Processing your birth

Processing your birth

No matter what our birth involves it is a huge event.

It is a huge event that both our mind and body have gone through and we must not underestimate the impact it can have on us.

Often our mind can be very active and busy processing or reliving this experience over and over for a while. Or, it can go into a type of shock response where we don’t feel or think anything much about it – and we just carry on with life, because we now have a newborn to care for 24/7. The shock response will wear off at some stage and it will be at that point that the feelings will start to return.

 

What is a traumatic birth?

You cannot put a label on what a traumatic birth is – as everyone perceives experiences in a different way. What one mother experiences in her birth and labels traumatic, another mother who had the same type of experience may feel very differently about.

It’s the feelings that matter.

If you felt you experienced powerlessness, fear, loss of control or abandonment as part of your birth experience then some counselling or therapy will be very beneficial to you.

If you find that you’re struggling with anxiety, anger, grief, post-traumatic stress, bonding issues, guilt or low self – esteem, please seek some support to help you heal.

Within the first 6 weeks of your baby’s life your first point of contact should be your LMC who can refer you to further support if required. Many LMC’s will offer an opportunity to talk through your birth as a birth ‘debrief’ and this can be very helpful to understand more about your birth, plus give you the opportunities to ask any questions.

After your baby is 6 weeks old your GP or Plunket would be your point of contact to seek further help.

You can also reach out to me (helen@positivebirths.co.nz) for a birth debrief exercise or to do some therapy to help you release and reprocess any difficult parts of your birth.

There are also practitioners available through www.healingbirth.co.nz.

Recognise how you feel and acknowledge it. It is not your fault and your feelings are valid. You will be able to move through these feelings, and it’s usually helpful to move through them rather than suppress them and hope they will go away.

Do not compare your birth to others, do not blame yourself. Understand you did the best you could with what you had at the time.

 

Here are 5 things you can do to help work through and process your birth

  1. Write it down. Write all your thoughts and feelings down. Journaling and writing can be very cathartic and get things “down on paper” help you release negative feelings and emotions.
  2. Talk to a trusted friend, someone who can hold space for you and not judge or criticize
  3. Talk with your LMC or another birth professional to gain further insight into the events around your birth
  4. Seek our counselling / therapy to help you process and work through your feelings.
  5. Make a complaint (if relevant)

 

Lastly, know that as part of our human journey we all have a variety of experiences. Some of these are amazing, some not so amazing. Everyone has different experiences throughout the life journey and there’s no point in comparing to others. Your birth is part of your and your baby’s life experience. There is no right or no wrong. It simply is. As humans we have an amazing capacity to heal, we are very resilient. You will move through this experience and you may look back on it in years to come in a very different way.

    Testimonials

    “We both loved our HypnoBirthing course and have really missed it since it’s ended. We found the course gave us a toolkit to not only prepare for the birth but to also cope with the general stress of big life changes. The strategies we developed during HypnoBirthing will continue to be applied even after the birth of our child. It really is a toolkit for life!”

    Sarah and Gareth

     

    … for the partners — do not underestimate your value, I know I could not have done it without Warren and our bond has been strengthened by such a powerful and emotional shared experience. He is my rock and already the best father imaginable.”

    Jess

    Positive Births

    021 130 6381