So you’ve had a baby. Congratulations!!! What a blessing and gift!
And even though you hate to admit it, you were disappointed in your birth experience. Maybe it was a lot more painful than you expected, or maybe just not as “magical” as you had hoped.
Maybe you had to be transferred from a home birth to a hospital birth. Or maybe your chosen provider or support team wasn’t even able to be there. Maybe you had hoped to have a vaginal birth and ended up with an episiotomy, or tearing, or emergency C-section.
Maybe nothing turned out like you hoped for at all…
It’s so hard to deal with that disappointment, anger, or fear when you’re supposed to be so happy about your baby, right?
I get it.
And I know you know that we can’t control the birth experience (just like most things in life). Yet, it’s still natural to think and dream about what it will be like. How you’ll rock your birth, it will go smoothly and quickly, you’ll have a dream team to support you, and your baby will be the perfect little bundle.
So, reality hits and maybe your birth wasn’t THAT bad but it wasn’t what you expected. Or maybe it WAS that bad and you feel completely traumatized by the experience. Now what?
If you’re like most moms, you may not know what to do about that. How do you process it? And yes, you’re well aware of postpartum depression, hormone changes, and all that. But that’s not what this is. This is a deeply emotional and sacred experience that went wrong in a small or large way. This is trauma.
First of all, you’re going to be okay. And it’s okay if you feel you can’t deal with those emotions right now with the new baby, lack of sleep, and feeling like you don’t know whose body you’re walking around in. Give it a bit of time and when you’re ready, get those emotions out of the closet and take a look at them. Process them. Talk about them with your partner, trusted friend, or counselor.
Forgive those who may have hurt you…not because what they did was okay, but because you can let it go so it doesn’t continue to hurt you.
Forgive yourself for anything you may have felt you didn’t do well.
Write about it. Get your thoughts down on paper.
Talk to your provider and get their thoughts on what happened if you feel it would help. You could also ask for your records so you can read through what happened from another perspective.
Talk to your partner or support person about their experience as well. Maybe your partner was traumatized like you.
While I’m not a mental health expert, I have experienced a traumatic birth, and it took me awhile to not let it rule my thoughts. To let go of blaming the staff for their role, and to not live in fear of setting foot in a hospital.
And it wasn’t until just recently that I realized the physical pain I had 10 years later was related to the trauma. Not just that my body was damaged, but that I was also holding onto emotions about the experience that became a part of me and intensified the pain.
And finally, without even realizing I needed to, I was able to find relief and healing…just in taking a course from a fellow pregnancy and postpartum physical therapist, sharing what my body was feeling and realizing I could have freedom from the pain. And in releasing that physical pain, and sharing just a bit about what happened that might have caused it, my thoughts were taken back to the experience. Analyzing. Processing. Letting it go.
What about you? Are you having pain from a traumatic birth? Have you figured you’ll just have to live with it and that it’s a natural part of birthing so you might as well deal?
There’s always hope for healing. Sometimes we just have to live through a few things and glean whatever lessons are there to be had before we’re ready to move on through to the other side of the experience.
I’ve heard it said that the joy is in the journey. Perhaps. But it seems to me that the lessons are in the journey, but the joy is in accepting the lessons and applying them to help yourself and others along the way.
Here’s the thing about pain and trauma…they often leave scars. Scars often trigger memories. And scars often get tight and tethered down in a way that causes pain.
So if you’ve got scars…figurative or literal…maybe they just need to be released so you can move on. Figuratively and literally. Even if it's been years since you've had your baby.
I’m here for you Mama. Share you experience with me if you like. Show me your scars (physical and emotional). I can help release your physical scars and pain…and more likely than not, it will help you release emotional pain as well.
Here's to you! And finding whole healing after birth!