For some women, giving birth is a wonderful, almost otherworldly experience. Others se it as a a tough but necessary way to meet their baby. And at the other other end of the spectrum are the mothers who cope with the ramifications of a traumatic birth long after the labor is over. Knowing what to do if you had a traumatic birth is crucial, because this condition is too often dismissed.
For the record, giving birth has never been considered the easiest of tasks. Even with the help of modern medicine, most births still involve some degree of pain, fear, and stress. For some women, though, the process of labor and delivery is exceptionally troubling. In these cases, it's possible to have a traumatic birth, or a birth that causes significant distress, as noted on Baby Center. The trauma could be caused by a physical difficulty, such as a tear, as well as emotional distress produced by feelings of powerlessness. Basically, any negative aspect of the birth could lead to lasting feelings of trauma.
The first way to cope with your traumatic birth is to accept your feelings for what they are. Acknowledging your feelings of grief, sadness, or fear following the birth is important, according to Baby Center. Trying to make yourself feel a certain way is ineffective at best, so it's better to come to terms with your actual experience.
Next, if your traumatic birth is causing exceptional disruptions to your daily life, then counseling may be a good avenue to explore. According to The Atlantic, treating a traumatic birth experience like a form of PTSD can help new moms adapt to their new reality. In fact, a form of psychotherapy known as eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) has proven especially effective, as further noted in the aforementioned article from The Atlantic. Help is certainly available.
For what it's worth, traumatic birth experiences are not that uncommon. In fact, according to Postpartum Support International, around 9 percent of women experience symptoms of postpartum post-traumatic stress disorder after birthing their child. If you do struggle with these feelings, then it's helpful to remember you are far from alone.
Thankfully, the crushing effects of these traumatic births on new mothers are finally receiving more attention. Caring for your well-being is more important than ever in the postpartum months, because you have the tremendous responsibility of caring for yourself, as well as your new baby. Both of you deserve to feel safe and secure in your lives together.