What is a Traumatic Birth and What Do I Do If I Had One?

Pregnancy, birth, and motherhood — three things that are often fantasized about, and with good reason. We daydream about getting that positive test, growing a sweet baby bump that we display under flowing summer dresses and eventually giving birth to a beautiful baby, who we take home and love. This is the story for lots of parents — but not for all.

There are many aspects of this dream scenario that do not always go as planned, as you may know. Pregnancies don’t always happen quickly and they’re rarely completely easy. There’s nausea, weight gain and a host of other possible complications. We can generally dislike the entire process — even if the result is worthwhile.

But what happens when the delivery is not just challenging but traumatic?

Traumatic births are not discussed as much as they need to be. Generally speaking, the mentality is that once the baby is out and healthy, we should simply be grateful. Childbirth is difficult, right? Does any of it matter if your baby is here and healthy? You’re okay, so why dwell?
Trauma comes in many shapes and forms but is generally defined by actual or perceived harm, risk, or powerlessness, and whether the experience has psychologically impacted you. When we’re discussing birth trauma, this likely also extends to a fear of your child being in danger or harmed and this is not something that we, as parents, move past easily.

I have a client who came to me to discuss just this and has given me permission to share parts of her story.

The birth of her first child did not go as planned. Despite everyone’s assumptions that first births take a long time, this baby was moving quickly, very quickly. Upon the arrival of her midwives, the baby was on the way out and despite a desire to go to the hospital, there simply wasn’t time. Her baby arrived naturally at home, on her bed. She described fear, uncertainty and a complete loss of control during this experience.

While her midwives shared their excitement with comments like “Wow, what a birth!”, she felt scared, alone, and frankly, traumatized. This was not the birth she had planned for and there was no time during the labour to ready herself for what was to come. She was simply a passenger in her own labour. This ended up being not only fear in the moment but fear of the future. What if this happens again? How do I avoid this? What if things are worse?

What do you do after a traumatic birth?

Continued intrusive thoughts, flashbacks, and worries that do not subside are signs that you need to deal with the trauma. There are no “bad” thoughts or feelings. Our thoughts tell us a lot about our state of mind and they are worth paying attention to.

So ask yourself, where your brain is getting stuck and what you need to reframe or redefine the experience. Where can you take some control over your thoughts and your future experiences?

One step that many birthing parents consider is reviewing their medical records. Some may feel like this could be retraumatizing but when you’re ready, it can also be very helpful in understanding exactly what happened. When we’re experiencing a trauma, our brains operate very differently, and we don’t create a linear narrative of events. We often forget things and feel confused following them.

This is natural and a way for our brains to protect us from fearful events. That said, getting a good solid understanding of what took place can be helpful in managing your thoughts.

When we experience trauma, there’s no way of getting rid of it but we ideally want our lives to grow around it. Picture a large circle in your head, this represents your entire life. Now picture a smaller circle inside of that circle, that is your trauma.

Initially, this inner circle will be large and take over much of your life. Over time, we want the inner circle to shrink and the outer circle to grow. The trauma still exists but takes up significantly less space. If this isn’t naturally occurring over time, seek the assistance of a social worker or psychotherapist to help you.

One common concern with this type of trauma is feeling anger towards your own body. “Why did my body react this way when my friends’ bodies didn’t? Isn’t my body made for this? I should have been stronger.” Working with a therapist to challenge these thoughts and to normalize this experience can be very helpful.

Look for control where you can find it

Again, we cannot change the past, but we can learn from it. Knowledge is power, even traumatic knowledge. With the client who felt her birth was too fast, we will explore what she learned about herself and her body and what preparations can be made for her next pregnancy.

We have discussed self-advocacy, arriving at the hospital early and refusing to leave even if they send her away. She will also consider requesting a different professional to work with if necessary, so she feels more confident in her care. While we have no way of creating the perfect second labour, we can find ways to feel more in control and more prepared for the unexpected.

Finally, remember that most childbirth is traumatic to a degree. We essentially destroy our bodies to welcome life, and this does not always go as planned. I have four beautiful children and each labour came with its own challenges and experiences. How you experience this incredible, yet wildly intense experience is personal and should never be defined or labelled by anyone else.

Your thoughts and feelings are valid and matter. If you or someone you know needs support related to a traumatic birth, postpartum depression, or anything else motherhood-related, please reach out for support.

Source link


Toys for Girls


Toys for Boys


Craft Supplies


Baby Walkers

tips for doing this years christmas photo with your smartphone 1280x960
Best Christmas Gifts for Mom 2023
GettyImages 1387286644
Can a Woman Get Pregnant After Menopause?
Make Restaurant-Quality Lobster Mac And Cheese At Home
Screenshot 2023 09 27 at 10.04.36 AM
Peppa Pig Toys and Gifts We Love
kate middleton 1
When it’s not just morning sickness
gender chart
Chinese gender predictor to see if you’re having a boy or a girl
shay mitchells got the hacks to dealing with pregnancy swelling and charley horses 1280x1152 shay
Pregnant Shay Mitchell spills her hacks for pregnancy swelling and charley horses
TP x lierac feature
This cult stretch mark treatment promises results in eight weeks
Everything You Need To Know About Breastfeeding Twins Or Multiples
Everything You Need To Know About Breastfeeding Twins Or Multiples
Baby wheezing can sound distressing
Baby Wheezing: Types, Causes And Treatment
Sensory activities for babies are designed to engage
55 Sensory Activities For A One-Year-Old
Retinol When Breastfeeding
Retinol When Breastfeeding: Safety & Alternatives
Summer Fun Takes Flight with Viviana Malls Science Fiesta
Summer Fun Takes Flight with Viviana Mall’s Science Fiesta
15 Rebus Puzzles For Kids With Answers And Tips To Solve 2
15 Rebus Puzzles For Kids, With Answers And Tips To Solve
Child temperament is unique for each child
Traits, Types, And Tips To Manage
Sharks are the top predators in the ocean
50 Fun And Interesting Shark Facts For Kids To Know
TP x Tena
I peed my pants at the trampoline park
canadian parents drink less alcohol
Canadian parents are being told they drink way too much and REALLY?!
marie curie science roundup 750x422
Can role playing encourage girls in STEM?
best new period products feature
12 cool and sustainable period products to help manage your flow
Expresso Show LIVE | Parenting Advice | 9 June 2021 | FULL SHOW
Daily English Conversation in Parent Teacher Meeting.
Parenting styles Psych 2015