Regrettably, traumatic births can happen to any of us, and they can affect you for long after the birth of your baby. We want to help ease your trauma and assist you in taking a step in the right direction. So, we’ve found five steps to support you throughout your healing process.
There are plenty of reasons as to why birth can be seen as a traumatic experience for those involved. From experiencing complications before or after birth to suffering from trauma or injuries during birth, it is far more common than people think.
You are not alone with how you feel. In fact, research from the birth trauma association (BTA) suggests that, on average, each year, 30,000 people experience a birth they would describe as traumatic.
A traumatic birthing experience can sometimes have a negative impact on how you are feeling following the birth, these feelings could potentially include:
- Low self-esteem
- Relationship problems with your partner
- Bonding problems with your baby
- Fear of becoming pregnant
- Fear of childbirth
- Feeling like a failure
- Postnatal depression
Even though you might not have experienced an easy birth, it doesn’t mean you are any less a great parent. Read on to discover five steps to help you through your healing process, so that you can get better and treasure the precious time with your new-born baby.
Talk to Friends and Family
It’s extremely important that if you are experiencing any negative emotions after birth, not to suppress how you feel. The best way for you to heal and prevent further stress or impact on your mental health is to talk about your feelings.
It would be wise to confide in trusted people as you might face unexpected reactions from some people, especially if they haven’t given birth or their birth was different to yours. Therefore, if you are looking at friends and family for support and a shoulder to cry on, make sure to choose those you can rely on and are comfortable around. It might be a best friend, a sister, a mum, someone close to you who will be understanding of your trauma.
Although it might be hard for you to face those feelings again, if you don’t talk about them and face them head-on, they could build up, and you might struggle for a long time to feel better. It could even have an impact on the relationships you have with your friends and family or worse, with your baby.
Talk to a Professional
As we have said, you are not alone with your birthing trauma, especially if your partner was there with you witnessing it and supporting you through or after the distress. They might be struggling to come to terms with what happened, or instead, they might not know how to support you. There are options available for you both to speak to a professional, separately, or together as a couple.
Professionals will have experience in helping others who have been through similar types of ordeals. They will be able to provide you both with insight and advice to assist you in getting on the right track and helping you feel better, both mentally and physically.
Focus On Connecting with Your Baby
The trauma might have made you distant from your baby following birth. A good step to help you through your healing process is to spend time with your baby, devoting time to bond with them. Some ways you can bond with them include:
- Cuddling them
- Talking to them
- Singing them songs
- Having skin-to-skin contact with them
- Making facial expressions to them
It might feel tough to do this, so take it at a slow step to step pace, and only do what you’re comfortable with. Slowly introducing the above actions into your routine will help you to get to know your baby and connect with them. Bonding is a vital part of their development process and could be the right setp following your trauma.
Take Care of Yourself
Having a new-born baby is tough; it completely changes your life and routine as you once knew it. You’re faced with a completely new routine, left to figure it out on your own. You’ll likely be tired from lack of sleep and physically and mentally exhausted from the recovery of your birth.
You need to ensure that you are taking care of yourself as well as your baby. Doing the following can help you to feel more human and assist in your recovery:
- Eating a healthy, balanced diet
- Keeping hydrated
- Rest when possible – perhaps resting at night might be hard, so when your baby sleeps, try to sleep too. You need all your energy.
- Continue your interests
- Be active
- Socialise with friends, family or even strangers – there are plenty of baby groups for parents
- Accept help from those wanting to support you
- Make sure your partner is part of the care routine
Don’t Compare Your Birth to Other People’s
Although everyone hopes that they will have a pleasant and planned birth, unfortunately, no one’s birthing experience is the same. Each person will have a unique experience. Some people might be fortunate enough to experience an easy, pain-free birth, with little to no problems or assistance. Whilst there will be others who will face a traumatic birth experience with many complications and severe pain.
But just because you didn’t have an enjoyable birth like someone else has done, it doesn’t mean that you are any less of a mother or that it is your fault. The human body is incredible, but no two bodies are the same, just as no two babies are the same.
Comparing your birth will only leave you feeling unhappy and resentful. Instead, focus on your feelings and try to find a way to move forward. Though your birth experience will always be a part of your journey as a mother, it doesn’t define you.
Did These Tips Help You Heal from Your Traumatic Birth Experience?
It might currently feel like you’ll never get over your experience, but you will. Make sure that you focus on healing and don’t dwell on the past. Take time for yourself and ask for help when you need it. Good luck!
Please be advised that this article is for general informational purposes only, and should not be used as a substitute for advice from a trained medical professional. Be sure to consult a medical professional or healthcare provider if you’re seeking medical advice, diagnoses, or treatment. We are not liable for risks or issues associated with using or acting upon the information on this site.
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