Did you have an emergency c-section? Did your birth plan go completely off the rails? Did you believe your or your baby’s life was in danger during childbirth? If so, you may have experienced what is known as childbirth trauma, and if you’ve been struggling since that time you’re not alone.
According to PATTCh, an organization created to support women who have experience traumatic childbirth and to raise awareness of these issues, about 25-35% of moms report they have experienced trauma in childbirth. A traumatic childbirth can have a serious effect on the mental health of a new mom. In fact, it is a major risk factor for postpartum post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), a cousin to postpartum depression. Postpartum PTSD’s symptoms include nightmares or flashbacks of the traumatic event, avoidance of things related to the event — like not going or not wanting to go back to the same obstetrician or hospital for follow up appointments — and feelings of irritability or panic. Many moms with postpartum PTSD have difficulty enjoying baby’s first birthday because it is the anniversary of what was for them a very scary time.
Because traumatic childbirth and postpartum PTSD can have such a big impact on mothers, it’s often difficult for them to feel good about and even fear going through birth again in the future. PATTCh and Praeclarus Press are co-hosting “Another Birth Story,” a webinar, on December 5th at 1pm Eastern, to help mothers prepare for another pregnancy after a childbirth trauma. The webinar will help moms understand the signs of PTSD, and learn about tools to help heal from their past experience and prepare for subsequent births. For moms looking to “reclaim confidence” about childbirth, this could be a great learning and healing opportunity. All are welcome to participate, and the cost is $15. To sign up for the webinar, click here.
If you can’t attend the webinar, I would suggest checking out PATTCh’s online resources here. And if you’ve never heard of postpartum PTSD and think you may have it, know that it’s not as commonly discussed as PPD, which is why it’s often missed. But just like postpartum depression it is temporary and treatable with professional help.