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Navigating the emotional seas of of becoming a parent: Therapy following birth trauma.

Updated: Oct 17, 2023

Flower in pond

In my section titled 'trauma', I point to your classic Hollywood pregnancy and birth. Heterosexual couple meet, conceive a baby in the blink of an eye, pregnancy flies by in a series of cute floral print dresses, then with a couple of puffs mumma pushes out a large, healthy baby and falls instantly in love. Sounds great, but what if your reality didn't meet this cosy image?

Not all attempts to have a child are easy, the path can be so challenging for many. Even if conception is successful, pregnancy is a journey where plans and dreams can be devastatingly interrupted. Birth can be complicated, progress can change very quickly, with sudden medical decisions ripping control away from the lovingly crafted birth plan in medical efforts to protect the wellbeing of those at risk of loosing what matters most.

Given all this, it would seem unsurprising that in the UK around 10% of new parents experience postnatal depression or anxiety. This is quite different to "postnatal blues", a recognised and common condition, often driven by fluctuating hormones, which thankfully usually resolves quickly by itself. Around 15% of people who experience pregnancy develop trauma related symptoms which can have lasting impacts on attachment, relationships, self-image, body image, physical function, parental confidence, and the mental capacity to consider future pregnancies. Although the general stigma around mental health is thankfully lifting, feelings of shame, guilt, or helplessness can all be experienced by those who's mental health does suffer following a pregnancy.

Suffering in silence or, worse, berating oneself because of entirely natural and understandable emotions, is in my experience, a painful and unlikely path to recovery. Therapy for pregnancy and birth trauma, which allows space to discuss the myriad of memories emotions to be expressed and explored, helps put into place strategies for moving beyond the reality of what happened in your story, allowing the painful feelings and memories to resolve, and the future to be faced with renewed strength and resilience.

If this sounds like you, get in touch, lets see what can change for you.

p.s. If you're reading this, live on the Isle of Wight, and have concerns about your pelvic health, I thoroughly recommend a consultation with the talented Chloe Dove. Chloe is an expert in pelvic health, supporting people through childbearing years, though menopause and beyond.

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