You don’t have to be a war veteran to experience post traumatic stress. If you felt your life or safety, or that of your babe, it is worth talking to someone about your experience. If your partner was there too, witnessing the trauma, they may be traumatized as well. Talk together. It’s exhausting (–like new parenting isn’t already exhausting!) trying to avoid triggering thoughts, feelings, flashbacks of the event. Seek support.
“We’re increasingly aware that many women (around one in three) come out of their birth experience feeling some symptoms of trauma.”
“Many women also experience some level of ‘trauma’ but may not describe it as such as they don’t meet the criteria for a diagnosis of post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Birth trauma is in the eye of the beholder – that is, if you feel you’re more affected by the birth than you expected, you may find it helpful to get some support.
“When we experience traumatic events, they’re stored in a particular way in our memory, and this can leave us feeling we’re not safe even when the event is far behind us. The first step to feeling better is to do lots of things to let your body know you’re safe. Breathing is one quick way of doing this – spending a few minutes making sure your out breath is longer than your in breath is a quickfire way of turning off your fight or flight system.
“Grounding exercises are also helpful – concentrating on feeling your feet on the floor, looking for everything you can see which is blue, counting circles. This helps to ground you in the present.”