Sadly far too many people (mums, dads, even midwives) suffer from birth trauma because the birth did not go as planned. Key themes include: loss of control, poor communication, lack of comfort. This is what the research says– “Four themes were identified in the data: ‘prioritising the care provider’s agenda’; ‘disregarding embodied knowledge’; ‘lies and threats’; and ‘violation’.”
Birth trauma is more closely linked with the cascade of medical interventions. However, it is not the clinical things which happen at the birth, but the perception of them which is linked to birth trauma and post traumatic stress responses, PTSD. Symptoms can include flashbacks, difficulty sleeping, avoidance (situations, conversations, places such as the maternity hospital, even pregnant women or others with newborns), worries about bonding with baby, and guilt or anger.
Some maternity hospitals offer a birth debrief/ reflection service, which aims to review the maternity notes and explain to parents why some clinical decisions were made which can often help “fill in the gaps”. However, it doesn’t recognise that the trauma stems not from the clinical events themselves, but from the perception of them. Just as there is no one size fits all birth, everyone’s perception of what happened to them is completely different. In some cases, a 12 week course of cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) may be needed.
I am trained in an amazing technique called MAM 3 step Rewind Technique from leading clinical psychologist Mia Scotland. This involves discussing the heartbreaking memories but in a safe, calm and controlled way. It is even possible to do the technique “content free” (without talking about what happened- as sometimes that is more traumatic to do so). It doesn’t change any memories but it does allow you time to validate why you feel the way you do and then “relearn” the memory so it can be accessed in a calm and relaxed manner.
The technique successfully enables you to view the events in a more objective and detached way, so you don’t feel so overwhelmed emotionally when you think about them. This is a very important step if you are considering another baby or are pregnant again and struggling to move on from previous events. It allows you to let go of the trauma of your past, so you can begin to focus on the journey ahead of you. The technique is equally effective if it is 6 weeks or 60 years since the event.
The first session takes approx 60-90 minutes, and this is often all that is needed, with a follow up on 30-60 minutes to review if required/ email support. This technique is also extremely effective for all kinds of traumatic events, and phobias too- I have succesfully worked with people with needle phobia, sickness phobia, divorce trauma, breastfeeding difficulties and of course birth trauma. It costs just £125.
“Helps me to feel safer and in control” (Stirchley, Birmingham, 2018)
“I feel so much calmer now when I think back, and just feel a sense that those thoughts are resolved. I am able to look forward to the future and I am really grateful for all your help.” (Bournville, Birmingham, 2018)