Birth preparationBabyParentingPregnancyPregnancy health

For some of us birth is not only joyful in that it is the day we get to meet our baby but it can also be a difficult, distressing and traumatic event. 

Trauma can feel like the wrong word sometimes or something we can’t relate to ourselves; we can also call it a birth you did not expect, a birth that was not as you hoped or planned for during pregnancy or a birth experience where you felt unsafe, frightening, where you felt alone or at risk. It can feel like our memories of the birth are constantly stuck in our mind or that we cannot think about or talk about our birth at all. 

A difficult or traumatic birth does not always mean there has been a medical emergency such as an emergency caesarean or bleed. This can be the birth trauma but just as often it’s about how cared for women and birthing people feel in labour, how safe women and birthing people feel, and if they feel heard. With trauma, women and birthing people often talk about feeling they were not treated with any dignity or kindness and that they were not communicated with well or that procedures were done without their consent. Trauma is always unique to each person’s experience – not what happened medically or on paper.

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