EMDR/Birth Trauma In Orange County

First of all, you are an amazing brave and strong woman. No matter what happened in your birth. But let’s talk about what birth trauma is.

Birth trauma is a word that is often used, but many women wonder if their birth was “bad enough” to be considered traumatic. Birth Trauma is defined as distress experienced by a mother during or after childbirth. While trauma can be physical, it is often emotional and psychological. Birth trauma is not just about what happened during labor and the birth. It can also refer to how you, as the mother, are left feeling afterwards. Birth can be beautiful and it can be complicated. No matter what you experienced, if you continue to have vivid disturbing images of your birth (no matter how small or big) you may be suffering from birth trauma. Did you know it is estimated that 1 in 3 women will experience birth trauma?

Birth Trauma can include:

(but not limited to this list)

  • Unwanted induction
  • Having things done to your body that you did not want
  • Pressure to agree to a procedure
  • Cord being wrapped around baby’s neck
  • Not having an epidural take effect
  • Tearing and other physical complications
  • Retained placenta and/or placenta hemorrhage
  • pre-eclampsia
  • HELP syndrome
  • High blood pressure
  • Baby’s heart rate dropping
  • Need for oxygen or life saving measures
  • High stress in the delivery
  • Medical complications in baby

You are not to blame

and you should feel no shame in how you feel. Many women struggle when their birth plan did not go as planned, when they had to have a c-section or have more medical intervention than desired. Most of the time the end result is good and a healthy baby is born. However, this does not mean that you were ok with how the birth happened. It is ok to feel regret or anger or fear when you think about your birth, and especially if it was difficult, traumatic, or scary.

You may be triggered by a sound, smell, taste or experience that takes you right back to your birth. Your body stores these experiences and you may have a flash back to the room or a person.

Healing From Birth Trauma

Therapy is the one of the best ways to heal from birth trauma. EMDR is also an amazing therapy to help with birth trauma. I have seen many women process their traumatic birth and go on to hold the good parts of their birth and not feel afraid of giving birth again. I have seen anxiety decrease significantly and the triggers disappear. What a relief! Read here about how EMDR can help Birth Trauma.

I feel privileged and honored to hear women’s stories and help them to heal. My biggest desire is for you to live free from the trauma of your birth and feel whole and well again and to be able to be the best mom to your baby and family.

birth trauma

What is EMDR and how do I know it is a good fit for me?

EMDR stands for Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing.

It is a powerful form of therapy that helps people heal from trauma, negative feelings and other distressing life experiences. EMDR therapy has been extensively researched and is designated as an effective therapy for trauma by the American Psychiatric Association, World Health Organization and more. (emdria.org)

As a therapist focused on working with mothers and moms to be, I have found that EMDR is very effective for many issues that women are dealing with. I am specifically trained in EMDR for perinatal trauma. If you had a difficult or high risk pregnancy, miscarriage, infertility, traumatic birth and/or NICU stay, you may be experiencing some symptoms of post-traumatic stress. Often times, women live their lives with regret, sadness or anger about their pregnancy and birth experience. You may have people minimizing what happened to you during birth and they wonder why you still have questions or doubts about why it did not go the way you expected. Our society expects you to move on and be strong, to get over what happened and stop grieving or wishing that things were different. It is ok that you still hold on to lost dreams of your birth experience or continue to grieve the loss of a baby.  Grieving is a normal part of making sense of a difficult pregnancy, birth, infertility, loss, post birth, or NICU stay.

I want to loan you some hope and offer a way of resolving the feelings and traumatic memories you have by offering therapy and EMDR as an answer. 

How does EMDR therapy work?

No one knows exactly how any form of psychotherapy works in the brain. We know that our brains have a natural way to recover from traumatic memories or events. This process involves different parts of the brain and how it processes difficult and upsetting experiences. Some events are so upsetting that the normal communication between the different areas in the brain becomes blocked and cannot be processed and integrated without help. This stress response is part of our natural fight, flight or freeze response. When distress from a disturbing event remains, the upsetting images, thoughts and emotions may create overwhelming feelings of being back in the moment, or of being “frozen in time.”

EMDR therapy seems to have a direct effect on the way that the brain processes information. It helps the brain process these memories and allows normal healing to resume. When normal information processing is resumed following a successful EMDR therapy session, you no longer relive the images, sounds and feelings of the disturbing event or experience.

Is EMDR the right kind of therapy for me?

If we determine that EMDR is the right kind of therapy for you, then together we will create a timeline about any trauma or distressing events that you have experienced up until now with the focus on the current situation you are seeking therapy for. As your therapist, I will then lead you through preparation exercises to get ready for the processing part of EMDR. We will look at any negative images, beliefs and body feelings related to the event(s) and then find a positive belief that you would like to have about yourself and the event(s) when the issue(s) is resolved.

I typically use “buzzers” where you hold one in each hand and it vibrates back and forth. If you prefer, you can also follow my fingers as I move them across in front of your eyes and you follow them. EMDR can be done through virtual sessions and I will teach you how to use butterfly tapping. You will be guided to notice what comes to mind after each set. This is where the brain begins to reprocess the difficult and/or traumatic experiences you are seeking help for. The amazing thing is you don’t have to talk about everything that has happened to you in detail. It is designed to access your natural healing process in the brain through the tapping, sounds or alternating eye movements. You let your brain do the work and it is an amazing transformative experience for most people and is typically done in less time than traditional therapy.

EMDR for moms/women helps with:

  • Birth Trauma
  • Miscarriage/Infant Loss
  • Infertility
  • Anxiety about an upcoming birth
  • Preparing for Motherhood
  • Premature Birth
  • NICU stays
  • Anxiety/Fears/Phobias
  • Worries about baby’s health
  • Post Birth Recovery


How Do I start EMDR Therapy?

1) The first step to starting therapy with Malaika is to contact me for a free 20 minute phone consultation to see if I’m the right fit for you or your child. If I determine that we are not the right fit or I can’t meet your needs then I will give you referrals to other trusted therapists in the area who can work with your specific situation. If I do not currently have openings then I will also give you some good therapist referrals 2) If we are a good fit, then I will send you the link to my online confidential portal (HIPPA compliant) to fill out the initial paperwork and sign consents. When this is completed we will schedule your initial session either in my office or online. (your preference) My office is located at the corner of Oso and Marguerite in Mission Viejo. 

3) We will meet together initially where I will gather more history and information about your life and experiences and then make goals together for EMDR. I also offer traditional therapy and this is often combined with EMDR if needed. I will give you more information about how the EMDR process works and answer any questions you may have. 4) Typically sessions are 50-55 minutes. However, with EMDR it is often helpful to schedule 90 minute sessions. The cost for a 55 minute session is $185 and a 90 minute session is $275. (For more information on fees and insurance visit my FAQ page) We will discuss your specific needs during our initial meeting. It is best if using EMDR that we meet at least once a week. However, I am flexible depending on your needs.  I encourage you to ask any and all questions you have about working together and I will continue to check in with you about your goals and the progress you are making.

Contact me Today To Schedule Your Free 20 minute phone consultation to learn more about EMDR and how it can help you.



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