Processing traumatic childbirthOctober 6, 2022
If you have experienced childbirth you know that often times what is expected to happen and what actually happens can be different. Maybe you had a fabulous birth plan and it was outside of your control or went nothing like you thought. You could have experienced a tragedy during childbirth. Did you experience a stillbirth? Research says that up to 45% of women have experienced a traumatic childbirth. What can I do? Maybe you are one of the 45%, so what can you do? It is important to know that everyone processes in their own way. Also remember the post childbirth hormones that you are experiencing contribute to your emotions and how you process.
Process in community
One important thing that you can do is process how you are feeling in community. Isolation and loneliness cause shame and feeling like you are alone. Start by telling your support person or close friend how you are feeling. Then, when you’re ready, you can join a support group or talk to others in a group who have experienced childbirth trauma. You are not alone!
Grief looks different for every person. Cry, scream, pray, talk, be silent, or anything else that helps you. You might do all of these things at once! Every grief journey looks different. Even if you had a healthy baby in the end, you can still grieve what you hoped to have. Sometimes it helps to write what you are feeling. Some people keep a journal, a blog, or process in a group.
Positive Forward Motion
Finally, take your experience and use it for good in your life or the life of others. Maybe you raise money for a favorite hospital or charity based on your experiences. Maybe you mentor another mother who has experienced what you have experienced. Often, keeping a gratitude journal in the early days can help refocus on what is good that is happening around you. Sometimes the best thing you can do is just keep caring for the children in your care and get out of bed.
We understand that it’s a process and not a linear one. Please reach out to us if you have experienced a childbirth trauma and you want to process it with one of our professionals. We have a number of trained trauma professionals who are here for you.