If you feel traumatised by your birth, here’s what you can do.

Your birth is an experience that lives in your very being in a very profound way.  “It’s just a day in your life” is not just an under statement, it just couldn’t be further from the truth.  In fact, this attitude makes me angry.  It invalidates the experience which is very real for women.  In order to look after your baby, you need to look after yourself.  Debriefing your birth, self care and community support are all needed.

My first birth was a fairly easy birth in a Birth centre.  I felt exhilarated.  Like I could do anything.  My second was a caesarean and I felt angry at myself that my baby had been traumatised.  I felt like less than myself.  My following 4 births were again exhilarating births in the comfort of my own home.  When I listen to women’s stories, or read their posts on Facebook about needing to talk to someone, about feeling like they aren’t coping in some way,  I often sense guilt and shame around the the feeling of ‘not coping’.  I want to reach over or into my computer and give this woman a huge hug and say “I hear you”, “let me listen to your story and acknowledge your experience’, ‘let me show you some ways to help you cope and heal so that you can give the absolute best of yourself to your child and your family’.

Birth transforms a woman on many levels.  It’s supposed to.  It’s supposed to transform you into the next phase of your life.  Just like a butterfly makes its cocoon, almost melts away into nothingness, just leaving the very last remnants of it’s DNA then re-forms through the process of Metamorphosis, as do women, in birth, have a similar experience.  Birth doesn’t need to be traumatic and for many women it is an empowering and positive experience.  For those for whom it is not this, we need to acknowledge and support healing in a very practical way, as mum still needs to be able to look after baby.

Sheila Kitzinger, a very loved and admired Birth advocate, referred to very aptly as the  “High Priestess” or Birth, founded the very first Birth Trauma hotline and was passionate about supporting women to debrief their birth and to have a space to tell their story.  The women she worked with were experiencing Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), but their experience was not only unacknowledged by professionals and community, but even denied.  PTSD is yet another taboo for women that has been swept under the carpet for way too long, despite efforts from women such as Sheila Kitzinger and many, many others to bring greater awareness to the issue.

There are many reasons women feel trauma after birth.  For example, when a woman feels she had ‘no choice’ but invasive intervention, birth doesn’t progress, baby is in distress or the baby is unwell or born premature and requires Special Care.  The often give line ‘as long as the baby is ok’ has good intentions but unfortunately minimalises the experience of the woman, which needs to be acknowledged.  Too Many women are walking around carrying their birth story like a burden on their shoulders – or in their heart – or in their belly – or in their pelvic floor.  It can colour everything that you say and do.

If you relate to this, if you feel you are stuck in overwhelm or crisis or perhaps preparing for your next baby, here’s my tips to find peace and healing.

  1.  Debrief your birth with someone who understands how profound the birth experience is for women.  Energy Healing is the quickest and easiest way to do this.    Here’s what one of my clients had to say:  “Hi Tara, thanks so much for checking in on me. I had quite a busy rest of the week (normal!) but felt and still feel much calmer and lighter about the birth stuff! There’s not been this sense of bitterness and feeling like a ‘wounded animal’….I can only describe it as more centered about it all. Yesterday I talked to my mum on Skype and for the first time had a conversation with her about the birth without getting emotional but more talking about it matter of factly. She also surprised me by telling me that she did a similar energy healing after my parents split up 20 years ago and she also felt much better afterwards. She smiled when I told her that I had sent love and light to her as she had a really tough week but somehow still felt very positive and energized.”  Julia
  2. Prioritise time for self-care.  It’s easy to neglect your own self care at this point and it’s easy to forget that you are recovering from your birth.  Get as much rest as you can and eat well.  Try some meditation, gentle yoga or journal writing.  You will probably need to enrol support in order to do these things (see next point)
  3. Enrol your tribe.  Family and community support not only takes the burden off you to allow more rest, but helps you to feel acknowledged and ‘looked after’ in your time of recovery.  You don’t have to do it alone.  In fact, we are not designed to do so.  Ask for friends or family to drop over food, help with housework, help with older children and to spend some time with you.  This way you are also acknowledging to yourself that you need time to integrate your experience.  You are showing love, kindness, forgiveness and patience to yourself.

As a Birth Educator, Doula, Yoga Teacher, Energy Healer and mother of 6, I offer a variety of ways to help you debrief and heal from your birth experience.  From private sessions, to group classes and  at-home programs to help you create your own self-care routine.  If you feel I can help you and would like to know more, please make a time to chat here https://calendly.com/darlingtontribe/15min  It’s absolutely obligation-free.

All of my services are available in person in Norwest Sydney or by Skype and online delivery.

All my love and blessing to you and your family for a quick recovery so that you can give the best of yourself to your family.

Tara x

 P.s How is your Pelvic floor?
Join our 4 Week Pelvic Floor Recovery Program.