London - The editor of Grazia magazine has told how she still feels traumatised three years after suffering an agonising natural birth.
Natasha Pearlman, 35, said antenatal classes had left her in fear of intervention and the midwives assumed she would want to give birth naturally.
She said she begged a doctor on her knees in a hospital corridor for pain relief during a 33-hour labour before her baby was delivered using forceps.
The birth of daughter Rose in March 2014 had changed her "psychologically and physically" – and she has never felt the same again.
Writing in The Times, Pearlman said: "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 added: "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 four weeks.
Deep breath. In a lot of years of journalism I've never written about anything personal. This is pretty damn personal! But 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. One of things I'm asking is what stops us telling more women what childbirth is really like - and not just childbirth but the aftermath. It's not to put us off but to help us understand and maybe prevent some of the damage - psychological and physical. I think some people will disagree with me. But here it goes. #motherhood #maternity #birth Thank you @thetimesmagazine @nicola_jeal @dankennedyphoto
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"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."
But she said they were so biased in favour of natural birth that she was "left fearing all intervention" – despite initially believing she wanted an epidural. She branded the classes as "fundamentally no longer fit for purpose", adding that although she could have been more inquiring, her decision to go natural was fuelled by "in part because of fear".