Giving birth is one of the most physical and transformative experiences of life. It is no wonder that sharing birth stories is so common. But what happens when our experience is fraught with fear, powerlessness, voicelessness, or even terror? Often, we don't want to tell the story. We don't want to think about what happened. And we are profoundly sad that this is the reality of our experience.
If you and baby came out of the experience physically well, you may be told my others to "just be happy you are both ok." People mean well, but this is invalidating and confusing. Any birth in which there was a time where you feared for your wellbeing or your baby's wellbeing, or in which you felt ignored, belittled, or intensely scared can cause birth trauma.
You might have birth trauma if, after the birth, you experience:
- Anxiety or a general sense that something bad is going to happen
- Sleep disturbances
- Being jumpy or easily startled
- An inability to remember some or all of the birth
- Intrusive thoughts or images from the birth during the day or in nightmares
- Feelings of fear, horror, anger, guilt, or shame that were not present before the birth
- Avoidance of anything related to the birth. This can include avoiding thinking about or talking about the birth experience, or doing so only when asked and with as little detail as possible.
Many who experience birth trauma decide never to have another child in order to avoid having to give birth again, even if they previously wanted multiple children. In this way birth trauma can lead to unnecessary loss. Working through birth trauma can give you back the sense that having more children is again an option for you.
As a result of processing birth trauma, you will
- be able to talk about your experience without distress.
- feel more at ease in your role as a mother.
- experience a sense of strength in your transition into life with your baby.
Request an appointment today to begin the process of healing from your birth experience.
A few years ago I was interviewed on the podcast Born to Be Breastfed about birth trauma. Listen below to hear about how birth trauma happens and how therapy can help.