Therapy for Birth Trauma
Serving Moms in San Diego, CA
Your birth did not go as planned.
Your baby came into the world in a way you never imagined. Instead of the peaceful and magical birth you had hoped for, you are left to pick up the pieces of a birth experience that felt totally out of your control.
Maybe you or your baby experienced some type of medical emergency, or you may have endured unwanted medical interventions that you still feel shaken about.
Maybe you're home with your baby and everyone expects you to be able to move on after this experience. But you're left with so many unanswered questions and a broken heart that this is yours and your baby's story.
You feel like your body let you down- like your body let your baby down. You want to focus on bonding with your baby, but the thoughts, images, and memories of your experience make it difficult to feel present.
It felt like you were not in control.
You had a birth plan or at least some expectation of what you wanted in your birth experience, but you feel like you were not listened to in the moments when you felt the most vulnerable.
Maybe there were things that happened that you did not fully consent to or truly understand. It felt difficult to advocate for yourself in that moment, and now you are feeling all of the heaviness about what you wish you should have done or said.
Instead of feeling the magic of that "golden hour," it feels like your birth was an "out of body" experience and you remember the moments of fear and helplessness that overshadow the magic you were hoping for.
This is making it so hard for you to be present in your new stage of motherhood.
What are the effects of a Traumatic Birth?
Birth trauma can leave you with feelings of grief, loss, and fear when you think about your pregnancy, birth, or postpartum experience. You might be feeling stuck or disconnected, making it difficult for you to truly feel like you can connect with your baby or partner in your postpartum journey.
You may find yourself trying to avoid thinking or talking about your pregnancy or birth experience, as you dodge the questions from friends and family who are interested in your birth story. The aftermath of birth trauma can be overwhelming, and can impact your ability to function in the ways you want to.
You might be experiencing flashbacks, nightmares, panic attacks, anger, and feelings of failure- thought this is not necessary for your birth to be considered traumatic.
If you are feeling this way, know that you are not alone. These symptoms are common after someone has experienced a traumatic birth. You are not a bad mother for feeling this way. You can absolutely love your baby, AND hate the way they came into this world.
My Approach to Birth Trauma Therapy
There is such an emphasis on a "healthy mom and healthy baby" when it comes to birth, but sometimes the physical and emotional trauma of a birth can be overlooked. Maybe your pregnancy or baby's birth led to scary complications and health emergencies. You might still be healing physically, or maybe your baby had to go to the NICU or deal with other complex medical issues. I see you, mama.
I am here to help you process the grief, loss, and other complicated emotions that come up after a traumatic pregnancy or birth experience. I will walk with you on this journey of letting go of the negative self talk as you find peace and compassion for yourself.
I am also trained in mind-body approaches, like EMDR, that help process traumatic experiences and find emotional healing.
How do I know if I had a Traumatic Birth?
Birth trauma can result from feeling fearful, alone, vulnerable, powerless, and dismissed during any part of your birth experience. Maybe you went through a medical emergency during your birth, where you or your baby were in danger and quick decisions had to be made that you were not planning for.
You may also feel like your birth was traumatic even if things went "okay" during your birth. Sometimes, it's the way we were talked to or the way we were made to feel during our most vulnerable moments that stick with us the most.
1 in 3 women report their birth experience was traumatic in some way. Birth trauma can occur before, during, or after the birth of your baby. The way I see it, there is no one way to define what a traumatic birth is. There is no hierarchy in the world of trauma.
If you feel that parts of your birth were distressing and are still bothering you, that is important. You deserve to process this in a safe space with someone who really gets it.
How can Therapy for Birth Trauma help me?
Share your birth story in a space that is safe.
Process the aspects of your birth that were scary.
Find relief from the trauma symptoms you may be experiencing including nightmares, flashbacks, depression, intrusive/scary thoughts
Honestly share your fears and true emotions without feeling shame & guilt.
Process previous traumas that may have impacted your pregnancy or birth experience (such as sexual assault, childhood traumas, generational traumas).
Let go of the heaviness you are feeling stuck with so you can feel more like yourself and further bond with your baby.
Learn to prioritize taking care of yourself, so that you can show up for your loved ones.
Plan for your next birth experience.