Making the leap to parenthood is a challenging transition and when a woman looks forward to giving birth, she may not know exactly how the birth will go. She would probably being advice by family and friend and her caregiver will also have their list of do's and don'ts. She has a basic expectation of respectful and protective from her spouse and from maternity care providers. This expectation includes the right to understand and to participate in health care decisions of herself and her baby. When these things are missing, the results can be hazardly traumatic.
Every part of this world, when a baby is born, a woman is expected to be grateful and joyful. However, when a woman has a birth experience that leaves her feeling traumatized, she is not only unhappy but can experience severe emotions.
How to assess a mom had a traumatic birth and is having emotional baggage?
There is no easy answer to this. What may be traumatic to one mom would be fine to another. Some births are obviously traumatic, but another mom might perceived that is not traumatic at all.
Therefore, if a mom perceived her birth as a traumatic experience, then it is traumatic!
To this mother, it is important for her to note that it doesn't matter what anyone else thinks about it, it only matters what she think about her birth. You might think that you healed or never ever realized you do carries emotional baggage till your unconscious mind telling you the other way around. This unconscious mind knows that you need to remove this black bags of unreleased negative thoughts and feelings from your neurology before it makes you sick.
Traumatic birth experience could vary and risk factors that varieties studies done over the years, found that women are more likely to develop symptoms if they have :
- emergency caesarean sections
- premature births or miscarriages
- feelings of fear for well-being of their babies or for themselves
- difficult deliveries that require instrumental interventions ie vacuum extractions, forceps, etc.
- feelings of helplessness or a lack of control during labour
- insufficient support from partners and or healthcare provider
- a history of psychological problems or trait anxiety
- high stress factor plus lack of knowledge induced unbearing fear
- a history of other traumatic experiences such as sexual abuse
1) Firstly, accept your feelings. It is ok to feel upset, disappointed after a birth. It is acceptable to grieve losing the birth you desired. Nobody should judge you on how you should feel and how you should behave.
2) Give yourself a time to heal. Don't put a time limit to it. The next time you feel a negative emotion well up inside, try something a little different. Rather than “coping” or ignoring it, take a moment to ask: “What is this trying to show me?” You may or may not get a clear answer. But still give yourself some time to really experience the emotion itself. Find a safe place to give the emotion expression. Then thank your unconscious mind for helping you to release it.
3) Find sympathetic people who understand your situation. If you have a sympathetic listener in your life, take the opportunity to discuss your feelings. Of course this may be easier said than done. Not everyone is sensitive to the problem. So find someone you really can confide in.
4) Don't hesitate to seek out professional help. Especially if your symptoms are intense, in example feeling suicidal or preventing you from functioning normally. Some professional help use hypnosis technique. Studies done that women who seek professional help reduced their feelings of self-blame and were more confident about their future pregnancies and life.
5) Pray and have spiritual self-reflection. It helps when you back to your roots and give it an overall heal from all aspects, physically, emotionally and spiritually.
6) Online resources is available to help mothers dealing with same situations. Do your homework or ask around to find a group that can really emphatises with your experience.
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7) It is important also for close people especially family, friends and loved ones to be aware this traumatic journey that this mom had gone through. Preparing for birth is a unique time in a woman's life. Women has the opportunity to be at the center for a brief moment when a time of pregnancy, labour and birth and to have those around her, serve her, listen to her and help her in any way they can.
How many birthing women are surrounded by people, including family at their birth that they didn't even want them to present? How many pregnant women must listen to the horror stories of others simply because they have a certain characteristics? A great birth team seeks to make the mother and her loved ones especially her spouse happy and supported so that they and the baby can have the best experience possible.
8) Be proactive. Some find helping other mothers help themselves. Some may find the work of advocacy fulfilling and satisfying. But, always remember that each mother's pregnancy, labour and birth is unique hence that is how human being is. You don't have to preach every single soul not to do the same thing like what you did and using your own experience to warn this mother that sounds fearful. That might scared them off! If you must, be tacky and sensitive and have sense whether it is appropriate enough or not to share your own experience. Spent time with these mother to seek positive birth experience of other mothers, and it might change their perception towards birth.
9) Move on by being more knowledgeable. Seek education and learn more about pregnancy, birth and labour. By knowledge, you are better prepared for your next pregnancy and birth.
10) Finally, make peace to yourself. It is not the end of the road. That is part and parcel of life and makes people grow. Though how hard it is, try to cherish that experience. Perceive it as when one door close, another door is open for you. Something could be amiss yet that is how you find gems in other means. Ever heard this phrase, "Every cloud has a silver lining?" That is what we are talking about.
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