How to deal with the trauma of giving birth
Giving birth to a baby is one of life’s most exciting moments for many mothers. You’re bringing into the world a tiny new human being, one you love more than anyone else. You’re eager to meet your little one.
In an ideal world, birthing would be a painless and uplifting experience. In an ideal world, everything would go according to plan and you’d have your bundle of joy without any delays.
This is not always the case. According to a study conducted recently, up to 45 percent of mothers who give birth experience trauma.
WHAT IS A TRAUMATIC BIRTH EXPERIENCE?
When a mother feels discomfort or distress while giving birth, this is a traumatic experience. Each woman is different, so each new mother will experience trauma in a unique way.
Contrary to the meaning of this term, a traumatizing birth experience does not necessarily result from a physical birthing problem (e.g. uterine inversion, emergency C-section).
The trauma in many cases can be psychological, e.g. stressing over delivering a baby at a COVID-19 hospitalspan dc=”none “>). Even when things go according to plan, birthing can be physically and emotionally exhausting.
THE PHYSICAL AND EMOTIONAL EFFECTS OF A TRAUMATIC BIRTH
New mothers who have experienced a traumatic delivery are often left with both physical and mental pain.
After giving birth, all new mothers feel physically exhausted. It’s normal for the muscles to be sore after birth, since they were strained during contractions. Vaginal bleeding, as well as vaginal pain and soreness, are also common. In addition, hormones can fluctuate a lot, which makes new mothers more emotional than usual.
It takes six to eight weeks on average for the body after birth to fully recover.
Many women experience psychological problems after childbirth, in addition to physical trauma.
One in seven mothers will experience postpartum depression. Women can become depressed, lonely, and hopeless when this occurs. These feelings can often be expressed in a lack of appetite or sex desire, as well as a decrease in appetite. Women with postpartum depressive disorders may also have difficulty bonding with their babies.
Although extremely rare, postpartum psychosis can cause dangerous behaviors and thoughts in new mothers. You should seek immediate medical attention if you or someone else who has recently given birth experiences hallucinations or paranoia.
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
Depending on the severity of their birthing experience, some mothers may develop PTSD. In one study, mothers with less education, less prenatal care, and premature births were more likely to develop PTSD. Research also shows that mothers with depression, those who have experienced childhood sexual abuse or domestic violence and new mothers are more likely to suffer from PTSD.
PTSD affects the well-being of a new mom, but it can also harm romantic relationships. Women who have experienced a traumatic pregnancy report, among other things, a lack in sex with their partner and disagreements over the birth.
Now you know what a traumatizing birth is, and what it can cause a mother to feel in the aftermath, let’s move on to the important part of the puzzle. What women can do to get over these feelings and lead their best life.
POSTPARTUM HEALING: HOW TO OVERCOME A TRAUMATIC BIRTH EXPERIENCE
A traumatic birth can be devastating from the start. There are ways to cope with the trauma.
You may need some time. As long as you are committed to improving your mental space and becoming the mother you were born to be, this challenge will pass before you know. Here are some tips to help you achieve that.
1. Consider your experience
You may be tempted not to think about your trauma, but it will remain buried unless you face it. It all starts by being honest with yourself. Spend some time reflecting on what you have been through, and why you feel as you do. You might try journaling whenever you have a few minutes to clear your head.
After you have processed your thoughts, you should share them with your partner, family and friends. Do not share more than what you feel comfortable sharing. The sooner you talk to someone about your struggles, the quicker you will feel lighter.
2. Enjoy your time with your newborn child
After a difficult birth, it’s common for new mothers feel distant from their infants. You may not be able prevent these feelings, but you can try to address them by spending more time with your baby. You can get through the difficult period by easing into skin-toskin contact, and breastfeeding your baby when you feel comfortable.
3. Speak to a professional about traumatic birth
You need to realize that you are not alone in this situation. Talking to your partner, friends, or family about what you’re feeling and thinking can be beneficial, but it may be better to speak with a third party if things get really difficult after birth.
Even if you don’t suffer from postpartum depressive disorder, it can be difficult to heal emotionally when you welcome a new baby into your life. A professional therapist that specializes in treating mothers can make a huge difference.