Last week I was reading a story about a mom who was experiencing signs of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder after his son's birth (Birth Trauma). She was reviving her birth story on her mind every day, crying, feeling upset every time she needed to go to the doctor and checking her baby hundreds of times a day even when the baby was next to her. She did not feel connected to her son, and according to her, that was the worst part of it.
However, her family, friends, and medical attendants praise her all the time about her beautiful natural birth, how amazing it was, how peaceful it felt, and how strong she was. But this is not how she remembered it. For her, it was painful to the point of blacking out a couple of times. For her, it was disappointing because she did not manage to hold her baby from the start. For her, it was upsetting seen all the doctors and nurses going in and out of the room while she was naked. For her, it was traumatic.
It does not matter what others believe, the only history that matters is the one the mother tells, the one that stays on her heart.
Experiencing trauma after birth is comparable to any person who had experience trauma after a stressful event, for example, ex-soldiers or accident survivors. It is a situation that felt extremely upsetting, and it is difficult to process for the mind and body.
Despite experiencing symptoms of birth trauma, many women do not feel comfortable talking about her feelings with others because of fear. If everyone else thinks the birth was beautiful, there is no reason why mom should feel like it was not. This can lead to guilt and isolation.
Many health professionals are not trained to detect birth trauma, and it is often confused as Postpartum Depression. Even though the symptoms are very similar, the treatments are not. Medication in case of birth trauma does not do much for healing a broken heart. Therapy is the best treatment for supporting birth trauma recovery.
What to do if you feel you are experiencing birth trauma?
If you believe you are experiencing birth trauma, it is essential you talk with someone about it. It can be a friend or a medical professional. You can also join a support group, like the one from The Birth Trauma Association.
How does a Traditional Postpartum Doula can help with your healing process?
Selfcare is vital while you are recovering from birth trauma (and birth in general). In México, as well in many other countries, the mother is honored after birth in many ways. One of them is by welcoming the woman into Motherhood with a Closing Ceremony.
A closing ceremony is based on the belief that the body and mind had to open for creating a new life. You become a Stargate that opens for bringing life to this earth. Therefore, after the birth, it is important to guide the mom into closing, so she can go embrace her new self as a mother. It is done physically with the rebozo, and mentally by a Birth Story healing exercise.
Do you want to know more about the closing ceremony? Send me a quick message, and I will contact you!
You are not alone! If you live in Copenhagen, join my support Facebook group "New Mom Copenhagen"
For more information about Birth Trauma, you can visit:
The Birth Trauma Association (UK)
Birth Trauma Association (Australia)
Birth Tear Support
Cesarean Birth Support