Painful birth story in scrapbook, apprpriate?


#1

I’m working on a scrapbook for my DS. Its coming along nicely. I’ve been very careful to leave out sensitive details like breastfeeding, certain newborn pictures with all his ‘stuff’ hanging out, etc.

I’ve decided to make a SEPARATE scrapbook, probably entitled something like ‘Mommy’s Private Album’, where I WILL put all of that very personal stuff. Included in that album I want to put the birth story that describes briefly the pain I went through and the amount of hours I labored.

I actually had my parents’ proofread it for me and my Mom felt that there was nothing wrong with it. My Dad worried that my DS may someday feel quilt over the pain I went through and that that part should be deleted. He backed up his statement with the following and I quote “All women have a painful birthing process.”

Now I have to state that I no longer have a clear head about whether to keep or delete this from my album since my Dad has always been a ‘closet misogynist.’ I say closet because it is not obvious. You have to know him. His relationship with his Mom was strained and unfortunately he has passed it down to his relationship with me. I even told him that I know of women who had an easy birthing process but that did not change his opinion.

I don’t want my DS to have quilt over it. A part of me wants to remember all the details of the birth, not to hold it over DS’ head but I guess because it was such an unique experience. Especially since DS was a late in life child and I probably will not have another, so I want to cherish the story.

Please give my your opinion especially those of you who have grown children or those who have teenage children.


#2

What is your intent in recording the information about the birth pain? Do you intend to show it to your son at some point?


#3

My mother went through a difficult labor. As I teenager I didn’t think of it much, but now, when I’m older, it only makes me appreciate her even more. :slight_smile:


#4

Yes I should have added earlier that I do hope to share this private album with DS someday, maybe only once if at all, so to not cause any negative emotion or upset.


#5

Ok…this will really depend on your child. Some will take it well, others won’t. My BIL was born in 1966, labour for my MIL was difficult and long, and somehow during the birth she started to bleed A LOT…she almost died, was in hospital for about a month afterwards. In his early 20s she told him the story of his birth, he took it pretty okay but prefers her not to ‘go on about it’. In 1971 my dh was born, again things went horribly wrong. She told my dh about it when he was around 20…He’s still feeling guilty, very guilty for even being in this world. In his darkest moments, he really feels he ruined her life…(After BIL she was toldf never to give birth again, and dh was nearly aborted, but that’s another story)

So…similar gory birth, two different reactions!

I nearly died, and my daughter as well during a very difficult birth in 2003. She only started breathing after around 5 minutes and was starved of oxygen. I needed several blood-transfusions and 2 operations, it took me 8 months to recover completely. She is doing remarkably well, and I’m fine too. I don’t intend to EVER give her the full details of her birth, although I’ll most likely one day tell her the ‘edited version’ …4 1/2 years on, my memories of all this are starting to fade and it’s as if my own mind is ‘editing’ out the really bad parts. I’m quite happy with that, and finally I’m starting to create a bond with my daughter, finally we’re really close and I can enjoy her without the ‘memory-cloud’ descending…To me that’s a GOOD thing.

So, ask yourself: why would you even want to hold on to how ‘awful’ it was? Why not let your mind do its job, and over the years it’ll be the happy moments, the good things that remain.

I think, for your son that would be much nicer too!

Anna x


#6

I agree. Whenever I read or hear birth stories, I feel as if women telling them were just unburdening their minds of a horrible memory, but it doesn’t really occur to them how it may affect their audience. You can never-ever predict that effect.
Think about this: your son would not know how to handle your memories of birth pain! It is your personal, private memory. Would he know how to react to it? Wouldn’t he rather be bewildered, guilty, upset, embarrassed?

And do not forget: he, as a newborn, had experienced pain and stress too when he was being born. Only, he cannot remember it now so he cannot put it in a scrapbook!

My mother was always unwilling to talk about birth and pain and whatever to me or my sister, but she said when I asked him if birth was painful that it is very painful, but it is something mother and child are “doing together” - the baby shares the pain!! Now, as a woman, I can understand that. I’m not sure I could understand if I was a man. Probably not. Partly because they cannot imagine what it is like to have a baby inside you, to feel him come out, to sympathise with his suffering (babies suffer during the birth, too!) Again, how could he handle such a memory, a memory he has a share in, but he cannot take his share simply because he does not remember!!

My father is not a closet-mysogynist, but he said things like “a woman’s body is designed for that” etc . Basically the same thing your father said. This is their perspective: birth pain should be accepted as part of the whole thing. It is hard, but it is not the most important part of the birth.

And it is something that strengthens the mother, it reinforces her in her role, but it does not make the child feel more like a child of his mother!


#7

Well here’s my thoughts…

Have you considered the possibility that you may be trying to overcome your father’s misogynist tendencies by proving your strength as a woman to your own son?
Subconsciously, could you be trying to teach him a lesson? So that he appreciates women differently than your dad does?
:confused:

In my opinion… I wouldn’t necessarily want to share those details with my son. I don’t know if any good can be gained from that information.
There are plenty of ways to instill a respect and a love for women without leaning on guilt.


#8

Another thing:

You do not need to tell your son that you had pain when he was born. HE KNOWS.

Your father also knows birth is painful. So does mine. Don’t you think it is just one way for men to cope with this, and the guilt they feel about it, to say that “pain is natural”? They know they will never ever be able to “pay it back” the way women do, for women undergo the same pain their mothers had when they were born, but men just cannot do that! What good is it to any man to be told that he has a debt he can never repay? He knows already. When a man is a “closet-misogynist”, perhaps he is just trying to handle this knowledge and his own feelings about it in an inapproprate way because he has never been taught by a good father how to show his gratitude and get rid of his guilt in a healthy way.

I think this unhealthy guilt is one reason why some men refuse to be present when their wives are giving birth. They cannot handle the feeling, it is a worse burden on them than birth pain itself.


#9

I would simply not make a scrapbook entitled “Mommy’s Private Pain Memories” or anything along those lines. You don’t need to remember the gory details and your son doesn’t need to know either. If you were hospitalized for a time after his birth that will come up, that will naturally come up and you can share more details as he gets older and HE is interested (I’m going to assume that a boy won’t be as interested as a girl).

I would put breastfeeding pictures in a regular album–discreet pictures. And even one or two of him naked as a baby. Baby in the bathtub type pictures are always cute.


#10

is that really the memory you want to dwell on in future years, and the important thing you want to stress for your child and others who will see the album in the future?


#11

I cannot add a word to this - just yup, what Sally said!


#12

I think you should do whatever makes you feel healed from the experience. I don’t think you need to make the decision right now as to how much you’ll share in the future with your child. Much will depend on his age and interest–if he becomes an OBGYN someday, he’ll probably be more then interested to know all the details of your birth experience. :slight_smile: But, as time goes on, and you heal more from the ordeal, it may seem less necessary to aprise him of the difficulties you faced.

My mother almost died giving birth to me, and both my baby and I almost died during our emergency c-section as well. My mom and I both delivered in the same OR, interestingly enough–26 years apart. I’ve heard the story of my delivery and unlike others, I’ve never felt guilt or trauma from knowing the difficulties my mother faced. I came to a much deeper understanding after my own harrowing experience. If you had a painful birth experience, I firmly believe that you should cope with it in a way that brings yourself closure. For me, that doesn’t include ‘just forgetting about what happened,’ but reminding myself of my strength, courage and faith during a very frightening snapshot of my life. As much as it’s your child’s birthday–it’s your birth experience, too. That said, I don’t have any plans to share what happened that day with Sophia. I don’t feel like it’s time yet to make that decision. Off the top of my head, I can imagine sharing it with her when she’s had her own babies and understands the process of giving birth from a very personal perspective. But, I’d be happy enough to never give her any negative details, either. Still, I want to remember how she came to be in this world.

I think it’s sorely lacking in empathy to make light of this poster’s difficult experience by calling it “Mommy’s Private Pain Memories” or whatever another poster re-named it. Moms who have normal birth experiences are expected and encouraged to capture what happened by writing out a birth story. The OP’s experience is no less important and IMO she has every right to record it. I don’t think she should yet plan when or how she will ever show it to her son, but I find it perfectly appropriate for her to want to remember what happened.


#13

But we are talking about a boy who will never have the opportunity to come to a “deeper understanding” after any such experience! He will never give birth, he will never cope with it like you did.

reminding myself of my strength, courage and faith during a very frightening snapshot of my life.

And what will he have to remind himself of?

I can imagine sharing it with her when she’s had her own babies and understands the process of giving birth from a very personal perspective.

Well, the OP can tell it to her future DIL who will most likely understand. Her son just cannot, not in the same way.

I think it’s sorely lacking in empathy to make light of this poster’s difficult experience by calling it “Mommy’s Private Pain Memories” or whatever another poster re-named it. Moms who have normal birth experiences are expected and encouraged to capture what happened by writing out a birth story. The OP’s experience is no less important and IMO she has every right to record it. I don’t think she should yet plan when or how she will ever show it to her son, but I find it perfectly appropriate for her to want to remember what happened.

Recording it is fine and should be done. But it is very important to remember that if you record something, it will be read by others and it will take on a different meaning from the one the OP intended. So she should record it so that only those who can understand it right will see it. And recording it should not result in giving unnecessary pain or confusion to anybody, least of all the person for whom she endured this ordeal. It would, I feel, undo the sacrifice the OP made when she brought him into this world. She gave him the gift of life at a tremendous price. Let’s not remind him of the price, it would diminish the sacrificial value of the gift.

Just my :twocents:


#14

Margita, if you re-read my response, you’ll notice that I don’t agree with her needing to share the information with her son. But I don’t think there is any harm in her recording it for herself, individually. At some point in the distant future, a circumstance or situation could POTENTIALLY arise where it MIGHT be appropriate to share it with her son, or perhaps his future wife after her own birth experiences. Who knows. I don’t think it should be a ‘need’ to show him, but I think the possibility is okay to entertain without a decision to actually do so. Regardless, the idea that fully detailing her experience of giving birth to him would ‘undo’ the sacrifice is insulting to the OP and incorrect, IMO.

To the OP: please do what you feel is most healing and appropriate. Only you know what will bring you closure and peace. For now, your son is too young to comprehend the sacrifice you endured, so again I wouldn’t worry about deciding whether or not to tell him specific details. But if making a scrapbook about it gives you peace, then please don’t seek the approval of others to allow yourself the permission to do so. Just do it! :slight_smile:


#15

Thank you all for sharing. Your posts are very edified, especially the last one. Thank you esp. to Princess Abbey.
I find doing this ‘research’ to be most helpful prior to working hard and nailing things down so thoughtfully in a scrapbook. Its funny how varied the responses are. I belong to an on-line Catholic Mom’s community everyone there thinks I’m like crazy for not sharing all of this and much more in DS’ regular album. My LLL group also feels that I should have only 1 album. My bradley teacher and apparently others on the Catholic Mom’s group share their birth stories with their children on their birthdays and many children LOVE hearing about it! And still we are all different. I truly wanted a different perspective. I wanted to give a chance for a man to respond, after all the Catholic Mom’s community and LLL are all women:) And I think I would have a hard time making light of the birth story so that it could be entertaining like some Moms apparently have done very effectively. It would be wonderful to share DS but not in a way that is debilitating.

I love your responses about how a DS cannot really share the pain except that babys do go through pain when they are born but they cannot write about it. And also how perhaps writing about the pain may detract from the gift of life.

I truly do NOT want this scrapbook that I have in my mind to be a source of pain or embarrassment for DS. Thank you again for your help!


#16

I wanted to make one suggestion based on this comment…

I remember LOVING to hear my parents tell me the “story about when I was born”… that was a great tradition in our family on our birthdays too…
But the story did NOT involve any gory details… at ALL.
It was always focused on what mom and dad were doing and what they were thinking…
Usually involved what TV show they were watching at the hospital… and how long they “walked the halls” at the hospital while she was in labor… and what food they ate… and what jokes they laughed at…
Those are GREAT stories to tell your kids! It was a wonderful tradition for us and I have lots of fond memories of it!
But it did NOT require any mention of “pain and suffering”…
Does that make sense?

Maybe focus on more of the stuff surrounding the birth… that can be JUST as SPECIAL! :thumbsup:


#17

Exactly!! Same here, we know the story of our birth and my son knows his - but the gory medical details are not part of a great story.


#18

My mom suffered greatly while having me, and she told me about it (not in gory detail though). It never bothered me. It’s a fact of life that childbirth hurts! It’s even in the Bible :slight_smile:

Even a perfect delivery is gory, come to think about it!


#19

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