A topic that should never be taboo is birth trauma. There should be no shame as labor is very RAW. So let’s talk about it and acknowledge that it affects nearly a third of mothers, mothers who are most likely suffering silently.
First and foremost, birth trauma is defined as the perceived or actual injury to mother or baby. Most commonly perception of death is also another deriving factor that weighs heavy on birth trauma. Although this is the formal definition, birth trauma truly goes beyond that. It’s not just about the perception or the actual birthing experience that was scary or threatening, but really it’s the total overwhelming experience from lack of control, support, assistance and guidance from medical team but just the overall baggage of negative feelings that they held onto post delivery.
7 Tell-Tale Signs That You Had A Traumatic Birth Experience
I have a desire to avoid anything that reminds me of my birth.
- The moment you begin dreading doctor appointments and constantly delaying that visit to your friend who just delivered or even talks about another newborn, are some subtle signs that you experienced birth trauma.
I have frequent recurring memories of my birthing experience.
- These dreams can keep you up at night. And because some of these dreams can be so vivid, mothers tend to relive the same trauma over and over again making the recovery process a lot harder.
I have feelings of shame and guilt about it.
- As sad as it is, most commonly the newborn baby can actually be the trigger for the mother. These mothers will associate their babies to the negative experience and feelings that they had after or during the delivery. As a result, this will intervene with the mother-child bonding experience causing feelings such as guilt and shame to manifest in the mother leading to an all negative cycle.
I feel numb or zone out from thoughts, feelings, and surroundings.
- After any birth experience, mothers often view themselves as a shadow to their old self. If you’re lucky to come out strong, healthy and safe from the birth experience, then most likely your postpartum recovery is a lot smoother. However, if you’re left scared from the trauma, then chances are you’re likely to feel numb and disconnected, devoid of emotion because you no longer feel as how you were pre-baby. The desire to change is slim.
I have difficulty remembering parts of my experience.
- Selective memory is part of our coping mechanism. It’s instinctual for us to want to only hold on to the good and let go of the bad. In doing so, every time we try to recollect the memory, only bits and pieces come up. This is because we’ve conditioned our minds to only remember what we want to.
I feel/felt helpless
- Negative emotions that linger during the time of birth or even after can leave you feeling scared and helpless. Sometimes, we’re so tired and just the shock of everything leaves us numb and eventually making it harder for us to talk about it when we want to. Slowly we coward in our thoughts and keep silent. The dangers of this would be experiencing anxiety or panic attacks.
I feel low and unhappy
- Constant state of unhappiness is a huge tell-tale sign that you are in dire need of help especially during postpartum. Some mothers experience these feelings long after giving birth, but with proper help and support, reaching out for help is the best thing you can do to save yourself and your baby.
REMEMBER - YOUR FEELINGS ARE VALID
A traumatic birth can be a very emotionally and physically scarring experience if you do not take the time and space you need to heal. Every mother deserves to have a great memory of bringing your child into the world, so if you feel ashamed or guilty about how you birthed your baby, I strongly hope you remember that what you did was nothing short of a miracle!
We encourage you to join our 24/7 Telegram Mommy Hotline as there are mothers alike who share experiences from the scary, the good, the funny, the traumatic all in our safe haven. Because that’s what safe should feel like. Sharing with no judgements but instead we empower our mothers through lots of love and support ❤
I hope this information helped you recognise that you are not alone and however you feel is completely normal for postpartum mothers. Stay strong, Boss Mamas!