Did Your Mother Share Her Birth Story with You, Did It Influence Your Birthing?

Updated on March 20, 2008
M.M. asks from Key Biscayne, FL
9 answers

Curious as to what perceptions you had about birthing, childbirth, pregnancy and how you feel it affected your pregnancy, birthing, and postpartum, breasfeeding or not, etc.
Share what ever feels right, I heard all my life my mother say, I was born breech, vaginal, my mom almost died, and I did not want to latch on, so she had to bottle feed. I am amazed at how I think I created the same type of "dramatic" birth experience, still healing from it. Interesting how so many women think it is a painful and somewhat long event. Curious how much you all think you brought what you saw growing up to the labor room.

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answers from Miami on

I have enjoyed reading the responses so far. My mother and I seem to have opposite views on delivery and thereafter. She says that in her day (only 34 years ago), they put the mother out completely so she had no memory on my birth other than I was 2.5 weeks late. She thought I was insane when I told the family that we were doing hypnobirthing and having our child at a birth center. My daughter was 2 weeks late and I had dangerously high blood pressure and ended up in the hospital on pitocin. I still managed to have my daughter completely unmedicated and naturally. My mom was in the room for a few minutes and chose to leave because she was scared of me being in pain. Her parting words were "Thank God you are in the hospital where you are safe". I thought the opposite. She and my dad then discussed how brave and strong my husband was because he chose to stay with me the entire time and sleep there. Whatever! She was somewhat accepting when I told her that I was going to deliver our second child at a birth center. He was only two days late and my blood pressure was perfect. We used hypnobirthing with him as well. My mom showed up at the birth center immediately since we thought my birth would happen fast since I was almost instantly down to 3 minute contractions. My son decided to turn himself (at 9 lbs) and got stuck. I ended up being in hard labor for nearly 14 hours. He was born posterior (sunny side up) and unmedicated at the birth center. Unfortunately since I was so tired after so many hours, I kinda lost sight of my hypnobirthing and was crying and screaming with each surge (at the end). My mom left the birth center and sat outside crying until it was over. She describes my son's birth as completely horrendous and a stubborn mistake on my part. I tried to explain to her that I was fine and the baby was fine so by me staying at the birth center, I avoided surgery (c-section) but it falls on deaf ears. She also didn't breastfeed my sister or I based on her doctor's advice. I extended breastfed both of my kids (up to 16 months).



answers from Miami on

I never attached my mom's birth experiences to my own. She had 4 natural births w/ really big babies. All of us were between 9 and 11 lbs. She bf for a very short time.

W/ my 1st I wanted a natural birth but I really didn't prepare. I had an epidural at 4 cm and an episiotomy. I only bf for 8 months because even though I wanted to bf I still had the mentality that formula is just as good and I didn't take care of our bf relationship. I learned my lesson.

W/ my 2nd had a homebirth. Bf from the moment he was born. Had nipple pain for a whole 2 months until I discovered he had 2 tight frenulums. I decided to endure the pain because he was gaining weight just fine and I didn't want to cause him pain because of me. We had the start of Mastitis but thank God I recognized it the 1st day. I went back to work fulltime when he was 2 months old and have been pumping since then. He is 16 months old and only gets bm. No formula, no cow's milk.

I am a doula and my dream is to become a Midwife, but things always get in the way.



answers from Boca Raton on

My mother shared her story, but not in detail because she really couldnt fully remember since it was so long before I had my baby (37 years). My mother had me natually in about 8 hours and she did remember it being painful but not unbearable. I always wanted to have a natural birth and I personally decided to try having a Nurse Midwife and do Hypnobirthing classes (from Amazing Births in Boca Raton)which would help me learn to breathe and focus on relaxation as much as possible. I also did prenatal yoga from 3 - 9 months of pregnancy and found it extremley helpful in keeping my body in shape and my mind free from fear. My instructor is amazing and I would highly recommend her (JIWAN). I was a week late in delivering but I had an amazing birth experience. I stayed home for the first 4 hours of labor, until my contractions were 3 minutes apart and got to the hospital where they gave me a heplock since I didn't want any drugs or medications (unless urgent)and was able to get under the hot water in the shower, etc which also helped me along. The hospital nurses/staff were amazing and kept my birth list and wishes in mind during it all. I went from 5 centimeters to 10 in one and half hours and I soon had to push and after three pushes, my son came out. It was painful, but not what I expected. You cannot explain to any woman what is felt in your lower back, belly and butt. I unfortunately suffered post pardum and I wish I didn't. It was the worst part of my entire pregnancy and birth process. My son nursed for 2 months and then I stopped because it was affecting my mind and I personally had to get better and as soon as I stopped breastfeeding, and started getting some fresh air, etc. I felt so much better. I think I had a stressful situation since I am a single mother and my son's father decided not to be a part of the process or anything which might have affected my hormonal / emotional state. Looking back now, I realize it was the process I had to go through and I learned so much from it and hope to continue growing and sharing my story. It might help other women.


answers from Boca Raton on

Hi M.,

When my mom had me ( I was #2 for her) she waited until the last minute to go to the hospital (she didn't want to sit there at the hospital) and she almost had me in the car... Within 30 minutes of arrival, she had me.....

I didn't take what she said into consideration when I went into labor at all... I had a awesome pregnancy and even easier labor ( i worked out up until I gave birth).... I didn't even know I was in labor. I thought I was having heart burn or a stomach ache that just wouldn't go away, lol..... After a couple hours of that, I finally decided to call my doctor because I thought just "maybe" it could be labor.... Got to the hospital and I was 3 centimeters.... I got an epidural at 7 centimeters ONLY because the nurses kept scaring me that there was no turning back if I didn't get it soon... Pushed for 20 minutes and he was out.. PIECE OF CAKE FOR ME, Thank GOSH!!!!!!!

My mom didn't breast feed, I did for only 6 weeks... The sleepless nights is what got to me... I had probably a little post partum now looking back because I was soooooooooooo sleep deprived... I eventually hired someone to come into my house 4 days per week ( 6 hours per day) to watch my son when he was 4 weeks old. I needed "me" time and time to rest.. Best decision my husband and I EVER made... I slowly cut down the hours of having help and by the time he was 8 months old, I didn't have help anymore.......My mom never really had help.. My grandmother would come over from time to time but mostly she was on her own raising my sister and I (my dad always traveled)

Kristy :0)



answers from Boca Raton on

My mother's stories scared the hell out of me and I refused to allow that to become my reality. I educated myself and read a lot and chose midwives instead of MDs, etc. If you want to know more go to
and read the birth stories!
All the best to you!
: )



answers from Miami on

my mother had a really really long labor with my sister
& wound up w/ a c-section. She then had 2 subsequent c-sections. From what I gathered, from her telling of it, is that she was grateful to have had the sugery, but in her day it was a big, long incision & she had a difficult time recovering. that was baby #1. then she had my sister and then she had me. By the time I came along, ten years after her first birth, the incision was tiny, as the story goes. She was amazed that it was a little bandage.

As for breastfeeding, she says she tried, but has inverted nipples and even though 'they' (nurses? la leche?) tried to help her, she could not breastfeed. Again, this was w/ baby #1 so I don't think she tried again after that, just resigned herself to the fact that she 'couldn't'

regarding if her story/ies affected my birth? I don't think so...I had 2 vaginal (medicated, by choice!) deliveries & breastfed my babies until 15 months...
my mother was very supportive of breastfeeding (bcse she had originally wanted to) and I think she was happy that I didn't inherit her anatomy...



answers from Boca Raton on

I know my mother had difficult pregnancies and was confined to bed with me. She was given an epidural and my father was confined to the waiting room, as was the custom at the time. I was born one month premature and my father drove to the hospital every day for a month with breast pumped milk while I was in an incubator. I also know by the time my sister (third child) was born, my mother had circulation problems in her leg and severe dental problems. I therefore was apprehensive about my own first pregnancy.

I had read about natural childbirth and asked my husband to attend prenatal exercise and Lamaze classes with me. At first he was squeamish but then really got into it. To my relief, I did not have a moment of morning sickness and, except for back pain, had very healthy pregnancies and worked up until the last day. I was expecting my adult acne to get worse, but instead, it cleared up and never returned. All three babies were full term and were born without drugs. Dad was a great coach, gave the babies their first bath, and accompanied them to their circumcision. The hospital was very supportive of all my decisions. Bonding took place immediately and each child nursed happily within minutes of being born. Times had changed, and we had changed with it.

I had read about postpartum depression and my friends had warned me to be prepared for periods of despondency. However, I was in a haze of euphoria.

When friends of ours lost their first child following heart surgery and had difficulty conceiving and carrying a child full term, I offered to become a surrogate mother. I knew that with my three boys I would be able to hand over their baby with no regrets. Shortly afterwards, she got pregnant and it was not necessary to take me up on my offer.

I have written a play based on events of one of the students I tutored, who is in constant conflict with her mother. My student was born almost three months premature and is legally blind due to retinopathy of prematurity. In the play, each one accuses the other of blaming them for the premature birth. This confrontation leads to half-hearted denials and apologies, the beginning of an end to the fighting.

My three sons are now young men and two have moved out, but I am mom to an extended family that includes sons, wives, girl friends, neighbors, and students. Motherhood has been a lifelong source of joy to me. Thanks for inviting me to share.



answers from Miami on

She told me the story many times - and the key was that her mind was so strong that she stopped her contractions because she was afraid to give birth with a young attending physician, and then once she felt comfortable, she let it happen. Unconciously perhaps this encouraged me to explore Hypnobirthing (AWESOME!) and birth affirmations both of which worked fantastically for my two beutiful births, the 2nd in A Birth Ctr - hallandale with a midwife, needing meds I slowed down my birthing and then determined that I would finish up within 2 hours and did so. Birth affirmations and protein meant a strong sac that did not rupture until the very end. cool!



answers from Melbourne on

Ya know, I think it's kind of funny. My mom's stories scared the heck out of me growing up. So I was terrified to have kids until I got older, for fear of the pain. My mom would say things like, "it's the worse pain you'll ever have," "it's 10 times worse then breaking a leg," "no man has ever came close to that kind of pain." That's my mom, always trying to scare me into doing the right thing.

When I left home I had my heart set on having my 1st by around 25, not too young or too old in my opinion. Buy the time pregnancy became any kind of concern to me I was able to do my own research and take my moms horror stories with a grain of salt. I had it planned with flexibility in mind. If, in fact, it was as god awful as mom said, I was prepared for an epidural before things got too far. If not, I was prepared with breathing techniques, massages, staying home for a while, and a supportive husband for my coach. In case of problems I wanted to be in a hospital with a good neonatal. To avoid being crammed in a room with a bunch of other laboring women, I chose a hospital with a birthing center and private rooms with labor and delivery in the same room.

When it all came down to it my mom tried to convince me to go natural, but I left it only as a possibility. I wanted to see if I could do it, but I was not going to try with all my might the 1st time around. I found myself in labor and stayed calm and home for a while until I felt the contractions were close enough to be sure I wouldn't get sent back home. I called dr and gave my symptoms and was sent to hospital. I was 5cm when I arrived and spent a while walking the halls, using a big ball, shower, getting massages, etc. until I went to the bathroom and was in a lot of pain and really wanted some relief. They checked me and I was at 7cm. Epidural was ordered and given with no problems, one of the ones that you can push a button if you need more. It worked nicely I was really feeling no pain after about 20mins, and labor went normally until right before birth when babies heart started fluctuating. She gave me a small snip to speed baby out of birth canal and an extra push to get out the placenta. It was really not the horrible hospital experience many describe, and I had no trouble pushing even with the epidural.

Second baby was not so joyous. I had heard oh so many times that the second one comes so much faster than 1st and is usually easier. Well, my lil man had other plans! I had several false labors that were worse then any pain with my 1st labor. Eventually induction was scheduled. I came in with more contractions and at the same 2.5cm I had been for a couple weeks, turns out my labor was not progressing. Induction was started, I stayed overnight as scheduled and had only progressed to 3cm buy morning so was given pitocin (another thing mom had scared me into staying from at all costs until that point.) It really was not any worse then the contractions I was having. Several hours and I was at 3.5-4cm. Went to the bathroom after ensuring the nurse that I wasn't just feeling pressure from baby. Later I was laying in bed and my water broke. It was soon after that that labor pains went into hyperdrive. None of the breathing exercises, meditations, or anything could have prepared me for that. It was so completely unbearable I asked for the epidural and was at 4cm when it was ordered, and I got it. 1/2 hour after the last check and I was at 8cm. It was like the worst labor in high speed. the epi just barely took enough effect to cut the pain down so it wasn't so unbearable, and I could actually feel every opening every contraction. Baby was ready and nurse is telling me not to push while she's trying to get the dr, but can't reach her. It didn't matter baby was coming even without me trying to push at all. dr finally gets in and baby is crowning ready to come out. One push and he's out. It had been like a whole 1/2 hour sense the epi. so I had to stay in bed for a while cause of being too numb. Healing from that was so much worse than the 1st, and that was with no snip. It was awful like my mom described, but it was so much worse then my first, I don't know that it's a real comparison to a typical labor. And the stories my mom had about pitocin, just never happened with me. It wasn't until my water broke that everything got so completely painful.

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