Pregnancy, bringing life into the world and parenting are all longed for experiences. There are high expectations around each, where positivity, excitement and happiness reside. However, there are unpredictable factors of birth, where no amount of control or detail of a birth plan can forecast.
Birth trauma is one of those unpredictable consequences, experienced by over 30,000 women each year in the UK, also defined as postnatal PTSD. As a result of traumatic and/or distressing experiences, around all stages of pre-and-post birth, birth trauma condenses the symptoms of anxiety, panic and depression together, commonly described as baby blues.
It can be extremely challenging to live with birth trauma, as the experience of pregnancy and parenting are overwhelming, already adding extra pressure, amounted even further by anxiety for those with postnatal PTSD.
Not every woman will experience it, and it isn’t to say that symptoms will take away the gift of birth and parenthood. Yet like other anxiety and panic disorders, some do struggle, where birth trauma treatment should be sourced.
If you’re struggling or have a partner who is finding such adjustments difficult to live with down to PTSD, at Asana Lodge, we’re here for you. Here’s some further information on birth trauma treatment, including our FAQs to raise awareness.
Causes of birth trauma
Unlike further anxiety and panic disorders, there usually is a definite cause of birth trauma. It amounts to distressing, unpredictable, or traumatic events surrounding pregnancy, birth and postnatal life.
Common causes of postnatal PTSD include:
- Bonding issues on a post-birth basis
- Traumatic birth, whether that’s symptoms, emergency treatment or an unplanned caesarean
- Concern over health or loss
- Early birth
- Struggles with adjustments after leaving the hospital
It’s understandable that complications do happen, which every mother is aware of. However, in the midst of an expectedly happy time, trauma is never planned for, which spikes the difficulties of digesting depression even greater.
Living with birth trauma can be extremely tough, which many will not understand unless they personally experience symptoms or witness someone, they care about, encountering the symptoms of postnatal PTSD. In this event, birth trauma treatment and support should be sourced, alleviate such suffering.
The realism of living with birth trauma/postnatal PTSD
Postnatal PTSD is rarely spoken about, as it’s seen as a taboo subject. It’s highly sensitive, which is why many women struggle to open up and share their struggles.
There are expectations around parenting, which if reality, unfortunately, deviates from such an image, many believe that failure as a parent has occurred.
This isn’t the truth, this is far from the reality of birth trauma, as an uncontrollable, involuntary response to distress and trauma.
While there may be positive, happy moments for those suffering from birth trauma, there can also be intense lows, depressive states and unpredictable responses around times which should be cherished.
Many mothers feel ashamed of the baby blues, where the ‘1st’s’, where love and where the joy of having a baby is engulfed by depression. However, shame shouldn’t describe such a response, which hasn’t been welcomed or enabled but caused by initial sadness, shock or distress.
Living with birth trauma can reflect a roller coaster of emotions, can rob many parents of happy moments, and can decrease the forecasts of future children and joyous moments.
The reality of postnatal PTSD is tough, which is why accessible help through birth trauma treatment is encouraged.
Birth trauma treatment is an essential step
Treatment after giving birth may feel like an inconvenience. However, it is key to ensure that your health can be improved, that your relationship with your child can be strengthened, and that your mental health can stabilise, surrounding future events, like birth.
Birth trauma treatment will not reverse the effects of trauma, it will not stop the risk of future trauma, but it can prepare you mentally for future trauma, and also alleviate your symptoms.
Through a reputable rehabilitation clinic, the process can remain confidential, where you’ll have access to quality treatment that you deserve to ease such a difficult time. At Asana Lodge, we can offer emotional support while facilitating birth trauma treatment, catered around your needs.
What type of treatment will be available for postnatal PTSD?
Talking therapies are the most effective forms of birth trauma treatment, which helps clients return to such traumatic events, digest their impacts and rationally consider the next steps of forgiveness and growth. It also looks at accepting such trauma by changing emotional responses to learn and to embrace gratitude. Cognitive behavioural therapy, eye movement desensitisation, dialectical behavioural therapy and family therapy are commonly recommended treatments.
Prescription medications are utilised in some cases, where depression and anxiety are chronic symptoms. Yet on an initial basis, treatment will look at holistic and psychological responses, to promote acceptance and recovery.
Through treatment, coping strategies will also be promoted to help clients cope through any triggers or future traumatic experiences, whether linked to birth or not.
Birth trauma is personal, is sensitive and is commonly downplayed. However, the effects of PTSD in postnatal women can be significant. With this in mind, social support for postnatal trauma, along with psychological treatment will be encouraged.
We respect that this is a difficult, emotional time that likely deviates from your expectations of childbirth. Yet, now is also the time to heal, to enjoy life as a parent.
Contact our team here at Asana Lodge for more information on birth trauma treatment, accessible to those in need.
What is birth trauma?
Birth trauma is the result of stress, trauma or loss, linked to carrying, birthing and parenting a child. It displays itself through symptoms of anxiety, depression and panic, which can be experienced for the long term if treatment or support is avoided. For some, personal coping strategies may work. However, for others, birth trauma can be damaging and engulfing, from impacting the development of relationships to impairing mental health and wellbeing.
What are the symptoms of birth trauma?
Symptoms of birth trauma resemble the phrase baby blues. If a mother is feeling down, is struggling with anxiety, is paranoid, is irritable and is doubting their ability to be a mum, these are all signs of early birth trauma. Over time, such symptoms can aggravate and develop into a complete disconnect from the responsibility of parenting, along with further mental health symptoms. Post-birth reality can be tough for everyone, meaning that birth trauma will not be a definite diagnosis if some low moments are experienced. Yet if signs of depression and a clear disconnect are consistently experienced, the need for birth trauma treatment will be definite.
Where can I source treatment?
Treatment for birth trauma can be sourced through the NHS. However, with great pressures already placed on such services, and as some parents do hope to avoid further support of this basis down to the relation of trauma and its source, private treatment is recommended. At Asana Lodge, we offer birth trauma treatment under our mental health recovery programmes, here to form a suitable plan for your needs.