So the other week I was driving my children to school and we had a car accident.
The adrenaline set in and we were all in shock. I was trembling all over, my daughter was screaming, my two boys in the backseat were deathly silent and the driver of the other car wasn't moving. I remember her sunglasses had fallen out of her broken window and were laying in the smashed glass next to her car. It all happened so quickly yet everything was in slow motion.
The crunching of metal, the breaking of glass, our car being turned around, strangers coming running to help us.
The man in the red jumper standing on the corner just filming it all like he was going to be a social media sensation. Yes, I remember you very clearly, dickhead.
The staff in a nearby business bringing my children hot chocolate. The unknown man who, judging by appearances, didn't have much to give yet gave my children a new toy he happened to have with him. The help from the emergency services. Thank you for your kindness.
It could have had a very different ending, but thank the universe, everyone was able to get out of their cars and walk away. I am beyond grateful that this was the outcome, that everyone got to go home to their families. That besides a few bruises and some whiplash, everyone will be physically okay.
You know this right. That I am grateful that my children are healthy. I don't know any person that wouldn't be grateful. Yet I am still upset by what has happened. I still replay what happened in my mind. I can still feel the fear and uncertainty of those first few moments.
And that will take me a little while to get over.
In the meantime, I still have to go on with my life. I still have to drive my children down the same road. I have to sort out all the paperwork and phone calls that go along with a car accident. I still have to comfort my children who draw pictures of what happened. I am still grateful that our bruises will heal and we will be okay.
So why do people keep telling me "You should be grateful!".
That cars can be replaced but people can't.
I know this. You don't have to remind me.
I know it can be difficult to be with someone going through an emotional time. That you don't always know what to say or that you want to make me feel better. But I'm not asking you to fix it. I'm asking you to just sit with me and let me be, however I am feeling. Hold that space for me.
Don't start telling me about your friend's car accident that was probably worse than mine and how they are just happy to be here. I'm allowed to be upset that the new-to-us car I got only three days prior is now gone. Don't brush off my feelings as though they don't matter when compared to the outcome. How a person feels after a traumatic event is important too. The memories will take longer to heal than the bruises. I hope you understand.
The point of all this though isn't really to tell you about me.
It's to make you think about those women and families who go through a traumatic birth and are told they should just be grateful that they have a healthy baby. A traumatic birth doesn't have to be a cesarean birth either. A traumatic birth is whatever the woman says it is for her. Where you are left feeling scared, fearful, out of control, traumatised. And yes, you can still be grateful that your baby is healthy.
A healthy baby isn't all that matters. Parents matter too. Their mental, emotional and physical health is important. The fact that mum and baby are alive doesn't cancel out what happened to them during labour and birth or how they feel about it.
Please be mindful of your words and don't tell them to be grateful their baby is okay because believe me, they already are.
Kelly is a mum to four amazing children. She works as a birth, bereavement & postnatal doula in Adelaide and also offers placenta encapsulation services.
If you feel upset about your birth please seek support. Here are some resources that may be useful
Roughly one third of women admit to being fearful of childbirth with anxiety peaking in the last trimester.
Reasons for this fear and anxiety may include:
I have a bunch of books in my office that clients are welcome to borrow. Please let me know if you are interested in reading any of them. I do ask for a $20 fully refundable deposit for any item I lend out just in case they don't come back and I need to replace them =)
Click on the thumbnail to see the full cover and scroll through the other books
Win a Doula for your Birth
The purpose of World Doula Week (WDW) is to empower doulas all over the world to improve the physiological, social, emotional, and psychological health of women, newborns and families in birth and in the postpartum period. (WDW Website)
And this year, I thought I'd make it a little bit fun to win my doula services at your birth with a virtual scavenger/treasure hunt. Below is a list of questions that you can answer by searching around my website. I've made it pretty easy for you.
So what exactly can you win?
Each year during WDW, I offer my services for just $150 to allow those who may not usually be able to afford a doula the opportunity to have my support during your pregnancy, birth and postnatal period.
The winner will receive:
How To Enter
THIS COMPETITION IS NOW CLOSED
Entering requires a little participation from you. Please read to the bottom of the page (including the terms and conditions before entering)
Hunt around my website to find the answers to the following 5 questions. Make a note of all the answers and when you are finished, use my contact form to send them to me along with:
TERMS AND CONDITIONS
COMMENT BELOW WHEN YOU ARE DONE
Tammy's Birth At Home
After days of niggles and contractions coming and going, Tammy called me around 8:30 at night to let me know her waters had broken. We had a chat on the phone and as things were still early, we agreed I would call her back in about an hour to see how things were moving. After our second chat, we decided I would head up there as she has a history of quick births and her house was a 40 minute drive away. I grabbed my doula bag and hopped in the car.
I was greeted at the door by her hubby and headed inside to find everyone casually chatting on the couch watching TV. After a shower and nice long back massage, things were progressing quite nicely for Tammy so she headed into their spa bath where her precious baby girl arrived just after 1am.
The way Tammy inwardly focused herself and headed off into her "labour land" was amazing to be part of and reminded me a lot of myself. Interesting in itself as obviously you can't watch yourself give birth as a third party. As always, I learnt a lot from the independent midwives she had hired to support her; the way they encouraged her through the hard peaks, cheered her accomplishments and just let birth be.
Things that will stay with me from this birth: Tammy rocking her birth like a boss, big sister's tears of happiness and watching a man become a father for the first time. Thank you x
If you are birthing around Adelaide and are interested in having me as your doula, find out more on my Doula Support Page by clicking the link.