3 step rewind for birth / perinatal trauma / trauma events
30% of birth givers describe their birth as traumatic and it is suspected that this figure is underestimated as many experience symptoms and not recognise their experiences a traumatic.
Birth trauma is a very personal experience. The term birth trauma is used in relation to how birth was experienced the person giving birth and not what it looks like to the observer. Partners, midwives and doulas can also experience traumatic responses as compassionate witnesses.
There are many symptoms of birth trauma including feeling fear, helplessness or horror about the experience, recurrent, overwhelming memories, flashbacks, thoughts and nightmares about the birth, feel distressed, anxious or panicky when exposed to any reminders. Isolation, high levels of need to control and hypervigilance surrounding babys well -being are also quite common manifestations in new parents. Consequently, they avoid and struggle with reminders which can include talking about birth, being in company of others getting pregnant or hearing the birth stories of others.
It is common for women and couples after a difficult birth to avoid intimacy and contemplation of ever having another baby. This is particularly challenging when friends are starting to have second and subsequent babies.
Challenges to voicing and healing from the experience are further compounded by platitudes from well- meaning family and friends – ‘at least you have a healthy baby’ or ‘welcome to the club’, ‘you’ll be fine’. This is particularly true of a lot of health professionals who may not have the skills or time to adequately support. Many new parents describe a fear to share their true feelings for fear of judgement and concern at their ability to look after their new baby. Understandably, a high percentage of couples describe relationship difficulties with their partners as a legacy of birth and postnatal trauma. Compassionate witnesses like midwives, doulas and birth partners can also experience birth trauma.
It is important to know that healing is very possible.
Left untreated up to 6% of affected mothers will go on to develop Acute Stress Disorder (ASD) and 4-6% will develop Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PPTSD 1 in 7 mothers and 1 in 10 fathers experience postnatal depression (PND).
Access to perinatal support for mothers with mild to moderate issues is very limited. Sadly, there is little or no recognition or support for dads experiencing symptoms of PND (postnataldepression). For the dads who don’t develop the PND, Melanie recognises that they do experience a range of heavy emotions associated with the impact of a traumatic birth or stressful postnatal period. Although rarely acknowledged, this is very real and overlooked. Birth and postnatal trauma resolution sessions are available for couples or individually.
You might feel overwhelmed by big emotions at times. Sadness. Anger. Confusion. Sometimes they all mixed together into one big negative feeling that feels overwhelming.
Maybe you just feel numb–you go about your life… like you are living in a daze not knowing what you feel or what you want. Maybe you feel simply just not good enough.
If being a parent is overshadowed by anxiety fear , anger associated with your birth or early days experiences of your baby help is available.
Contact me for more details
You will have the information you need to inform your birth and plan and to ensure that you and your birth partner feel calm, confident and assured.