I was inspired to write this after reading a tweet about couples having sex shortly before or after giving birth (see screenshot). Sex was the last thing on my mind when I gave birth!!
I’m writing this for all the women out there who did not have the nice rose tinted birth that we all wished for. To put things into context, I have three children and two different dads. My son was born when I was 20 and I had been on my own since I was 8 weeks pregnant.
I won’t bore you with the gruesome details of that birth but let’s just say it wasn’t pleasant and resulted in me needing a blood transfusion and my son needing UV (jaundice). Whilst my son’s dad was a waste of space, he was never abusive. Having said that, I didn’t want him at the birth as I had been through the pregnancy alone.
Before, during and after the birth he managed to gain access to me by saying that he was my partner! This caused me great distress and I asked the staff to not allow him in. The note on the phone got thrown away and so he walked back onto the ward using the ‘I’m her partner’ line (staff member responsible for this gave me a very teary apology). I can’t remember exactly what I said to him but I do know that I screamed at him to leave.
When I met my ex husband I was so excited to find out that I was pregnant, we’d been together only 7 months. I always wanted to have more than one child and it pained me to see all my friends having their second or third child. When it came to giving birth, it was so much better than my first. I can honestly say that I thought I had won the lottery ….
Things went downhill when it came to kicking out time. My ex didn’t want to go and I was already quite reliant on him so was terrified at the thought of coping alone. He had a massive argument with one of the midwives as he refused to go home. This resulted in me crying, I couldn’t stand to see him being so horrible to these women. The midwife decided that he could stay but it left me feeling distraught and isolated.
When I found out I was pregnant with my third child, I immediately worried about the birth. The whole pregnancy was spent with my ex going on and on about me coming straight home and me fretting about his behaviour. The domestic abuse had really taken a hold by then although I was very much in denial.
My third child was born and the midwife said I could go home after a couple of hours of recovery. My ex was over the moon, I was relived even though I wanted to stay the night….. Then I had a massive bleed….. Nothing serious or life threatening but enough for them to tell me they wanted to admit me and the baby. This sent my ex over the edge.
Once in a room on the ward, he seemed agitated and stressed. This made me feel very unsettled. I was in such a mess that it took me quite a while to phone my family about the birth. It was almost like the birth never happened, my priority was to keep my ex happy and calm. On a trip to the toilet I lost more blood and became tachycardic (spelling ?!?!). I was put straight onto IV fluids and told to rest. Well…..
My ex descended into a rage as now I needed to stay the night. He punched and head butted the walls and then he left me stranded. Little did I know that he went to the pub… I can’t describe how upset I was, how much emotional pain I felt. The midwife came to do my obs and I begged her to be allowed home .
I told her how upset he was and I cried so much I thought I might never stop. The doctor came and said I should stay in so I had to discharge myself. Lo and behold, this made my ex very happy.
I wonder how many other women have silently suffered like I did? Who can’t tell the truth about the birth because they want everyone to think it was wonderful and amazing. How they feel robbed of beautiful memories. How this most precious of moments becomes another story of him???
The birth of my third child should have been about me and the baby. We both got utterly forgotten, it still upsets me now. I feel such sorrow when I think of my parents and my children turning up at the hospital, all excited to see the new baby, only to find we had gone home (ex didn’t think to let them so I had to apologise to them). Sorrow isn’t a strong enough word, heartbroken is.
So stupid articles about how women are giving their partners blow jobs, as a thank you for being at the birth, irritate the hell out of me. Giving birth should be a sacred experience. Putting aside the man in the equation, for me it felt like I had connected to all my ancestors who had been through labour before me.
It was almost primitive. Those are the feelings that I should carry with me, not those of my vain efforts to placate an abusive man.
What I’m trying to say, in a not very succinct way (!), is that giving birth should be about the woman and her baby, the man is a footnote (awaits backlash for that comment). Stop trying to accommodate the man and his needs in the delivery room – refocus on the woman.