You Don’t Have to Have a New “Healing Birth” to Recover From a Past Traumatic Birth Experience
My heart hurt for years after the birth of my first baby. During my preterm induction for severe preeclampsia, I was cut off from my body, unsure how to speak up, and had a horrific sense that everything went wrong. I tried to convince myself that everything was okay. That I should be grateful for the positive outcome — after all, I came home with a healthy baby. And that’s what everyone was encouraging me to do.
But really, my mind was on a hamster wheel, constantly consumed with reliving the experience of giving birth. I needed a way to make it stop — to understand what had happened, why it had happened, and how to stop it from ever happening again. For a while, I considered having another child just so I could have a different birth experience. I realized the folly: 1) it was supremely unfair to the theoretical child, to use them thus, and 2) I could not actually control my birth experience being different.
What I needed to do was deeply explore my reaction to my birth experience, and fully feel all the emotions that were arising.
Even though what is traumatic about each birth is highly individual, there are some commonalities between all women who have had emotionally traumatic births:
- Our birth memories are full of guilt (believing we’d done the wrong thing) and shame (believing we are bad persons), because nothing had gone to plan and we didn’t bond with our babies the way we’d hoped
- We felt that we were completely out of control at the birth — that medical personnel made decisions without us, ignoring us — and we feel angry for reasons we can’t quite articulate, and we’re searching for reasons why it had to be this way
- When we begin to feel big, hard feelings we stuff them down, judging ourselves — we think that we shouldn’t be feeling these feelings, because what happened to us “isn’t worthy” of such a strong reaction — or that it isn’t acceptable to be angry
- Our family and friends are saying things that make us feel worse, and make us feel isolated — and we don’t even know what we want them to say, just that, “At least the baby is healthy!” isn’t it
- When you’re in the presence of other new mothers, and the talk turns to how these beautiful babies came into the world, it hurts you to hear “beautiful” birthing stories because yours are so ugly; it hurts to hear how bonded and well connected these moms and babies are, because you’re not so sure
- Maybe you’re already pregnant, and as you’re anticipating your upcoming birth, you’re freaking out worrying about things going wrong, being out of control, and not knowing what to do
It seems like nothing is ever going to change, and that nothing CAN make a change.This is where I come in, and where my book, Transforming Birth Trauma comes in.
- You can trust yourself, validate yourself, and speak up for yourself and your child so that you can be the warrior mama you’ve always wanted to be
- You will have fewer negative emotions about your birth experience — less anger, less angst, less shame and less guilt
- You will be able to tell your birth story with pride, acknowledging both the difficulties and triumphs — because, in reality, it might not be perfect, but it was beautiful in the way that life is beautiful
- If you choose to have another birthing experience, you will be able to have a different birthing experience without repeating the trauma.
- And no matter what you choose, you can be a force for change within the context that mothers give birth
You want to stop being consumed by your birth story and instead begin a healing journey. You want to stop grieving your birth, and start celebrating it. You want to stop seeing yourself as the victim of your birth story, and start seeing yourself as the the hero of your birthing story. We can do that together.
We heal from trauma by facing those circumstances with deep examination of our reactions, and feeling all the emotions associated. When we do that, we can change how we tell the story of our worst moments to ourselves, and change how we live out our story in the world.
I wrote Transforming Birth Trauma because it’s the book that I wish I had when I was recovering from the birthing of my older daughter. I wrote it for me — because I was preparing for a new birth experience — but I’m sharing it with you because we should not have to walk these paths alone. While I had the support of a therapist, a psychiatrist, and my partner, it just wasn’t enough. Each of my primary support team helped in the ways that they could, but they interrupted my story, inserted their own interpretations and encouraged me to look at the positives. I didn’t want to look at the positives.
I wanted to look at everything, because I knew everything was part of my story, and part of me. So I started writing. And when I was done writing, I knew I wasn’t quite finished, because I didn’t feel finished — and that’s when I started researching. Researching is my favorite thing — and I went deep down the rabbit hole, finding scientific papers on emotional trauma after childbirth, finding schools of therapy developed solely for treating trauma, finding frameworks for meaning in places I wouldn’t have expected.
And everything I found allowed me to face the dark places, walk through them, and come out the other side stronger. Something shifted. The dark places suddenly had light, and they weren’t hidden anymore. Bringing them into the light healed them.
I know we can do the same thing together.
Transforming Birth Trauma is a pdf eBook, with just under 130 pages, 10 chapters, and 25 exercises and journal prompts to help you deeply examine your reaction to the your trauma, and feel your emotions completely. It was researched over the course of five years, and contains nearly 50 works referenced. (Think of all the googling you don’t have to do!)
I. Before Your Journey: Before you go out into the wilds, make sure you have what you need.
II. Witnessing: This is a safe place to record your whole story without interruption. Let’s witness your journey together.
III. Triage: First, let me reassure you that your experiences are valid. Then, let’s explore if you need help beyond this guidebook.
IV. Trauma & Retraumatization: Now that you’ve told your story, and you’re sure you’ve experienced trauma, where do you go from here?
V. Sources of Trauma: Birth Attendants and Your Support Persons
VI. Sources of Trauma: Your Expectations and Shame
VII. Titration and Bodily Integration: Somatic Experiencing Guidelines
VIII. Making Meaning and Alternative Stories: “It’s not that we ‘needed’ the trauma, but being resourceful humans we may source some strength from it.”
IX. Preparing for a Different Birthing Experience
X. Changing the Way We Give Birth: Let’s Change the Unseen, Powerful Forces that Limit Our Choices
The Exercises and Journal Prompts Include but are not limited to:
- 3 exercises to establish emotional safety, and reduce emotional reactivity as you begin your journey of transformation
- 5 journal prompts to explore your story as it is now, including additional questions to bring everything to the table
- 2 prompts which explore how your experience aligns with the clinical understandings of birth trauma
- 4 somatic-based techniques to expand your emotional range as you think about your birthing experience
- Prompts to address how your relationships were affected, how your medical staff were involved, your life-long beliefs about how childbirth should happen, and how we both judge and victimize ourselves
- 3 journal prompts to bring out alternative perspectives and versions of the birthing story
- 2 organizers and one example to start thinking about how to have a different birthing experience, even if your choices are limited
- Included with purchase is access to a closed Facebook group where I will be conducting periodic “Read-Along” guidance as well as offering any-time support
- By buying now, you’re purchasing any future editions of this book as well — I’m too much of a perfectionist and researcher to stop here! — this includes any updates that will only be available at higher prices!
You don’t have to wait to have another birth to be healed from your previous birth trauma. I know that you want to stop being consumed by the memories of your traumatic birth, but you can start a healing journey without having a “healing birth.”
The exercises will take you from emotional reactivity into a place where you can express your emotions powerfully, in a way that your partner, family, friends, and medical professionals will take seriously. The journal entries will take you from suppressing and hiding your traumatic birth story to embracing it, warts and all, in a way that will make you feel as if the story is complete, one that you no longer have to tell.
The community will help you overcome the isolation that’s involved in having a traumatic birth. You’ll learn how to help other women who have experienced birth trauma, as well as learn how to stop birth trauma from happening — both for your next birth (if you choose to have more children), and in the world at large.
The investment in Transforming Birth Trauma is $47. Click on the BUY NOW button below to make an investment in your healing, without waiting. You deserve to begin to return to wholeness now.
Frequently Asked Questions:
The excerpt is from chapter 3, “Triage,” and includes both journal prompts that use clinical and research understandings of what birth trauma is to align with your own experience. Not only that, but it gives you important tips on how to communicate your experience with those who need this information the most — your partner, and your medical professionals.
Click here to get your free excerpt.
I’m looking forward to meeting you and working through the book with you — partnering with you on your journey.
If you’re anything like me five years ago, you’re working hard to be a good mother, at the same time that you’re consumed by memories of giving birth. You know this isn’t normal, and you want it to stop. So you’re trying to fit in therapy, attempting to lean on dismissive friends and family, looking for other resources — all while meeting the demands of a small child and “normal” life. (Life hasn’t been normal, has it?)
That’s where my research and analysis comes in. My book, Transforming Birth Trauma, is a guide to stop your birth experience from consuming you, and instead escape to begin a healing journey. You can stop feeling angry, hurt, and ashamed of your birth experience, and instead feel at peace and work towards being proud of how you birthed your baby. In other words, contrary to popular opinion, you don’t have to wait to give birth again to start healing from traumatic birth.
Click on the BUY NOW button below to focus on yourself and your well-being right now. The investment is $47, so you can stop seeing yourself as the victim of your birth story and start seeing yourself as a hero.