Rebirth: A Second Chance

Rebirth. “A new or second birth”. A chance to start again, a chance to make new memories that heal the old ones. In terms of healing birth trauma a rebirthing might consist of re-enacting the birth in the way previously imagined or it might be a spontaneous and instinctive moment shared between mother and baby in the bath or in bed in the middle of the night.

After the Munchkin’s birth, someone suggested I try a rebirthing in order to heal emotionally from the trauma I experienced. But he was already about three months old, I wasn’t ready to let go yet and wouldn’t be for over two years, and the more time passed the less like a newborn he was and it just felt wrong to try. The very thought of getting my birth pool back out again made me burst into tears. So we never did it. I had to find healing from his birth the long, hard way and we’re finally there after some intensive therapy and an empowering second birth.

That second birth, however, was not the experience I longed for. Though it wasn’t traumatic in any way, it left me grieving. Within days of the Bean’s birth I knew I wanted to try a rebirthing. I needed to physically recover from the caesarean though and I needed to prepare in practical terms. I thought I wanted my midwife and doula to be there and was considering having the Munchkin there too, though at other times I felt I didn’t want him there. Getting everyone together at the same time looked unlikely when my doula gave birth to her own baby a few weeks after the Bean was born.

As the days turned into weeks I started to feel a bit desperate. My little newborn was rapidly developing into a strong baby and I was afraid it would get too late. So I decided to grab the opportunity as soon as the Munchkin was staying at my parents’ house for the night. Finally that moment came, 8 weeks after the Bean’s original birth.

Today, after an absolutely beautiful day out with friends to celebrate the Munchkin’s third birthday, he went home with my mum and hubby and I made our preparations. We inflated and filled the pool, lit candles and put on my birth music. I got into the pool and listened to the song that had been one of my hypnosis triggers that I used during pregnancy and labour, Chimes, a song by an unsigned band called Glow. I thought about being pregnant, remembered my blessingway and the hope and anticipation I had felt about my forthcoming birth. These memories touched some raw emotions for me and I began to cry silently.
I changed the music to the song I had wanted playing as my baby was born. I had played it on repeat for a long time during my actual labour when it seemed I would be holding my baby imminently: Firework by Katy Perry. Cheesy? Maybe, but when I first heard it I felt it was the perfect song to accompany birth. What a strong message of the power and awesomeness of a birthing woman.

Hubby got into the pool with the Bean and passed him to me under my arm and through the water. I brought him straight to my chest and held him, I told him how much I love him and explained that this was how I had wanted to meet him. The tears flowed with overwhelming sadness and joy and hubby snapped away with the camera to capture the moment.

The Bean was calm and alert, looking carefully at me and around at the strange surroundings. We spent a few minutes in the pool and then moved to the sofa, wrapped up warm, where I fed him and hubby brought me some food. It was the post-birth chill that we should have shared but were denied by the circumstances of the Bean’s original birth.

This rebirth doesn’t undo that birth, nor would I want it to. His birth was truly awesome, in so many ways, but it wasn’t joyful. Now I have new memories, the memories I had hoped to create and that does undo some of the emotional damage of his birth.

But it’s late now, so I’m signing off to go and curl up in bed with my baby.

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20 thoughts on “Rebirth: A Second Chance

  1. lostandlonely says:

    Beautiful, Holly, and made me cry. I’m going to add a link to this on the post I wrote about Rebirthing, if you don’t mind, as there’s so little information ‘out there’ from mums who’ve done it. Thanks so much for sharing your beautiful story.

  2. Lisa S says:

    Holly I don’t think I could possibly love and admire you any more than I already do but reading this……thank you again xxx Sleep well xxx

  3. Caroline says:

    How amazing and inspiring. I can see from the photo’s that you’re totally embracing the experience, too.

    Why haven’t I heard of re-birth before?! I need to do this!

    What’s particularly special about this is your acceptance of the Bean’s birth and the circumstances surrounding it – even to the point of saying you wouldn’t change it.

    So, you’ve now fully experienced both the physical and emotional components of birth – albeit as two separate entities. Does this mean the circle is complete?

    • Holly says:

      “even to the point of saying you wouldn’t change it.”

      I did say that didn’t I Caroline? It was a pretty unconscious remark but it goes to show that the Rebirthing did it’s job. Thank you for bringing it to my attention 🙂

  4. aissagallie says:

    Holly, that helped me to release tears I didn’t know I had stored up inside. I wish I’d known of this earlier. As I fed Bruce in the night I held him so close as I always do, yet I pictured him blood stained, cord attached and wide eyed, and inside I wept again, it was good. So much love to you, keep teaching xxx

  5. aissagallie says:

    Holly reading that has helped me to cry tears I didn’t know I had. I wish I’d known about this earlier, it’s something I would definitely have done (Bruce is a bit of a man-mountain now!). Last night as I fed Bruce I held him so close as I always do, and pictured him naked, blood stained, cord attached and wide eyed. Inside I wept more but it was a good thing to do. Keep teaching Holly xxx

  6. valentina says:

    indeed it felt powerful to read it :’-) thanks for sharing.
    you looked like glowing, truly touching… and what a beautiful chubby baby you guys have there! hugsX

  7. Caroline Spear says:

    Well Done Holly! I remember rebirthing my c/s baby when she was at least 3 months old. Although I had never planned a water birth for her, lying in my bath, telling her how I planned for her to be born, I suddenly and gently found myself pulling her under the water and up onto my chest. She was totally at peace with the experience, and quickly latched on to feed. I had healed a missing part of our journey together. This was 19 years ago, and the memory is just as beautifully clear today as it was then. Much love to you xxxxxx

  8. Jen says:

    I’m so glad you wrote this post! I was looking everywhere for experiences of rebirthing older babies and your post inspired me to go ahead with it. I want to share a brief version of my story in case it’s useful to anyone else.

    After 50+ hours of labor, I had a cesarean birth, which was traumatic for me. It took me nearly a year to begin allowing myself to feel the loss inherent in that experience and I recently discovered that my unmet deep, soulful and primal need to be with my baby immediately after his birth was a big source of my grief. That separation, while relatively brief, was so hard for me. I imagine it may have been for my son, too.

    So, yesterday, on his first birthday, my husband and I awoke around 4am, the time of his birth. He lit candles and filled the tub. I put on my birthing necklace (that I never wore) and read my birthing affirmation cards that I’d laid out the night before. And then we went ahead with the rebirth.

    It was undoubtedly different than it would have been with an infant (he was smiling and splashing his legs in the water while he nursed!), and yet it was powerful and healing for both me and my husband. We felt a sense of fulfillment of our birthing hopes as well as a completion of the birthing process and I feel like I planted a flowering tree in the barrenness of that birth experience.

    If anyone is reading this wondering – like I did – if you’ve waited too long because your baby isn’t three days or one week or two month old, please be encouraged to follow your heart and create a rebirth!

    Peace and love,
    Jen

    • Holly says:

      Thank you for sharing your story Jen. I am so happy that your Rebirthing was a healing experience 🙂

  9. Linda Wardlaw says:

    Holly, (and Caroline & Jen),

    Thank you so much for sharing your very intimate and personal moments. Such wonderful and powerful moments you all had.

    As a doula, I’m very aware of how much empathy I share with my clients but I hadn’t expected to be SO very deeply moved by stories of beautiful birthing women who I’ve never met. Many tears and a real ache in my heart for you all…. followed by a beautiful feeling of serenity and joy that you gained so much from your re-birthing experiences.

    I will now include this suggestion when I’m working with birth trauma clients, and of course any of my hypnobirthing or doula clients who don’t get the birth they had dreamed of. I’m more than happy to spend time with these amazingly strong women if they wish to reenact their births and I sincerely hope I can convince the NHS midwives involved to give of their time too.

    Much love to you all.
    Linda
    Birth Matters MK

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