Here are 3 things you and your partner need to know after a traumatic birth experience:
- It’s not your fault. You did nothing wrong. You did not deserve the things that happened. As a birthing woman bringing a new person into the world you were strong yet vulnerable and needed kindness, compassion, communication and support from everyone in the room. If you lost control or were disempowered you are not to blame. You are not less of a person or a mother because things did not go well, in fact you are a surviving warrior. It’s natural to wish that things had been different but please don’t torture yourself further with ‘what ifs’, you have enough on your plate already without adding regret to the pile.
- However unpleasant the symptoms that remain after a difficult birth, they are a normal response to what was a really stressful situation where you had no or little control, felt under threat and you feared for your life or your baby’s life. I say this to soothe any fears that you may have that you are losing your mind because re-occuring thoughts, nightmares or flashbacks can all feel very alarming and can long term can be very debilitating. The symptoms of anxiety, sadness and anger are all a natural response to what was a shocking event and in time these symptoms will hopefully start to ease. Relaxation, rest, gentle exercise (when possible) and good nutrition will all aid your recovery. Draught in help from where you can. Understanding friends and family, doulas, maternity nurses
will all be able to help in some way. Don’t feel you need to struggle alone because this new parenting malarkey is tough enough without recovery from a difficult birth added into the mix. Get the help you need and above all be kind to yourself.
3.You can recover. Whilst the symptoms of birth trauma are a normal response you do not need to tolerate them long term. If after a few months you find that the symptoms of heightened arousal, avoidance or re-experiencing are still plaguing you then treatment can help. If you find yourself going through the motions of motherhood and disconnected from others then therapy can help to re-connect and to begin enjoying your parenting experience. Please don’t suffer in silence and allow those heavy feelings to drag you down further. There is help out there and you are not alone in recognizing or understanding the devastating effects that a traumatic birth can have on families. All of the practitioners listed on www.traumaticbirthrecovery.com are birth workers know and understand the issues that can follow a traumatic birth. They have all been trained in a process that can lift the symptoms (usually in just 2 or 3 sessions) of trauma. Many have additional skills (doulas, antenatal teachers and midwives) which means they can provide valuable guidance for planning for a better birth experience next time if you find yourself pregnant again and re-triggering symptoms.