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
- HELP syndrome
- High blood pressure
- Baby’s heart rate dropping
- Need for oxygen or life saving measures
- High stress in the delivery
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. Having a therapist who is trained as a Perinatal Mental Health Therapist is vital to you making the most progress in healing from your traumatic birth. You can ask your doctor, friend, midwife or doula for a referral or go to https://www.postpartum.net for a list of trained providers in your area. You will be able to tell your story and learn ways to cope and process your experience so you can heal.
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! For more information about EMDR and how it can help, you can visit my EMDR page on my website. https://thenestfamilytherapy.com/emdr-therapy-orange-county/
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.