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Overcoming fear is hard, but it is even harder when there is a traumatic experience involved. When that trauma is from an experience that is supposed to be a joyful experience, like birth? How do you even start? Where do you turn? Who do you even talk to?
Birth trauma is not just physical trauma that happens to baby or momma, it can also be emotional or psychological. With my daughter, people just didn’t get it. In their eyes, from the outside, the doctors acted and saved both my daughter and myself from potential death. So, why was I so irritated, fearful, adamant that I was never getting pregnant again? What they didn’t see or understand was the complete lack of control or say about anything that happened to me or my baby when I checked into the hospital.
Birth is supposed to be an intimate event, with mom participating, but when all say is taken away mom and sometimes dad is left as a spectator. When those events turn into an unexpected or consented surgery, it can leave deep emotional and physical scars. How are you supposed to begin to process and recover from that? How do you conquer the fear of future births?
One step at a time. I did not realize how much of an issue I had until I was almost a year postpartum, still in physical pain and emotional avoidance. I found an OT specializing in C-section pelvic care, and started the physical work that led to uncovering the emotional scars that also needed healed. I journaled, I read books on emotional trauma, and I used essential oils. Slowly I learned to heal my body from the inside out, with food and mindset.
In birth, you cannot overcome the fear of a future birth, without dealing with the past trauma. A wise midwife told me as I was healing, if you don’t deal with the emotions around the birth as they come to surface, they will come back up during your next birth and will affect it. So I learned to tune in and listen to my own body. Working through the emotions as they came up, and releasing them. Your body holds emotions in the cells if they are buried.
Overcoming the fear of birth itself is the final step. For me the only way to finish healing, was to become pregnant and give birth again. This time however, I walked each step consulting and trusting God for His guidance. I surrounded myself with people who were loving and supportive for birth. People who had confidence that my body could birth my baby naturally. I interviewed providers, prayed about them and found the one that matched. Prepared myself for birth by reading books on birth and the birth process. I made a loose plan. Honestly after my first plan completely fell apart, I was hesitant to make any plan for fear it would also fall apart. But I knew what I wanted and needed, my midwife and I had conversations on those desires.
Ultimately the time for my son’s birth came. Labor started slow and easy, but gained intensity and my son was born at home, surrounded by love and support. It was truly a redemptive experience, and God showed me once again His sovereignty, love and grace.
For more on healing from birth trauma follow the link to my course
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