Birth Trauma - Traumatic Delivery
is distress experienced
by a parent during or after childbirth.
Birth trauma is a severe emotional, psychological, and physiologic experience which persists after the event of delivering and which is often related to the overwhelm of sudden and unexpected experiences; intense fear; unmanaged of pain; feelings of powerlessness, aloneness, or hopelessness; and, birth injury or threat to life of baby or birther.
At a time when many birthers express feeling acutely aware, in-tune with, and protective toward their body, these situations of helplessness and overwhelm have had difficult-devastating effects on their mental health long after the birth.
Using a gentle and somatic approach, we explore the way this trauma presents in your experience, e.g. intrusive thoughts, images or memories; collapse, dissociation or depression; hypervigilance, anxiety, or panic; strange sensations or pain that is unexplained, difficulty connecting to others, vehement emotions, changes in self-perception, etc.
Moving through trauma therapy after an overwhelming delivery experience can feel frightening as we explore the way the body continues to experience threat, so we do so in a highly collaborative approach, with you in the driver's seat and the phase-oriented treatment of Sensorimotor Psychotherapy (SP) to guide us through processing.
How do we 'rid' the body of panic, breathlessness, worry and rumination through the night, flashbacks?
We explore these in session, first to develop somatic resources that empower you to shift into a calmer state of being, then, with this confidence, we gently and slowly explore the indicators of trauma as they occur, in order to process.
We aim for progress over perfection and while many individuals notice symptoms greatly reduce, from time to time (e.g. new pregnancy, hearing a similar story from a friend or seeing difficult content on t.v.) they may pop up, and we learn what to do and how to manage this.
What does 'process' mean?
When we are overwhelmed with traumatic events, we often poorly encode what is happening to us and our mind and memory fill in the gaps with meaning, as well, while one part of us knows we are in the here and now and that the trauma has past, much of us feels locked into the past, continuing to try to avoid the trauma or survive it.
So, we process the way in which your body is trying to protect you, letting your body know that you are in the here and now and that you have options for safety and calm, and explore what is needed and what was needed, e.g. Words you wished you might have spoken, actions you would have liked to have had taken, difficult meaning that may have been made during the experience resonating within or unhelpful beliefs that were reignited through this process, may all be explored in order to shift and transform distressing symptoms through to a place where you may embody your survival and thriving.
Therapy helps us shift and move, to move through feelings of grief, loss, fear, anxiety, anger, aloneness, helplessness, hopelessness, shame, and hurt,
You are invited to call for a brief telephone consultation to explore how this may help you and to sense into the client-therapist fit.
Birth Trauma sometimes results in infant loss. This is may also be supported and gently explored using Sensorimotor Psychotherapy with a focus on grieving and the deeply personal meaning associated with this type of loss. Additional resources may be found here: Parentcare Support Society.
Suffering birth-related trauma increases risk for postpartum anxiety and mood disorders.