Traumatic Childbirth

“What lies behind you and what lies in front of you
pales in comparison to what lies inside you.”
~Og Mandino

Birth Trauma

Research indicates that twenty-five percent of mothers consider their childbirth to be traumatic or disempowering, and the psychological toll of a traumatic birth can lead to emotional distress, and a form of post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), that follows women into new motherhood.  A traumatic birth experience may leave you feeling disappointed, angry, powerless or a range of other scary emotions.  When childbirth doesn’t go the way you expect, you can begin to show signs of PTSD and your transition to motherhood may not go as smoothly as you had hoped.

Common Signs and Symptoms of PTSD After a Traumatic Birth

Photo of a baby's feet shortly after birth. Counseling for birth trauma and PTSD for traumatic birth experience in Lafayette, CA

Not everyone who has experienced a traumatic birth develops signs of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), but it’s important to know what signs to look for.  Your birth story was a little bit different than anyone else’s, so the impact will be slightly different on your life.  However, these are some signs that your traumatic birth has resulted in PTSD symptoms and you may benefit from counseling:

  • Re-living aspects of the trauma (intrusive thoughts and images; nightmares; distress at real or symbolic reminders of the trauma)
  • Feeling on edge or hyper-alert (being easily upset, angry, irritable; being easily startled; having difficulty concentrating)
  • Suppressing feelings or memories (avoiding situations or people that remind you of the trauma; feeling detached/emotionally numb; keeping busy to distract yourself; being unable to remember aspects of the event; using alcohol or drugs to avoid memories)
  • Physical sensations such as pain, sweating, nausea or trembling
  • Sleep difficulties

Counseling Can Help You Heal After a Traumatic Birth

Fortunately, psychotherapy is an effective way to heal after a traumatic birth experience. Birth trauma is an intense, unique experience. It’s important that you see a therapist who understands both trauma & the experience of childbirth. Furthermore, you want a counselor who uses evidence-based approaches to treating birth trauma so you can move beyond your difficult birth as quickly as possible.  As both experienced trauma therapist and a women’s wellness expert , I am uniquely qualified to help people recovery after a disappointing or difficult birth experience. With a little help, you can move through any emotions surrounding your childbirth experience.  Whether you feel guilt, anger, sadness, or a range of other emotions, counseling can help. When you enter counseling with me, I can help you tell your birth story without shame. You’ll be able to find peace moving forward into motherhood.

My Approach to Counseling for Birth Trauma; EMDR

Young Pregnant Woman with Hands on Her Belly. Counseling for traumatic birth experience available in Lafayette, CA

I use Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) to help mothers recover from childbirth trauma. EMDR is one of the most effective treatment methods for processing and resolving trauma. Having completed specialized EMDR training, I often use it in my counseling practice. I have seen the power of  combining EMDR with other forms of therapy and believe this is the best way to help women heal from a traumatic birth experience.

Please see my page on EMDR for more information.

Other Women’s Mental Health Services

In addition to helping during pregnancy & after a traumatic birth, I offer a variety of other mental health services as well. I want to help every woman thrive. Other services available include wellness coaching, individual therapy, couples and marriage counseling for new parentssupport groups for new moms & pregnant women. I offer individual counseling for women with  Trauma using EMDRcounseling for infertility, pregnancy and postpartum health, perinatal loss, and Moms with NICU babies or other infant health concerns.