Birth trauma is a term used in the mental health world to refer to a mother having a traumatic experience during the birthing process. One myth that I would like to immediately dispute is that something needs to “go wrong” for a birth to be experienced as traumatic by a woman. It might be a fairly normal birth for everyone else in the room, but for the woman, it may have been experienced as very frightening and dangerous to herself or her baby.
Giving birth can be a very vulnerable experience. And while we see some changes in the medical community, it still often feels that the medical staff holds the power, and much of the information, not the woman giving birth. Perhaps at some point you felt extremely out of control, or that you or your baby were at risk for being harmed or dying. Sometimes those who experience a trauma develop Post traumatic Stress Disorder. Common symptoms of PTSD include:
Flashbacks to the incident
Nightmares about the experience
An increased startle response (jumping at sudden noises)
Avoiding things that you did not before
If you believe you may have experienced a birth trauma, and are having symptoms that are interfering with your day to day life, consider getting some support from a trained mental health therapist.
There is support available for you, and effective treatments which can help you with the symptoms you are experiencing. Jenny Schermerhorn, Licensed Mental Health Therapist. Specializing in the Journey and Transition To Motherhood.
This article is not meant to take the place of a relationship with a trained mental health therapist, or a medical professional. It is not meant to provide diagnosis of a mental health disorder. If you are experiencing a physical or mental health emergency, please dial 9-1-1.