"Just be glad that you have a healthy baby," is something often said to women who have difficulty healing from a traumatic birth, and those suffering from postpartum depression. If you are trying to recover from birth trauma and had a healthy baby, this may well be what you are telling yourself, too. But birth trauma can be a real, serious problem. Is this you? Of course, you deserve the treatment you need.
PTSD, post traumatic stress disorder, can be caused by prolonged exposure to life-threatening traumatic situations (like war), or a single traumatic event like rape, being burgled, or childbirth. It is possible to be haunted by a horrible birth experience without having developed full-blown PTSD, but it is certainly possible to get post traumatic stress disorder from a traumatic birth experience. Birth trauma can include having faced an urgent medical situation that threatened the life of you or your baby, but also situations that were not directly life threatening.
Birth rape is a term used by women who have had medical procedures forced upon them despite their refusal, and those to whom this happens can feel every bit as traumatized as a woman who was raped in the more traditional sense of the word.If you have decided to have therapy for birth trauma, where should you look?
Depending on where you live, there may be a support group for women who had traumatic births, and they may also be able to refer you to a therapist with experience in this area. Cognitive Behavior Therapy offers a practical approach to dealing with situations including trauma, and is appealing to those who like a rational approach.
EMDR (which stands for eye movement desensitization and reprocessing) is another therapy specifically for people with PTSD. And medication may also play a role in overcoming a traumatic event. Before seeing a therapist for birth trauma, one unfortunately has to consider that unpleasant experiences during childbirth are still viewed as normal by many, including some therapists. Interviewing several therapists before choosing one can be a good idea, but make sure you don't catch one who doesn't take birth trauma seriously... as that won't help with healing, obviously.