You were supposed to live the best day of your life, but the memory of your delivery does not match what you had dreamed. On the contrary, something tightens in your belly, a vague and heavy pain darkens your mood.
Remembering your birth, instead of calming you down, makes you anxious or causes you an uncomfortable emotion, even panic.
What is traumatic childbirth
Birth trauma is increasingly recognized and discussed by perinatal professionals. We realize that traumatic childbirth is part of the reality of some women and some men.
The trauma of childbirth can be experienced to different degrees, ranging from nostalgia to symptoms of post-traumatic stress. Some women will cry thinking about their birth, others will experience anger, anxiety, fear or a feeling of panic. His emotions are often out of control.
How can this happen?
Birth trauma can occur for many reasons.
It is possible that the dreamed or desired plan ofthe delivery did not turn out to be real. We can speak here of mourning for the perfect childbirth. Then, it is possible that the painful memory of childbirth comes from a problem that occurred during childbirth (emergency cesarean section, deceleration of the baby's heart, emergency medical intervention such as forceps, hemorrhage, fetal distress, etc.). Finally, this may come from a bitter experience with medical personnel or from the perception of obstetrical violence.
These last points are not yet sufficiently documented in the literature, but they would benefit from being so. Some women felt neglected, dehumanized, trivialized, ignored and even attacked during childbirth. Some remember hurtful words, they felt helpless, they panicked because they weren't told what was going on, they didn't feel respected.
Distress or panic during childbirth took over, spoiling the opportunity to enjoy the arrival of their child.
A great need for listening and recognition
These women unfortunately have little room to express themselves: often, those around them remind them of how grateful they should be to have a he althy baby or to be alive.
These new moms can't help but be bitter; they therefore close with these emotions, feeling little openness. However, they have a great need to be listened to and to be recognized.
It's importantthat these women do not isolate themselves. Symptoms of this type of stress are recurring nightmares, unpleasant "flashbacks", palpitations, dizziness, jerks or crying. Some women will even avoid seeing a doctor, going to the hospital, or talking about their birth. They will postpone or prevent another pregnancy.
What if I experience this?
The first thing to do: do not isolate yourself and do not bury your emotions in yourself. Not talking about it gives those who are going through it the impression of being alone and that it is not appropriate to feel that way. Your partner, friends and family need to understand the place this takes for you in order to be able to support you well
Relaxation or breathing exercises can help. You can also try to replace traumatic images with more reassuring ones to prevent panic from overwhelming you. When the feeling of shock comes from negligence, indelicacy or violence by medical personnel, a letter can provide relief. This letter can be written without the purpose of passing it on to anyone. However, if you decide to send it, it might sensitize them to show more humanity.
Finally, psychotherapy consultation is an often necessary option. There are professionals specialized in the matter; they know what is at stake in such a situation. Some women will need to use medication if the anxiety becomes too much.
In any case, itaction must be taken to prevent the symptoms from worsening. Finally, even if you have not experienced this situation, but if you have a friend who tells you about it, you will know how much listening and openness are necessary.