the right words to mean what she really wanted to say. She'd been talking about how her doula sends her all kinds of birth stories to read & her doula asked if she knew anyone who had delivered at this hospital, so maybe I was inferring "birth story" when she said "your experience." But if she *was* looking for a birth story, enough to come & ask, then I suppose she is (or should be) open to hearing whatever I have to say. I think I'll go talk with her, and see if I misinterpreted her question, or if I can share enough of my stories to make her happy but not uncomfortable. Thanks again!

LMCH's picture
Joined: 02/05/07
Posts: 2031

sorry, didn't have time to read all the responses above, but you could always give your positive opinion of the hospital in general (as Emily mentioned)... and then perhaps tell her something to the effect that during your births, there were circumstances beyond your control that lead to c/s. :shrug:

Amber_daisy's picture
Joined: 10/17/06
Posts: 567

I agree with the others. I also think that hearing birth stories where everything didn't go as planned, but interventions were used APPROPRIATELY is important. Sometimes it's hard for pregnant women planning natural births to think about the possibility of things NOT going to plan and having to use interventions. They're there for a reason. It's their inappropriate use that's the problem.

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