Conditions that threaten women’s lives in childbirth & pregnancy

Family life

A life-threatening emergency in childbirth not only affects the parents but it can have a significant effect on their children (for relationships with partners and other relatives see ‘Relationships with partners and family’). The women and men we spoke to had a range of views. Some felt that their emergency had had a profound effect on their children, others felt that it had not impacted their children much at all, or even improved their relationships with them.

Several felt that what they had to cope with in the early weeks and months affected how they were as parents.
Some felt the impact had lasted well beyond the immediate emergency and time in hospital.
Belinda had a very difficult birth with her first child. She feels her life threatening emergency “triggered all of the post-natal depression, I have no doubt. And it’s also damaged my relationship with my daughter.” Jo felt that her placental abruption (the placenta separates from the lining of the womb) and son’s emergency delivery affected the way they bonded.
Other parents did not feel that their life-threatening emergency had much of an effect on their children. Farkhanda felt that although her older sons were affected by her illness and long hospital stay, as soon as she was home, they forgot about it. Alex felt similarly that any impact was short term.
Mark’s wife had a placental abruption and emergency caesarean section 4 years ago and he felt it was no longer an issue, “for me it's in the past, its’ done”. Clare, who had a deep vein thrombosis (DVT or blood clot) after her second child was born thinks it must have been hard on her older daughter for a while when she couldn’t be an active parent, but now, “I don’t think she notices that much actually.”
Some reflected on how their life-threatening emergency had improved their relationship with their children, both those born at the time and older siblings.

Last reviewed April 2016.


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