Birth trauma: causes and cure

The birth of your own child is one of the most beautiful experiences and something very special. But not every birth goes smoothly and quite a few pregnant women suffer birth trauma. You can find out how to deal with it and where you can get help in our article.

Hardly any mother finds it easy to talk about the difficult birth and her own birth trauma. One of the reasons for this is that it is considered a taboo subject in society. Mothers feel judged by others when they speak “negatively” about the birth of their beloved child. It is so important to talk about it openly!

Birth Trauma: When Birth Becomes a Nightmare

Birth trauma can be triggered by many factors. Because every mother-to-be is different and reacts differently in certain situations. Therefore, a difficult birth is not necessarily a traumatic one. In the same way, a “harmless” or “normal” birth can become a nightmare for a woman.

While doctors, partners and relatives can simply leave the delivery room during a birth, women giving birth are “trapped” in this situation. They have no pause button to press, no emergency exit to take. Dealing with it confidently, keeping the upper hand and simply pushing doubts aside is a masterpiece that deserves our round of applause. Because: that is not a matter of course. It’s no wonder that pregnant women sometimes react to childbirth with stress, fear and emotional chaos – no matter how much they are looking forward to their baby.

According to , other triggers for a traumatic birth can be :

  • Loss of Control
    What woman doesn’t like being in control of her body? At birth, however, she relinquishes control to her midwife, doctors and, last but not least, her baby. This can trigger an unfamiliar feeling of helplessness.
  • Degradation Showing
    yourself completely naked, both physically and psychologically, is no picnic, but it is essential during childbirth.
  • Insufficient support  (e.g. due to a lack of staff)
  • Unexpected twist  ( emergency caesarean section , hospital rather than planned home birth, etc.)
  • Violation of physical integrity ( “Husband Stitch” )
  • Anxiety about the baby ( premature birth , complications during childbirth , etc.)
  • stillbirth

Mom must not be forgotten

At the birth of her first son, mom Sina Vickers went through so much hardship she hardly knew what was happening to her. In her birth report she tells us that not only the suction cup birth of her son was associated with enormous pain and great effort. Even the afterbirth “didn’t want to come”:

“Infusion, acupuncture, injection, nothing helped, so […] rope around the stomach and press. I couldn’t take it anymore, everyone had always said that the afterbirth comes very quickly and is usually painless. However, that was not the case for me. [The doctors] then pressed from above and pulled from below and were about to put me to sleep for the scraping when it finally worked and with terrible pain. I could have had another child for this pain.”

Such a birth experience leaves traces, not just visible ones. Although Sina and her family are doing well today, the first few months were not easy. She also had little time to really rest and recover. After all, all the time and attention that new parents have is devoted to the newborn. That’s good and right, but mom must not be forgotten.

therapy and healing

After a traumatic birth, mothers are often afraid of becoming pregnant again and having another child. Other consequences of a birth trauma can be a difficult relationship with the child, depression, problems in the relationship and, of course, physical reactions (anxiety attacks, sweating, etc.).

If you are affected and want to face your birth trauma, there are various options:

  • You yourself
    It may sound strange, but in the first step you are the best point of contact for yourself. Self-awareness is the magic word here. Because your feelings, whether fear, guilt, anger, shame or sadness, are justified. Realize that it’s okay to feel this way. Look inside yourself and ask yourself why you feel this way – and if there is a way for you to let go of this feeling.
  • Friends and family
    Telling your friends, your family, your partner how you are really doing can be very liberating. Perhaps they have already noticed that something is bothering you, but didn’t dare to ask? Maybe they don’t even know what actually happened in the delivery room? Maybe they think you’re just kidding? You can clarify such questions with an open discussion and thus also get your worries and fears off your chest.
  • Midwife
    Your midwife is not only there for your baby, but also for you. So feel free to ask her if you have something on your mind that you might not want to discuss with your partner, friends or family. After all, she was also present at the birth and also gave birth to countless other children. She can therefore draw on experience and medical knowledge.
  • Gynecologist
    Your gynecologist was also present at the delivery and has known you for at least nine months. If she possibly contributed to your birth trauma, it is certainly good for your healing process if you openly talk to her about it. For example, she can calmly explain certain procedures, decisions or measures to you afterwards. That creates clarity.
  • Postnatal course
    During the postnatal course, you sit with a lot of mums that you already know and who just like you recently became a mother. The birth experience is still deeply rooted in them, too, so they can best put themselves in your situation. And maybe they had a similar experience as you, but didn’t dare to talk about it yet?
  • Center for mothers
    In almost every city there is a center for mothers, where mothers meet regularly and discuss everything to do with children, family, pregnancy and, of course, childbirth. If you are looking for a similar atmosphere as in the postnatal course, mothers’ centers are the first choice. It can also be an advantage here that you don’t know any of the women and can therefore open up to them more easily.
  • Mother-Child Treatment
    If you feel something is getting in the way of your relationship with your newborn, mother-child treatment can be the solution. Because this type of therapy is designed to find out together the reason for a difficult mother-child relationship. You may have suffered a birth trauma that you have been repressing subconsciously until now.
  • Psychologist
    Seeking professional help is not a sign of weakness, on the contrary. It shows your will, your willingness to heal. Especially if you are struggling with the loss of your baby before, during or after the birth, a visit to a psychologist is advisable. In a confidential one-to-one conversation you can talk openly about your feelings. We show you more ways to deal with the grief of a star child here .

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