Grazia editor: 'I felt pushed into a natural birth, and a failure when I didn't have one'
35-year-old Natasha Pearlman details the trauma she still feels about her birth experience years later...
Grazia magazine editor, Natasha Pearlman, has confessed that she still feels traumatised by her labour - 3.5 years after giving birth to daughter Rose.
In a piece called The Childbirth Conspiracy for The Times magazine, Natasha revealed that she felt pushed by her midwives and her NCT classes into having a “natural” birth – meaning a vaginal delivery, with no pain relief.
"It seemed as if they had made the decision, without consulting me, to push me to the absolute limit to deliver the baby naturally,” she wrote.
But after giving birth using forceps, she was left feeling an overwhelming sense of failure – on both sides.
“I tore. I was cut. I was stitched up. I couldn't sit down without a rubber ring supporting me (so utterly humiliating) for at least 4 weeks.
“I had haemorrhoids. I bled. I hurt for months. Physically and emotionally. I wasn't depressed. I was in shock. I felt, I suppose, like a failure. I also felt I had been failed.”
On Instagram, she added:
“I really really struggled after having Rose. I was completely unprepared for what happened to me - and I know that sounds totally selfish because obviously I had a new life to look after.
“I felt very pushed into a natural birth and after the experience (which was not something I coped well with) I felt a failure as well as failed.”
Natasha’s confession comes less than a month after the Royal College of Midwives announced they’d be shuttering their ‘campaign for normal births’ for good ?
"What we don't want to do is in any way contribute to any sense that a woman has failed because she hasn't had a 'normal' birth" they said in a (waaay overdue) statement at the time.
But it seems that this lingering idea of natural = normal or ‘real’ or successful has and will continue to have an impact, until we ALL nip it in the bud forever.
Because, realistically, a lot of the time, giving birth naturally's just not what's best for mum or baby.
How you gave birth really doesn't matter. Literally all that matters is that you and baby are both safe and sound at the end of it ?
NCT’s head of knowledge, Sarah McMullen, followed up Natasha's article with this statement:
“We’re really sorry to hear that Natasha had a traumatic birth experience and felt unprepared by one of our classes.
"It’s not acceptable that someone should leave an antenatal class feeling uninformed and fearful of birth, and our practitioners would never intend for this to happen. We want all expectant parents to leave our classes feeling well informed and prepared for childbirth – however they give birth, and whatever their personal decisions.
“Last year we got feedback from around 50,000 parents and the vast majority rated our classes highly, however, we know we don’t always get it right and are working hard to ensure all parents have a positive experience which really prepares them for birth and beyond.
“We always welcome feedback and encourage Natasha to get in touch, so that we can learn from her specific experience.”
Have your say
Was your birth plan to deliver 'naturally' sans pain relief – and did you end up throwing it out the window once the time came?
Perhaps you’ve got a similar experience to Natasha, where you felt you were being encouraged or pressured to give birth in a certain way?
We’d really love to hear your thoughts and for you to share your stories, so leave us a comment below or join in the discussion on Facebook.
Images: Instagram/Natasha Pearlman
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