Birth Trauma and how it can be treated quickly, safely and effectively with Birth Trauma Resolution therapy
‘She left the old story behind her and stepped into a new once upon a time’ – Rebecca Campbell
Understanding Birth Trauma
The following information has been brought together to offer support and comfort to women and partners who have been traumatised during childbirth, and will help bring a feeling of relief as you learn that there is an explanation for the horrific symptoms that you are suffering from.
The information is designed to help anybody suffering from birth trauma to realise that you are not going mad (even if no-one seems to understand how you are feeling) and that what you are experiencing is the body’s normal reaction to a traumatic event. People may ask you to pull yourself together, get over it, get on with life. But with symptoms such as severe anxiety, panic, flashbacks, and nightmares, they are outside your conscious control. Nobody chooses to feel this way.
The following guidance has been offered with the understanding that fast and effective treatment is available in Birth Trauma Resolution Therapy. BTR therapy can eliminate the debilitating symptoms of trauma, and return you to a feeling of strength and empowerment so that you can move forward with your life and enjoy motherhood, and form close familial relationships.
For most expectant mothers, the lead up to the birth is a time of mixed feelings. Most feel a sense of excitement, coupled with apprehension and even fear. Many will have attended antenatal classes, NCT, yoga, or hypnobirthing to feel fully prepared for this life changing event. Many go on to have a wonderful experience that stays with them forever. This is what we want for every woman as they take their journey to motherhood.
However, for some women what they are about to endure will mark their lives in the most catastrophic and devastating way. Some women report never really recovering from the ordeal. These women are about to be plunged into what might only be described as a living a private hell, terrorised by an invisible mental wound.
Around 6% of women are diagnosed with post-traumatic stress after childbirth.
However, it is believed that a further 20 – 25% of women have symptoms that go undiagnosed, particularly if they don’t meet the full criteria for PTSD. Many women are also mistakenly diagnosed as having post-natal depression, rather than post-traumatic stress. This leads to ineffective treatment, unnecessary medication, and a worry that they can’t be helped.
These women may go to their doctor, and because women who suffer from birth trauma often also feel depressed, may be prescribed anti-depressants. But unlike someone who is depressed, these women do not wake up in the morning feeling terrible lethargy, unable to motivate themselves and face the day. These women feel constantly on ’red alert’. They experience anxiety, panic attacks, and flashbacks (reliving the traumatic birth as if it were actually happening) and wake up in the night terrorised by their own nightmares.
These women can be described as:
‘A traumatised creature living in a private hell, terrorised by an invisible mental wound, helplessly in thrall to a powerful emotional memory of childbirth’
Adapted from ‘A New Approach to Emotional Health and Clear Thinking’ – Human Givens.
Many women are too scared to own up to how they really feel, for fear that their baby will be taken away from them. Women suffering from PTSD may reject their baby, they may have feelings of wanting to harm the baby or end their own lives. Owning up to such feelings then becomes a hugely guarded secret, increasing the feelings of isolation that so often accompany the symptoms of PTSD.
They may feel pressure to keep quiet about it as partners urge them to stop going on about it, triggered by their own feelings of being unable to help. They might be told things such as:
‘Can’t you put it behind you and be thankful that you have a healthy baby?’
‘You were far too unrealistic about giving birth, you expected too much‘
‘It’s over now, you have such a beautiful baby, you need to forget about it and get on with your life and enjoy being a mother.’
Many will report still going through the motions of motherhood, but with a feeling of disconnect from the baby and a lack of the normal feelings of love. They may become overly anxious about their baby’s safety – hypervigilance. Feeling intense feelings of anxiety that something terrible is going to happen to their baby, constantly on the lookout for danger.
But isn’t it soldiers who suffer from PTSD?
Although it has long been believed that only the military returning from war zones suffered from symptoms of PTSD it is now widely understood that any member of the population can develop PTSD following a traumatic event. Experiences ranging from surviving natural disasters such as earthquakes, forest fires and avalanches or survival of road, rail, air and boat accidents. Heart attacks, muggings, burning, or sexual assault can all result in the overwhelming and terrifying symptoms of PTSD. However commonly overlooked causes include surgery, the sudden death of someone close, the breakup up of a significant relationship, or a humiliating or deeply disappointing experience.
What is often very much overlooked is PTSD following childbirth and very little research exists in support of it.
I love neuroscience and what that understanding can do for the advancement of trauma treatment. I trained with Human Givens and believe Joe Griffin and Ivan Tyrrell to be truly gifted, offering humanity a new era in psychological intervention with its no fuss, non-psychobabble approach.
I have used this understanding, supported by my 17 years’ experience of working with pregnant couples, my own personal experience of suffering from the hugely debilitating symptoms of trauma / PTSD, and my study in this country and internationally, to create the unique and ground breaking Birth Trauma Resolution therapy.