Last week, I came across a heart-wrenching account of a mother grappling with symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder following the birth of her child, often referred to as 'Birth Trauma'. Every day, she found herself reliving the birth, tears streaming down her face. The mere thought of visiting a doctor sent her spiraling, and she compulsively checked on her baby, even when he was right beside her. Tragically, she couldn't feel that innate bond with her son. In her words, this was the most devastating aspect of her ordeal.
Yet, the world around her painted a different picture. Family, friends, and medical staff continually lauded her for the 'beautiful natural birth', praising its serenity and her resilience. But their version starkly contrasted with her memories. She recalled agonizing pain so intense that she blacked out multiple times. She remembered the deep disappointment of not being able to hold her baby immediately. She felt exposed and vulnerable, with medical personnel continually entering and leaving her room while she lay bare. To her, this was nothing short of trauma.
It's imperative to understand that the only narrative that truly matters is the mother's, the one that's etched in her heart.
Birth trauma can be equated to the deep distress experienced by individuals post any traumatic event, such as veterans returning from battle or accident survivors. These events, profoundly unsettling, can be tough to mentally and emotionally process.
However, a pervasive stigma surrounding birth trauma exists. Many mothers hesitate to voice their pain, especially when everyone else perceives the birth as a joyful event. This silence often results in feelings of guilt and isolation.
Alarmingly, numerous healthcare professionals aren't equipped to differentiate between birth trauma and Postpartum Depression. Though their symptoms might mirror each other, their treatments differ substantially. Medication might not mend a heart shattered by birth trauma. Therapy is the most potent tool in aiding recovery from birth trauma.
If you suspect you're suffering from birth trauma, reach out. Speak with a friend, a healthcare provider, or consider joining support groups like The Birth Trauma Association.
For additional insights on Birth Trauma, visit:
The Birth Trauma Association (UK)
Birth Trauma Association (Australia)
Birth Tear Support
Cesarean Birth Support