This is a partnered post.
Around 45% of new mothers report experiencing birth trauma, or distress during childbirth. Although there’s no one single cause of birth trauma, prolonged or difficult labor, pain, uncaring or unhelpful healthcare staff, or feeling a loss of control or dignity are commonly to blame. After birth trauma, mothers may experience a host of symptoms, including, anxiety, depression, anger, insomnia, intense flashbacks, and panic attacks. Although recovering for a traumatic birth doesn’t happen overnight, there are things you can do to help you process and heal from your experience.
Stop blaming yourself
Many mothers blame themselves for their traumatic birth. For example, they can feel as if they let their baby down by having an “imperfect”, complicated birth. Similarly, partners also deal with feelings of blame as they feel they should have intervened to help in some way. However, it’s important to know neither of you are to blame. No birthing process is the same for anyone and some are less straightforward than others. Know you did your best and that you’ll continue to do your best for both you and your baby.
Once you leave the hospital, it helps to get support around the home while you rest, recover, and spend time with your baby. Your partner, extended family, and close friends can play a key role in helping with small, everyday tasks you may find too challenging — especially if you’re recovering from a C-section or physical trauma. If your birth trauma was the result of medical negligence or carelessness, you may also want to consider getting legal support. A birth injury attorney can investigate your case to identify any wrongdoing on the part of your healthcare provider. By filing a birth injury lawsuit, you can win compensation to cover the cost of resulting medical expenses.
Bond with your baby
Many mothers struggle to bond with their babies after birth trauma and feelings of disconnect and separation can be common. Fortunately, simple skin-to-skin contact is one of the easiest ways you can bond your baby. Direct skin contact stimulates positive “love” hormones in the body to help facilitate bonding. Yet, even holding your baby lightly clothed can be a great way to start if skin-to-skin contact is too much at first.
Recovery after a traumatic birth ultimately takes time and patience. By learning to stop blaming yourself, getting help and support, and bonding with your baby, you can heal and make the most of your new life as a parent.