Birth trauma is never an easy thing to experience. For moms, it can mean anything from extreme physical discomfort from birth injuries, to unrelenting anxiety and depression. Birth trauma can stay with a parent for days, weeks, months, even years. It can cause long-term Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). It can hinder a parent’s ability to communicate effectively, to cope with everyday life, and to care for their children in the capacity they’d like. It can also seriously affect relationships. In fact, there are things you can only learn about your relationship after birth trauma; things that are both helpful and hindrances.
I’ve experienced two traumatic births. The first was with my daughter. The trauma started when I went into labor unexpectedly at just five months gestation. I remember my heartbeat was so fast the doctors couldn’t figure out if they were listening to mine or the baby’s. There was concern for my wellbeing, as well as for the baby’s, though unfortunately, after I gave birth, she didn't live for very long.
The second birth trauma happened when I had my son. We tried for a home birth, but it quickly went south and I had to be transferred to the hospital (which was, quite fortunately, across the street). Because my son was born sick, he was transferred to the Level III NICU across town, and my trauma spanned from my labor till two months later, when I finally brought him home. My relationship with my husband has never been the same since, in both good and bad ways. These are some of the things I learned from these experiences in relation to my partner.