Janie has postpartum PTSD. She is having problems bonding with her baby, is racked with anxiety and morbid thoughts, and can’t seem to stop re-playing the highly stressful details of her baby’s birth.
Annie has similar concerns, but she can’t exactly place her thoughts’ origins. Her baby’s birth went OK, but she can’t shake the vague feeling that something is–or is about to be– horribly wrong.
Which mother has birth trauma?
The answer is both.
While many people only associate birth trauma with events that occur during the birth of their child, the truth is that any trauma –including those having nothing to do with birth–can be triggered during the birth process.
Let’s say that Annie, whose birth went exactly as planned, but who still suffers from postpartum anxiety, happened to have walked away unscathed from a horrific accident years ago. (Or maybe her dad died when she was a kid… Or her brother picked on her… Or she had a previous abortion… Or she got cut from the sports team…Or she flubbed that big presentation…Or…Or…)
Everyone’s “trauma file” looks different. Some are “Big Traumas” and some are “little traumas.” But we all have them. All of us.
The truth is that any of these events could possibly be triggered by the birth experience, if any of them look or feel similar to what is experienced during birth. Feeling out-of-control is a classic conduit for triggering trauma, and so are other very normal and common parts of the birth process.
So what’s a mama to do? Go back and try to recall every little incident and try to discern which bombs are most likely to trigger? Not exactly.
In Splankna Therapy, there is no need to rehash everything one might have in their trauma file. That would take forever, and would be entirely fear-based. The real work happens in our pray-test-pray approach.
Removing the ticking time bombs prior to the birth experience not only heals us of our past, but also prepares us for our future and increases the likelihood of a great (read: untriggered) birth.
Jennifer DeBrito, CSP, CCLD, CCBE is a Master Splankna Practitioner specializing in birth trauma and women’s issues. She is the owner of Eden’s Promise, LLC and the founder of the Adopt-A-Mom Project. She authored Expectant Parents Workshop: Devotional, and is the creator of the Expectant Parents Workshop Christian Childbirth Curriculum. To learn more, go to EdensPromiseLLC.com.