These are the things that helped me overcome a traumatic birth experience and as a result, I feel hopeful that this next birth will be a whole lot different.
Giving birth is a life-affirming experience. It is one of those things that quite literally shakes you to the core.
When you have given birth your world changes forever. Your body has carried a pregnancy and delivered your baby into your arms. Even writing that sentence fills me with complete and total awe.
There is no secret in the fact that giving birth
is intense. Regardless of the way your birth pans out it is a unique combination of the physical and the emotional.
Even the gentlest of births
can take time to really absorb and debrief.
Many women (and their birthing partners) look back on their birthing experience and feel that it was one that contained a huge amount of trauma
. For me, it was definitely a traumatic experience and it was the very reason that we changed our “life plans” and decided to wait another five years to try for baby number two.
I recently gave birth to my second child, a little girl I named Willow and I wanted to share with you all some of the things that have helped me heal from my first birth experience. I needed to be able to enter this new experience without that fear or trauma hanging over me.
This is a very personal experience and what works for one person may not work for all. However, these are the things that have helped me overcome a traumatic birth experience and as a result, I was positive that my second birth would be a whole lot different.
1. Speak to your midwife or care team about some of the elements of the birth that felt traumatic to you. Having it explained to me was hugely healing. I now understand why things happened as they did and knowing the facts helped me to make peace with that reality.
2. I discovered Gentle Birth in my third trimester. I downloaded the app, watched the YouTube videos and now the affirmations and meditations are part of my daily routine. It has been invaluable.
3. I’ve changed my language around the birth and given myself permission to let go of the fear. I now talk about the baby, the things my body CAN do and the focus is no longer on the pain or fears I have. It is empowering to use positive language around the subject as it is affirming a positive feeling throughout me.
4. Make a birth plan and a list of birth preferences. I didn’t give this a great amount of thought on my first pregnancy because everyone told me to expect the unexpected and that birth never goes to plan or happens as you think it will. I feel more confident in my choices this time around and have done some research on some of the processes and interventions I want to avoid. It’s OK to want things to go a certain way and making that official on your chart is uplifting and instils confidence.
5. I’ve stopped watching One Born Every Minute. I’ve always been a huge fan of the show but I noticed that it was becoming a trigger for some of my fears. It is also an unrealistic depiction of birth in many ways as it’s edited and has musical overlays to dictate the emotion in the scene. It also made me resent that in Ireland you can only have one birthing partner whereas in the show women have their partners, mums and sisters by their side. I now watch positive uplifting gentle births on YouTube and Instagram to help me feel empowered.
6. I’m working closely with my birthing partner. We are talking about my fears, hopes and dreams for the birth. It makes me feel like we are in this together and I have someone advocating for me. He’s my husband and knows me really well but that doesn’t replace the need to really thrash things out and tell him what I need from him.
Tracey is mammy to five-year-old Billy and newborn Willow. She is a breastfeeder, gentle parent and has recently lost five stone so healthy family eating is her passion! You can follow her on Instagram.