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Recovering from a Traumatic Birth

We read, research, and prepare. We make plans. We visualize labor, delivery, and the baby’s homecoming. But, sometimes, pregnancy, childbirth, and labor don’t go as planned.

If you experience a traumatic birth, you may find yourself experiencing symptoms of emotional trauma, including:

  • Feeling overly vigilant and having trouble relaxing or sleeping. You might feel jumpy or irritable.

  • Experiencing unwanted and vivid thoughts and memories of the event that impact you emotionally or physically, making you feel panicked or nauseated.

  • Avoiding people, places, or activities associated with the birth.

  • Feeling numb, detached, or as if you are in a fog.

What you are feeling is normal! We want to encourage you to talk to someone. Whether it is your partner, a friend, or a professional, articulating what happened and your feelings about the event, yourself, and your baby can be a helpful first step in overcoming the trauma.

Don’t blame or judge yourself. What happened is not a reflection on you personally. These kinds of feelings are another sign that some outside help and counsel would be a good step.

When you are ready, try to get some details about what actually happened. If appropriate, you can make a formal complaint concerning the care you received.

Seek practical support. People—friends, family, and caregivers like us, are ready to step in and help with caring for you, your baby, and your home.

Finally, give yourself your time.

If you still feel lingering trauma, you may be experiencing post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Consider talking to your doctor and/or getting professional counseling for yourself and your partner. We highly recommend Ready Nest Counseling to help you process and work through your experience.


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