How to Prepare for Another Baby After Birth Trauma
Becoming pregnant again after a traumatic birth can be an overwhelming and anxious experience. It is important that you are well supported to process your previous birth before preparing for this upcoming birth. Today we will be exploring what steps you can take to make this birth a healing and empowering experience for your body and mind.
Birth trauma, shorthand for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder after Childbirth, is defined as one that experienced as traumatic, one where you feared for you or your baby’s safety or life, even if the delivery was obstetrically straight forward. You may be more likely to experience birth trauma after a difficult labour, an unplanned or emergency C-Section or other unexpected, shocking treatments.
So how do you heal and even become excited for your next birth?
Acknowledge your birth trauma. Your story matters. Whether it was 6 weeks ago or 6 years ago the legacy of a traumatic birth experience stays with you and can effect everyday life. This may look like having regular flashbacks, feeling more anxious or depressed as well as avoiding any triggers or reminders of that time. Many women feel that they can cope with their birth trauma and it isn’t until they are pregnant again that the really problematic symptoms can creep up and feel overwhelming, making you doubt your capacity for a positive birth.
Process your birth trauma. Treatment for birth trauma includes EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing) and CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy) which is a form of talk therapy as well as the Traumatic Birth Recovery 3 Step Rewind Technique. Did you know that EDMR is not recommended in pregnancy as it may be too stressful for mother and baby? The TBR 3 Step Rewind Process actually takes place in a deep relaxation state and is what is know as a ‘non-disclosure’ therapy where you only have to tell your story as much as is comfortable for you without it having an effect on the treatment outcomes. The focus is on how your birth trauma affects you in day to day life now, rather that going over and over the story which can reinforce the trauma.
Imagine life without the trauma. The 3 Step Rewind process encourages you to imagine what it would feel like without the day to day symptoms, which can be a transformative exercise in itself. Living with trauma means being in a cycle of the same feelings, memories and sensations so by allowing your body and mind to experience something different, you are gently suggesting that there is another way to be. Using a solution focused approach you have the space to practice what it feels like to be deeply relaxed without the trauma symptoms.
Plan for your birth. Hypnobirthing combines mindfulness with practical tools to reframe birth, especially if your previous experience has been negative. You are much more likely to have a positive birth experience if you go into labour with knowledge about your options and tools to access a deeply relaxed state however you decide to birth. Try using the Visual Birth Plan template a free resource from The Positive Birth Movement. Knowing how to create your birthing environment to encourage as much oxytocin to flow and for you to feel as safe as possible is key.
Think about the 4th trimester - use the time before baby is here to plan how you will be supported in the first few months after the birth, especially if you have another child to think about. Don’t be afraid to ask for help, maintain boundaries with visitors and remember that your needs matter too. You can download my free Hey Mama Postnatal PDF to prepare for the fourth trimester here.
In summary, it is helpful to address your previous birth trauma before you have another baby or if you are pregnant again. Your next birth can be a healing experience that helps you develop trust and confidence in your body again. To find out more about the TBR 3 Step Rewind Technique go to my page here to read how Hey Mama can support you to feel calm and relieve any anxiety around your previous birth.
When you are ready to prepare for this birth, Hey Mama can help. The Hey Mama Positive Plan for Birth Trauma package combines the 3 Step Rewind with a condensed Hey Mama Hypnobirthing Course. I will support you to process your traumatic experience and deliver a tailored birth preparation course that supports you to feel calm and confident when you birth. Contact me here to book a free call where we can discuss how I can support you to have a positive birth experience whatever your story.