“The axe forgets but the tree remembers.” ~ African Proverb
What is a Traumatic Birth?
To many, it is a birth that leads to a diagnosable postpartum mood disorder such as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Postpartum Depression (PPD), and/or Postpartum Anxiety (PPA). There are also many other possibilities for how a stressful birth can express itself after the particular event is over. Whether a person has enough symptoms to qualify for a medical diagnosis or not, symptoms and experiences can still interfere with daily life and bonding with the baby.
How to Recover from a Traumatic Birth?
Many people have different coping skills that can be used in recovering from a traumatic birth. Important to note, no matter what methods or therapies are utilized, recovery is not an automatic overnight process. All births take time to process and be incorporated into a personal history, whether it was ecstatic or traumatic. Many therapeutic methods can be helpful, no matter the overall birth experience.
Seek Professional Help
If a person has thoughts of harm, to themselves or their child, it is vital to immediately call emergency services and get emergency mental health help. After the crisis has passed, it is extremely important to follow up with a medical provider to discuss medication and psychological therapy services as a component of the overall treatment plan.
Exploring the birth, discussing it with other mothers, and having a support system in place is important for ongoing recovery throughout the process. A local ICAN chapter that hosts in-person support meetings and has a private Facebook group is a great place to start finding a mothering tribe.
Journaling the Birth Story
Writing down the birth experience, possibly also including the prenatal experience, is a great step in mentally and emotionally processing a traumatic birth. There are several ways this can be accomplished, with and without professional oversight. Finding examples and even writing prompts online can be an easy way to start when it seems too painful to put down the first word.
Read Birth Stories and Recovery Experiences
Reading other women’s experiences of birth, both positive and traumatic, can help hard emotions to release and be processed. Knowing that a traumatic birth does not stand alone but that there are others who have also experienced one can be a large part of the healing process.
No matter what components are added to a treatment plan for recovering from a traumatic birth. It is most important to actually start the recovery journey. Reach out today to the nearest ICAN Chapter Leader and begin the healing path.
Find a local ICAN chapter here.
Find the ICAN Traumatic Birth Recovery Pinterest board here.
Photography Credits: Frank McKenna; Swaraj Tiwari; Ben White; Ksenia Makagonova; Christopher Windus – www.UnSplash.com