Birth can be one of the most intense and powerful experiences in our lives, and many women feel compelled to share their stories in the days and weeks following delivery. We spend so much time planning and preparing for our birth experiences. We have hopes, dreams, and expectations of what we want it to be. It can feel devastating when things don’t go as planned. For some, specifically those whose births didn’t go the way they had hoped, it becomes difficult to let go of the events that occurred. If those events caused real OR perceived trauma during delivery or postpartum, moms can experience symptoms of postpartum post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) after childbirth (about 9% of women experience this).
Examples of birth trauma: unplanned C-section, feeling powerless or invisible during the delivery, prolapsed cord, a NICU experience, lack of support/communication between delivery team and mom, delivery involving a vacuum extractor or forceps on the baby, physical complications or injuries related to pregnancy or childbirth (e.g. postpartum hemorrhage, hysterectomy, preeclampsia, perineal tearing).
Just because you experienced any of these, does not necessarily mean you will experience symptoms of PTSD. However, if you do, it’s important to remember that postpartum PTSD is temporary and treatable.
When your birth didn’t go according to “plan”, remember…
- It’s ok to grieve the loss of what you had hoped for
- Your mind and body are incredibly powerful.
- You faced more than you ever believed you could.