Birth Reflection Space
Birth Reflection Space

Over the years as both a Midwife and Hypnobirthing Practitioner I have worked with and supported many women and couples who have experienced a difficult birth and differing degrees of Birth Trauma. My Hypnobirthing classes will support a woman and her birth partner to prepare for a subsequent birth. However it is so important that the traumatic birth is acknowledged, heard & healed.

The Birth Reflection Space offers techniques that can help you to release the trauma associated with birth.

What is birth trauma?
Birth trauma occurs when birth has been a frightening, traumatic and negative experience. This could be because you have feared for your life, your partners life or your babies life during birth or because you felt out of control and disempowered.

The symptoms of birth trauma can vary but can include flashbacks, nightmares, anxiety, panic attacks, guilt, anger, sadness, depression, difficulty bonding with baby, difficulty relating to partner, post natal depression and post traumatic stress.

What causes birth trauma?
A birth experience that was frightening to both or either parent and that is usually coupled with a loss of control can lead to birth trauma.

This could be because labour was long or full of intervention or perhaps because of medical problems that unexpectedly occurred. If birth has unexpected twists it can be traumatic, especially if parents feel that the situation or options available arenít properly explained or if they feel that what was happening was completely out of their control. A birth where parents have feared for their life or their babyís can also be a very frightening experience. Similarly if injury or even death has occurred as a result of the experience then this can also lead to birth trauma.

What is a traumatic birth?

If you suffered distress when you gave birth it's called a traumatic, or difficult, birth. You may have had a complication, such as a severe tear, or needed to have an assisted birth.

This may have left you with physical problems, such as an infection, piles or incontinence. These are distressing in themselves, but the emotional after-effects of a traumatic birth can last for some time.

A difficult birth is not always linked to a traumatic birth event. You may have felt powerless, or unclear about exactly what happened during the birth. Or you may have felt intense disappointment that the birth didn't go as you'd hoped.

Perhaps you didn't feel that your midwife was listening to you, or that you lacked support from other hospital staff. These can all leave you with emotional scars after the birth.

What are the effects of a traumatic birth?

The effects of a traumatic birth vary from woman to woman. The way you feel about and cope with what happened will be unique to you.

It may be taking longer to come to terms with your birth experience than you, or those close to you, expected. If, as the weeks and months go by, you recognise the following signs and symptoms, seek support from your GP or health visitor:

revisiting images of labour and birth
fear of giving birth in the future
poor self-image and feeling inadequate
relationship difficulties
lack of interest in sex and shunning physical contact
difficulty with bonding with your baby, and guilt as a result
isolation and loneliness
postnatal depression (PND)

What is PTSD?

PTSD happens when your behaviour changes significantly because of a traumatic event. It can happen to you following the birth of your baby or to someone who was present at your birth.

Events may have caused you and your partner to feel fearful or helpless, or even horrified by what happened.
How will I know if I have PTSD?

You may find that, although the first few weeks as a mum are difficult, the fears sparked by your birth experience begin to subside.

However, symptoms of PTSD tend to persist for weeks or months after the birth. If you continue to have the following symptoms, and they are making everyday life a struggle, you may have PTSD:

Intrusive memories that bring back the event. This may take the form of flashbacks, images, dreams or nightmares. You may also feel anxiety or panic and be unable to remember parts of the birth because you have blanked them from your memory.
Avoiding triggers that remind you of what happened. You may have flashbacks whenever you visit a hospital. This may stop you from attending your antenatal appointments next time around, and make you even more anxious as a result.

You may be avoiding watching television programmes about birth or hospitals. You may even avoid talking about the birth, because it's too painful for you.
Sleep problems, angry mood swings, feelings of panic and difficulty concentrating.
Fear of it happening again, with either similar or worse outcomes. You may even worry that you or your baby will die if you have another pregnancy.

If you recognise these symptoms, see your GP. She can refer you to a mental health specialist,
Who does PTSD affect?

You may be more likely to have PTSD if:

You had a long and painful labour.
You had an assisted birth with ventouse or forceps.
You had an emergency caesarean section.
Your baby was born with a disability.
Your baby spent time in special care.
You feared for your, or your baby's life or health, during or after the birth.
You felt powerless during the birth.
Your medical carers were unsupportive or unsympathetic.
You've had a traumatic event in your past.
How can I recover from a traumatic birth?

Don't just hope that the feelings will go away, or assume that they're not important. There is support available. Sharing your experiences with others may help you to make sense of what happened. It'll be hard, but you'll probably feel relieved once you finally tell someone how you feel.

What treatment is available?
Birth Trauma Recovery sessions can provide a safe space for parents to tell their story and is the first step to understanding what happened and what course of further action to take, if appropriate.
There are effective and well tested techniques that will help to neutralise the disturbing feelings associated with birth trauma. The memory may still exist but it will no longer provoke anxiety, panic, guilt, anger or sadness therefore allowing the person to move forward with their life and indeed subsequent birth.

Hypnosis helps to restore feelings of calm and confidence to client who have experienced birth trauma.

Usually two sessions are enough for people for you to feel a significant difference and a reduction in symptoms.

Janine is able to provide these sessions on a face to face basis if you are local to Northumberland or is happy to use Skype for distance sessions.

Costs

Two hour session £60
Additional sessions are charged at £30 per hour
If you would like to arrange a FREE 15 minute call with Janine to see if this service could be of benefit to you then just email janineswindale@outlook.com