Two and a half years after my son’s premature birth I found myself pregnant again. Having suffered postnatal depression and post traumatic shock after my first birthing experience I was nervous that it would affect my second, especially since I knew the impact that fear can have on labour and birth. I was also worried about having another early delivery. I heard about the Tell Me a Good Birth Story group through my local attachment parenting group, and thought it might be the thing for me.
The group is held in a neutral venue with tea and cake, and lots of toys to distract older children, who are very much welcome. It’s nice to feel able to respond to your child when in a group of adults. A range of people attend the group – although usually all women. There have been pregnant women expecting their first or subsequent children; mothers with children of all ages prepared to discuss their birthing stories; doulas; and even midwives in a non-official capacity. The group leader goes out of her way to bring helpful speakers to the group, and often finds a mother to share a story with particular relevance for an expectant mother, such as a C-section or induction. The discussion is very open and frank, but polite. There are no questions that cannot be asked, and although obviously nobody is required to answer them, there is usually somebody present who can, or who can point you in the right direction. The group provides a safe space for women to talk about their thoughts and concerns about birth with other women who can relate to those concerns and share their relevant experiences.
It was great to go along and listen to other women telling their birth stories. I found myself admitting to feelings that I had hidden since my son’s birth, and mothers came forward to support me with similar experiences and understanding. The group helped me to feel better about my first birth, and supported me to go to a “birth debriefing” to put some things to rest. The experience hadn’t changed, obviously, but the way I felt about it did. I am finally able to think of it as a good birth story. I relaxed about my second birth, and made plans that I could adapt to a premature or term birth. I was given helpful book recommendations, since that is the way I prefer to engage with new topics. I made plans to give birth at home, provided everything was going well, and it was great to hear stories of both successful homebirths, and those that became hospital births. The group even helped me to prepare my son for a possible home birth!
In the end my second son was born blissfully at home, and I have two positive birth stories of my own to tell. I was really lucky to have found this group, and I hope lots of other families are too!
E S-A – TMAGBS/PBM attendee