Why now? How can giving birth create PTSD?
Birth is natural. How can it create PTSD? Women have lost much of the “naturalness” related to giving birth. This loss is cultural, as well as personal. How many women have seen a birth before giving birth? How many women have been present at another woman’s birth to assist and support her before giving birth? This loss of experiential understanding of birth takes a toll in terms of fear, excessive worry, and the belief that birth pain must be intolerable and therefore managed with pain medicines.
Annie Brook’s new books, Birth’s Hidden Legacy, Vol 1 and 2, gives supportive tips for parents and therapists helping clients who suffered from a difficult birth.
Women are no longer the “keepers of the birthing process” This is a huge loss in emotional stability
Modern birth’s fail to teach women what to expect when birthing. The late 1800s was the beginning of a drastic shift into medicalized labor. (See Deliver Me From Pain, by Jaqueline Wolf). While important to “save lives,” birth became more difficult when a woman was placed on her back, received pain medicines, and had not the pre-labor support to move, rotate, belly dance, and learn how to expect pain and work with it.
Even the best plans for a connected birth can go awry, and what is important is to be able to repair and recover from a difficult birth.
PTSD following a difficult birth is a real phenomenon
I have seen many women in my therapy practice who struggle to regroup emotionally, physically, and mentally following a difficult birth. Called “momma trauma,” women are creating support groups and finding ways to talk about their experiences in order to heal from them. Women can and should get relief from PTSD related to a difficult birth. Doing so will help with all the demanding needs of parenting. Therapists at the Brook Institute are trained to help you integrate and find relief from troubling memories, pain, or emotions left over from a difficult birth experience.
5 Tips to help Mothers Heal from Birth Trauma related PTSD
- Talk about it! Tell the story until it is finished
- Move, dance, draw, write poetry…use non-verbal means to also “tell the story”
- Forgive yourself! This is key to recovering so you can meet the demands of parenting
- Work it out through your body. If a C-section, finish that birth push (see Birth’s Hidden Legacy, Volume1, page 96).
- Get hands on support from a skilled bodyworker who knows how to work with trauma.
Finally, get psychological help. The Brook Institute therapists are trained to help you release feelings of guilt, remorse, anger, or anxiety. They can help your infant to settle more easily.