Did you have a traumatic birth experience?
Statistics show 33% of women who give birth report it to be a traumatic experience including 1 in 9 who meet the full diagnostic criteria for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
Trauma is subjective.
In other words, it is in the eye for the beholder. If you feel that your birth or reproductive experience was traumatic – it was.
There are many experiences in the perinatal period which have potential to be traumatic for some people. Some examples include: infertility, pregnancy loss, pregnancy complications, health concerns, near misses, feeling unheard, or feeling dismissed. Sometimes we experience trauma directly related to the birth and reproductive experiences and we work on that in isolation and sometimes the birth and reproductive trauma causes past trauma to resurface, which we can work on as well.
Untreated birth trauma can cause us to relive past experiences (flashbacks, nightmares), feel hypervigilant (“on guard” or “on edge”), avoid triggers, feel disconnected from or betrayed by baby/partner/our body. You might grieve preferred outcomes, blame yourself, and feel jealously, anger, or fear.
Trauma can have a negative impact on how we view ourselves or how we view the world. Having a traumatic birth experience is tough but there is hope.
Birth Trauma is very treatable
To treat birth trauma, I use an empirically supported and effective method called EMDR Therapy (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing Therapy). EMDR therapy for birth trauma looks like:
- First addressing symptom reduction and making the day-to-day a bit better ASAP. We will find coping tools and resources that help manage distress and help you to feel prepared to do deeper trauma processing.
- Understand your experience of trauma and the impact trauma has on the body. I will share information to help you understand what is happening in your body and brain as a result of trauma.
- Identify specific traumatic memories from the birth experience or past trauma to process deeper.
- Process through the traumatic and difficult memories so you can stop reliving them. In EMDR therapy, we do this by feeling through the memories rather than talking about the memories. This method can be a much faster and effective way to process trauma.
- We desensitize your painful memories. In other words, we remove the emotional sting and the reliving experience from the memories
- We reprocess these memories. In other words, we find more adaptive and healing ways to think about the experiences.
- Because we feel this through rather than talk about, we activate the deeper parts of the brain and therefore we can create more lasting change and healing.
To learn more about my perinatal mental health practice, click here.