Leading a Discussion of Birth Trauma - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 7 Old 11-24-2009, 05:51 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Our birth circle leader has asked me to lead a discussion on birth trauma for our next birth circle meeting (very AP/NFL group). I think she asked me, because I'm currently the only mother in our group who has had what she considers a traumatic birth.

I'm interested in what some of you think I should talk about that would be relevant to mothers of childbearing age, all who have had at least one birth that they thought went well. What sorts of things should be addressed under the "birth trauma" topic?

Here were some of my ideas:

Causes of Trauma and How to Prevent
* it can happen anywhere, with anyone (mw, ob, uc, hospital, birth center, home)
* transfer to hospital (how to cope, having a birth plan written, choosing a hospital)
* cascade of interventions at hospital (talking to nurses/mws/obs, informed consent, patients' rights)
* neonatal care (baby health plan, standing up to nurses/pediatricians, after labor support for mom & baby)
* PPD (how to identify, how to seek treatment)
* identification generally manifests 6-7mo after the birth

Healing Birth Trauma
* call it what it is and stand up for yourself
* healing is a process, not a goal, much like grief and loss
* dealing with the "anniversary" in a healthy way
??????

I guess that's where I need the help - the second part, about healing birth trauma. Aside from not letting anyone tell me "oh, it's fine - you should be happy you have a healthy baby," I really don't know how to address that part of the discussion.

Anything that could be added/taken away/edited is welcome! Thanks for helping with the discussion.

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#2 of 7 Old 11-24-2009, 06:24 PM
 
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#3 of 7 Old 11-27-2009, 09:51 AM
 
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What a wonderful opportunity for all--and one that I can't help but think will be a part of your own healing as much as anyone else's.

Some points to consider about healing from trauma--

1. You CAN heal. It may take time--more time for some than others, depending on various factors--but you CAN heal. We have enormous capacities for healing on all levels.

2. Help yourself by remembering any/all positive choices you made, and are making now for yourself, your baby, your family. Specifically, how did (and do) you nurture yourself and baby in pregnancy, at birth, and beyond? Identify those positive, powerful choices--affirm your power throughout the birth and after. You did your best, so in what ways was your best made manifest? Did you eat really healthy, or pick the best birth care you knew of at the time, did you work to nurse your baby (even if it didn't work out), or otherwise advocate in any small way for yourself and baby? Even being able to say "I made it through another day" needs to be affirmed!

3. Assign the right people the right things: if your OB disregarded your wishes, or practiced without evidence basis and ended up causing harm, that is NOT YOUR FAULT. If you tried to make your wishes known, THAT IS YOUR 'VICTORY'. Too often we survivors take it all on....grief and fear compounded by guilt that does not belong to us....believing that somehow it's *all* our own fault. Make distinctions to help be clearer about things.

4. Take responsibility. NO, not 'blame'. I mean, sure--own what you did or didn't do that contributed to all of what occurred, but *far beyond* that, take responsibility in the here and now for your healing and health. "This is where I am....hurting, angry, feeling broken, betrayed, abused, depressed, whatever. THis is me, my self and my life--only I can move on from here--I have the power to move on, to get help, to grow from this trauma"

5. Reach out, but try to reach out to the right people for the right things: we all know people who are just not good with 'feelings', but the same people might be wonderful at cooking a meal, helping us have a laugh, babysitting our LOs. So reach out to them for those things. And reach out to those with whom you CAN share your feelings--don't stay home holding it all in, feeling that no one will understand or everyone will think you're crazy if you admit what you feel...but getting it OUT is so important to keep from going crazy. If you're a talker, find people to talk to. If you journal or make art, do that--but find a way to share it somehow, we all need affirmation and getting it all 'out there' really seems to help.
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#4 of 7 Old 11-30-2009, 04:49 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Great ideas, thank you!


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#5 of 7 Old 12-29-2009, 12:31 AM
 
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You might get more ideas for your discussion at Solace for Mothers. What you have listed sounds good. If you have any want/need for research and stats, I can pull those up for you.

M.Ed. Mama to Chunka (1/07), Beauty (5/09) and Elizabear 3/12): Birth Doula (working toward certification) AAMI Midwifery Student, Advocating with Solace for Mothers & The Birth Survey

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#6 of 7 Old 01-03-2010, 06:36 PM
 
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Causes of Trauma-

removal of descision-making from the mother- not always removed by docs,
mw's but sometimes by partners and grandmas and friends.

a painful birth can be its own trauma, no physical scars need appear.

inability or lack of recourse for confronting those who help do the damage.

birth trauma can happen through no-one's fault, even when everything
appears to have gone perfectly.

Healing-

journaling helped me. I literally wrote letters to all of the mw's and nurses
involved in my care.

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#7 of 7 Old 01-04-2010, 02:11 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by heidirk View Post

birth trauma can happen through no-one's fault, even when everything
appears to have gone perfectly.
ITA. This was my experience, BT unrelated to anyone's actions/inactions, which fueled my PTSD and tailspinned into PPD. I think in some ways trying to deal with BT that is no one's fault can be a bit harder to deal with because at least in the case of a bad care provider you have a finger to point but in my experience I felt I had no one to blame but myself (my BT related to a very much unwanted but necessary c-section after 24+ hours of active labor and several hours pushing).

The most helpful thing for women who are healing from BT is to educate the people who are supporting her that the BIRTH is separate from the BABY. The labor and birth is the mother's experience, the baby is the end result (and obviously the whole purpose).

For the mother, she needs to recognize the trauma, which isn't always an easy thing to realize when you're surrounded by the refrain "be happy you had a healthy baby", and to grieve what was lost -- a loss of expectations, of wants, of physical or mental soundness, whatever.

Birth trauma is often closely associated with past sexual abuse or rape. The birth may bring up thoughts or feelings that were under the surface and leave the mother re-victimized all over again. In that instance dealing with the underlying abuse, and separating it from the birth, is probably most beneficial.

Shades of Blue, support and resources for postpartum mood disorders. You are not alone.
Mommy to J (5) and S (03/2009) . Hoping for a .... in 2010?
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