I was an avid fan of Channel 4’s ‘One Born Every Minute’ before I had Elsa. I watched pretty much every episode whilst I was pregnant & cried with every baby born on my TV screen. It was like doing research to prepare myself for what was going to happen, but now I realise how fake it can be.
Sure, they show you the horrors of when things don’t quite go to plan & you have to be whisked in for an emergency c-section or assisted delivery (forceps/episiotomy/ventouse); BUT do they show the stitches that the majority of woman have, the problems that can occur if your placenta doesn’t come away properly….does the placenta even exist as i’ve never seen it even mentioned on the program? For me it felt like I was having a whole other baby. Does it show haemorrhaging (WARNING: DO NOT SCROLL DOWN IF SQUEAMISH! PHOTO OF OUR EN-SUITE BATHROOM AFTER ELSA’S BIRTH) or post-partum infections? Absolutely not & these are unfortunately all too common.
The majority of ladies on OBEM give birth lying down on the bed (something i’ve heard from a lot of people & for me personally would have been very uncomfortable compared to letting gravity help you!). I’ve found you are either a screamer or not too…personally I couldn’t have made any more noise if I tried (those poor poor people in that antenatal unit whilst I was in the toilet eeek!!) as Joe likened it to somebody being stabbed multiple times & apparently I reached deafening/supersonic level BUT that’s what was natural TO ME. Labour is extremely personal & individual so i’d say just do what feels right to you as you totally won’t care at the time.
People also seem to hop, skip & jump out of the maternity ward – even the most straightforward birth will not have you doing that! Your body has been through a lot, so you can’t expect to ping back. I remember thinking that after Elsa was born, that i’d have her then that was it…off i’d skip to enjoy my beautiful little family. I didn’t know i’d have to deliver the placenta, or the stitches (I remember asking the paramedic in the ambulance if they’d hurt) or the weeks of having to sit on one bum cheek until it goes numb then move to the other side as sitting down is so uncomfortable. Also the peeing ahhhhh! My tips would be pour luke warm water over yourself as you pee. Also lots of shallow baths with tea tree oil for healing.
My main problem with the program is something that I struggled with both times & isn’t nice to admit, but I wanted to blog about it, to be as honest as possible, to tell everyone that it does happen & how it doesn’t make you a bad mother. After both births I didn’t that ‘rush of love’, in fact, my first instinct was to get the baby as far away from me as possible. I’m not sure if it was due to the nature of my super speedy births & the shock that a traumatic delivery can bring, but birth is brutal & traumatic no matter how many hypnobirthing classes you take or however ‘to plan’ your birth goes.
Every single episode of One Born Every Minute shows that gooey slimy baby being passed straight over it’s mother with such beauty that it’s hard not to get sucked in, to think that if you don’t shed tears or feel sudden unconditional love then theres something very wrong with you. I didn’t even want to hold my own babies; what kind of a mother was I?
It took me a long time to admit how long it took me to bond with Elsa. I didn’t experience postnatal depression with either babies, but it did take me some time to feel that warm fuzzy rush of love that some people experience immediately. It wasn’t until Elsa was about 6 months old that I looked at her & something overcame me, but I felt like I couldn’t tell a single soul how I felt before that time as I felt like I would have been classed as an unfit mother or been whisked off to the GP for anti-depressants when I was fine. With Rory, the feeling came a lot quicker but still wasn’t instant.
I remember the health visitor making me fill out the ‘post-natal depression questionnaire’ that’s routine at about 2 weeks after Rory was born. I answered 100% honestly; had I been feeling more tearful or irritable than normal? Have you been feeling anxious? Do you struggle sleeping or feel exhausted? YES, YES & YES, because I have a newborn baby you idiot…I’m not depressed, I’m NORMAL as I haven’t slept in 2 bloody weeks & i’m naturally quite an anxious person. She then told me how I needed to see my GP & continuously called me most days to ‘check on me’.
Being a mother is the worlds hardest job; the first few weeks (i’d say before 12 weeks) are quite frankly absolutely awful. Not only are you recovering from something so savage, you then have a tiny human who screams constantly & seems to suck the life out of you slowly bit by bit. But, it gets easier, so much easier, & eventually you’ll have motherhood down to a tee in a nice little routine with everything under control (until they decide to stir things up just when you think you’ve got it sorted & things like teething/illness kicks in!). Before then, you’ll have multiple times of doubting yourself, thinking that you cant do it anymore; but that is OK.
The hardest part of being a mother is the constant doubt; am I doing a good enough job? Should I be doing this differently? What if this/that happens? How, what, when, where, why? It is all consuming but we learn to cope. We are our own worst critics & I’m sure from an outside perspective you are doing a pretty damn amazing job mumma <3
I wish I could have experienced what I see on every episode, but every birth is different & nothing, including a TV program, is going to change that.
How did you find OBEM compared to your ‘real life’ situations? I’d love to hear your experiences!
Love, Charlotte x
WARNING: GRAPHIC CONTENT BELOW – Joe took this picture of our ensuite bathroom where I gave birth to Elsa when we got home from hospital. The stitches after delivery were absolutely HORRIFIC as I suffered one of the worst tears they’d ever seen which required so many stitches it would make anyones eyes water. I lost so much blood that I was rushed in to hospital 2 days postpartum after a midwife check picked up that my body was basically shutting down but being a first time mum I thought feeling that awful was normal. I had to have a huge blood transfusion. I then got a postpartum infection due to retained placenta. Do these very common problems occur on One Born? Absolutely not.