For many of us, nothing went according to the birthing plan we spent so long putting together, researching what we wanted, physically and emotionally.
Maybe baby’s heartbeat couldn’t be heard so you could not use the birthing pool but instead were hooked up to all sorts of monitoring devices. Perhaps forceps were used, or you tore or bleed really badly.
Maybe you had to have surgery when you wanted a natural birth.
Maybe you were scared, not knowing what was happening, or being left for hours.
Maybe you had horrible reactions to pain killers such as being sick or passing out and missing it all.
Maybe you poo-ed yourself when pushing or there was a roomful of strangers watching you being stitched up.
Maybe your first experiences of breastfeeding were so horrible and painful, leaving both you and baby in tears.
We are lead to believe giving birth is going to be a beautiful, wonderful experience and thankfully it is for a lot of people but what if there are a few things that happened during your labour that you need to talk about?
Recognising signs of birth trauma (from Netmums)
- A response of intense fear, helplessness or horror to the experience of childbirth.
- Recurrent thoughts, flashbacks and nightmares about the experience.
- Feelings of panic when reminded of the birth.
- Either avoiding talking about the experience altogether or becoming obsessed with talking about it.
- Difficulty sleeping and concentrating.
- Feelings of anger, irritability and extreme caution.
- ‘Blaming’ your partner – or even the baby – for putting you through the trauma.
According to the Birth Trauma Association, in the UK alone around 10,000 women a year may develop Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), a condition that includes birth trauma. As many as 200,000 more women may feel traumatised by childbirth and develop some of the symptoms of PTSD.
It is important to first be aware that you have had some birth trauma. The team where you had your birth might be able to help by going through notes or talking to someone to help clarify events, giving you a deeper and fuller understanding of what might have gone on. This might help you overcoming some of the negative feelings within you.
You have been through quite a lot so be kind to yourself, be self compassionate, treat yourself like you would treat your best friend. Accepting help from others does not mean you are not coping but means you just need a bit of support right now, and there is nothing wrong with that.
Talking is very powerful but a simple way to feel like yourself again and come to terms with your experiences, and clear the negativity from the positive experience you deserve with baby.
If this sounds like the kind of support you need right now, then please drop me an email at email@example.com.