Why I Don't Share my Birth Story

talley1Many moons ago (and many pregnancies ago) I actually had a baby shower. I was so excited, and had hand picked my registry items with a painstaking attention to detail that only a first time mom to be can have. I had even planned out the decoration and the games myself, down to the daisies in mint julep cups and the "Guess Who" baby picture game. My college friends came and there were dozens of people there to shower me as the new mama to be, it was lovely, to say the least.

Over the course of the afternoon I had many conversations, many many many conversations, mostly about baby stuff. One of the guests, an older friend of a relative, started up a conversation with me about the name I had chosen for my first born. She somehow got talking about the first time she gave birth, thirty years or so before then. "But I lost the baby actually," she said. She went on to describe a rather harrowing birth story, and I stood there wide eyed and a little in disbelief as she talked about her experience.

I felt torn between comforting her for her loss and letting her know I cared for her and was grateful for her sharing (which is what I ultimately did) and turning around and walking away and pretending she hadn't said anything. I have to admit I was also a little angry, thinking to myself, who talks about losing a baby at a baby shower?!

I was a nervous Nelly as a first time pregnant woman, that is a GIANT understatement. I had read all the books and all the comments on website chatrooms and all the stories and warnings and everything OMG there is so much information out there for moms to be it can be terrifying to take it all in. I felt like I had cleared a bunch of hurdles, the threat of miscarriage was lower now that I was past the first trimester, all the tests had gone well so far, but now, at my baby shower, I was terrified again.

That pregnancy went fine, I say "fine" now, nine years later, but in a nutshell it was an emergency c-section after almost 22 hours of difficult labor and after it was all done I felt like drop-kicking my carefully constructed birth "plan" into the nearest garbage and setting it on fire.

When my friends started to have kids of their own, I made a point not to share my own first time birth experience, even though some of them did actually ask. All I tell them is that everyone's experience is different, and to always just keep the focus on a healthy baby and a healthy mama. I always, always, want to keep it positive for any fellow preggos. Save the tough questions and the scary thoughts for the doctor. You won't hear any horror stories from me.

As for difficult stories and sad stories and experiences with loss, should people feel like they shouldn't share them with a pregnant woman? Maybe. While the very essence of my being as a mother wants to say we should all share and honor everyone's experiences, there's a time and a place, and sometimes telling a pregnant woman difficult experiences or stories can just be a no no. If you really feel compelled to share, or asked to share, maybe wait until that healthy baby is here, and you and your mommy friend can bond over sharing your experiences together.

That doesn't mean you should hide your own personal experiences, but maybe just be aware of that highly sensitive time during pregnancy, especially for a first time mom to be, and choose the right timing to share.

What do you think? Is sharing a difficult pregnancy or delivery story with a pregnant friend a no no?