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Traumatic Birth

The transition between the uterus and the world can be a hugely traumatic experience for Mother, Father or birth partner and baby.  Birth trauma is a very real issue is is often overlooked as a contributing factor to ongoing issues.

Birth Trauma is Real

A traumatic birth can have a profound impact on both parents and the child.

  • Mother: Mothers who experience a traumatic birth may feel disappointed in themselves, guilty, and ashamed. They may also blame themselves and grieve the birth they didn't have, especially if they had an unplanned cesarean section. Some mothers may develop a fear of child birth, postpartum depression or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).  They may also go on to experience chronic pain in the abdomen or another area of the body.

  • Father: Fathers or birth partners who witness a traumatic birth may feel helpless, guilty, and overwhelmed by what they are witnessing yet have no control over and that they are not able to protect their partner and baby.. They may also struggle to bond with their baby and support their partner. Some fathers may also develop PTSD.  Fathers may also experience chronic pain in some area of the body.

  • Child: Children who experience a traumatic birth may have difficulty forming secure attachments with others. They may also experience anxiety, depression, and irrational fears. Some children may also have difficulty regulating their emotions and behavior.  Parents may notice they have always been shy, fearful, nervous or withdrawn.

Here are some additional examples of how a traumatic birth can impact the mother, father, and child:

Mother and Father:

  • Nightmares and flashbacks

  • Avoiding talking about the birth

  • Difficulty bonding with the baby

  • Irritability and anger

  • Withdrawal from social activities

  • issues with intimacy

Child:

  • Difficulty sleeping

  • Difficulty feeding

  • Colic

  • Irritability and crying

  • Separation anxiety

  • Attachment difficulties

  • Anxiety, Stomach aches, IBS and depression

  • Learning disabilities

  • Behavioral problems

Teenager:

  • Anxiety, IBS and depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

  • Difficulty forming secure attachments with others 

  • Increased likelihood of engaging in risky behaviors

  • Difficulty regulating their emotions and behavior. (They may be more likely to experience outbursts of anger or withdrawal). 

  • Increased likelihood of engaging in substance abuse or self-harm

  • Difficulty forming and maintaining healthy relationships

  • Difficulty concentrating and learning in school. They may also be more likely to drop out of school.

  • Chronic pain in some part of the body

Adult:

  • Anxiety, IBS and depression

  • Difficulty forming secure attachments and lasting relationships

  • Lack of confidence and or belief in self

  • Fear of life and it's challenges

  • Fear of childbirth

  • Chronic pain in the body

  • Emotional dysregulation or inability to associate with emotions

  • Issues forming secure attachments and bonding to own children

It is important to note that not everyone who experiences a traumatic birth will develop these problems. However, it is important to be aware of the potential risks so that if you have experienced, witnessed or was the child of a traumatic birth you can seek help if you need it.

If you have experienced a traumatic birth, there are many resources available to help you heal, hypnotherapy being one of those.. You can also talk to your doctor, a therapist, or a support group for parents who have experienced traumatic births.