Having worked with women and their partners in the birth world since 2010, one thing that saddens me the most is seeing women or their partners suffering due to a previous traumatic birth experience. One that they relive on a daily basis, alongside feelings of sadness, anger or loss about the birth that they had experienced. The effects of Birth Trauma can go as far as stopping that person from never wanting to have children again, because the idea of placing themselves in such a vulnerable or perceived life threatening position is not something that can ever be considered again. After all isn’t childbirth the most unpredictable event in a person’s life!?
*Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) develops following a stressful event or situation of an exceptionally threatening or catastrophic nature, which is likely to cause pervasive distress in almost anyone. PTSD is a disorder that can affect people of all ages. Around 25–30% of people experiencing a traumatic event may go on to develop PTSD. – *NICE Guidelines (2005)
Symptoms of PTSD can range from flashbacks to the event, and subsequent anxiety feelings that go through their body (shallow breathing, tightness in chest) as if you are back there again, poor sleep patterns, sometimes waking in the night after having a reoccurring nightmare about the experience. It may be that the experience is pushed away and not ever thought about, as it is far too difficult to think or talk about, many will ask family and friends never to speak of childbirth in front of them again. Some may also feel a lack of bonding with their baby as they are a constant reminder of the trauma! And these are just a few of the symptoms that can be experienced!
So, it makes perfect sense to me why this is not something that would want to be repeated ever again!
And that is what I find so desperately sad!!! An event experienced in a person’s life that affects them so deeply that even the thought of having more children brings on an anxiety attack or reduces to tears, is a tragedy.
Many will suffer in silence, feeling like they dare not share how they feel for the fear of people thinking badly of them or judging them as a parent…..or worse case, what if they take my baby away!
Feelings if shared, can be brushed aside by well meaning loved ones ‘Pull yourself together!’ ‘You have a healthy baby at the end of the day’ leaving that person to feel as if their feelings are completely irrelevant and not important at all.
But the good news is that there is something that can help this! A simple yet powerful technique that can lift the crushing feelings of PTSD from someone’s shoulders. A recent client I worked with using this technique said the following afterwards
I met with Steph after being diagnosed with PTSD/birth trauma 20 months after giving birth to my daughter, and felt instantly at ease and comfortable. we met on three occasions over 4 weeks, and from the second session I felt a huge sense of relief like a huge weight had been lifted. I was worried I’d need something more intensive than these sessions but it’s worked wonders! it’s a very gentle and relaxing course, and Steph is very calming and makes you feel so comfortable. I walked into our first session full of fear guilt and anxiety petrified at the thought of ever having to give birth again, and walked out of our last feeling like a different person! The words can’t express my gratitude enough, but Thank you so much Steph!’
If you recognise yourself in this post or think someone close to you may be suffering in silence, please do get in touch.