There is a common belief about the way labor goes, the pains start, maybe your water breaks, and then you head to the hospital. When you are admitted everything goes normally, checkups, monitors, forms, your birth plan, but what happens when your labor doesn’t go as planned?
A traumatic birth involves danger or threat to the life of the mother or baby, so many scenarios fall under the heading of traumatic birth. The most common has to do with not being able to carry out your birth plan due to complications. But in practical terms, a traumatic birth is one in which the mother felt fear, threat, and even horror.
The hours around childbirth are moments that every mother treasures in her memory and in which emotions are at their peak, which is why trauma can haunt us months or years after experiencing it. It is also important to take into account that childbirth is a vulnerable time for women, leaving your life and that of your baby in the hands of a third party is not easy, even less so when you experience omissions or inadequate care.
Some of the symptoms experienced by women who have experienced trauma during childbirth are
- Having flashbacks or nightmares about childbirth that trigger a fearful or anxious reaction.
- Feeling a sense of emptiness and detachment, as if reality were a bad dream.
- Obsessively searching for answers to understand what happened.
- Reliving the birth over and over again in their mind, talking about it in a repetitive way looking for answers.
- Present anxiety and depression, sometimes an angry attitude towards their partner, family and doctors for not having acted as expected.
- Having difficulty bonding with your baby, and even identifying yourself as a mother.
If you have gone through trauma during childbirth, it is important for you to know that there is a way to overcome it, that you are not alone and that there are many tools to help you get through it. The main thing is to understand what happened, so you can write down your doubts and question the health professionals who were involved in your birth. Getting answers is often what we need to bring closure to a bitter chapter.
Seeking support from groups of mothers with the same experience or reaching out to a mental health professional is another step to take. Sharing your thoughts and feelings can be beneficial. If you don’t feel ready to express it yet, you can start by writing in a personal journal and try to make sense of your emotions.
Birth trauma can be sensitive in cases of perinatal death, especially when the handling by medical personnel was inadequate. Experiencing the loss of a child is traumatic, so seek professional help as soon as possible. Validating your emotions and prioritizing your well-being is key to overcoming difficult moments such as these.
In general, we can summarize that overcoming a traumatic birth requires a lot of courage, because we must first recognize that we are not well and we need help. Working on our self to find the way out is paramount. Be sure to take time for yourself, even in the chaos of becoming a mother, ask for timely support from those around you, and validate your emotions.