baby

Mum says she was "paralysed in pain" after being forced into a birth she didn't want.

Not all births are ‘beautiful’ is the resounding message from Australian parenting blogger Stevie from MyTribeofSix.

Stevie has four children, and her youngest daughter, born in November last year, was delivered in a way that left her in immense pain and unable to hold her newborn.

“As magic and amazing as childbirth is, it isn’t always a good experience,” she wrote on Instagram at the end of last year, in a post that’s now going viral.

“I couldn’t even hold her or look at her after she was born – not straight away. Not because of her, but because of me, what I just went through and the pain I was still in.”

It’s a story of raw honesty, when many birthing accounts can – as Stevie explains – add pressure to an already difficult situation.

The NSW mum behind My Tribe of Six said she felt “judged” for asking for an epidural, and that the forced natural birth left her “paralysed” with pain and feeling emotionally unattached.

“There’s all this pressure on how amazing it should be and what we should feel afterwards,” she wrote.

“It wasn’t positive at all. I didnt feel encouraged, I felt judged and forced into a birth I didn’t want and that could have been avoided.”

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Stevie said she was told she didn’t need an epidural “because she’s done this before” and to keep quiet after moaning in pain.

“I was coerced into a shower I didn’t want, promised if I tried that, [the midwife] would give me the epidural I begged for,” she wrote.

“I was told to be quiet, every scream I let out. When I finally gave birth, right there in the shower, after what felt like forever, they told me to look and to hold her but I couldn’t.

“I couldn’t turn around, I couldn’t move, I couldn’t open my eyes. The pain was immense.”

It was only after around 40 minutes, Stevie explained, that she felt she could hold her baby girl. It’s a delay that’s left her feeling guilty, in what should be a happy, touching time.

“Thinking back, I’m riddled with guilt. It makes me tear up, knowing I wasn’t the first to hold her, she didn’t get the skin to skin the others got.”

LISTEN: Psychologist Kirsten Bouse talks about post-natal depression. Post continues below.

Since posting about her experience, Stevie has faced backlash from many women calling her “ungrateful”.

She has responded to these women, asking why they feel the need to judge her for an experience that was so deeply emotional and personal.

“Come on ladies – if someone shares something, that’s their truth, their experience, their feelings… all of which are valid,” she wrote to Instagram in a later post.

She added she knows midwives are “amazing” and that this was just one, “crappy” experience.

Even so, it’s one that will help many other mothers who’ve experienced something similar to feel much less alone. And hopefully relieve them of any guilt entirely.

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