Coping with Emotional Birth Trauma

Birth trauma can leave lasting scars, both emotionally and physically. This 2010 article from respected Canadian author Ann Douglas indicates that “experts say close to one in 20 moms may develop post-traumatic stress disorder after giving birth, but the condition often goes undiagnosed.” Getting professional help is critical and the best thing for you and your family.

Local resources:

Sarah Picken of Sacred Healing is a local therapist who specializes in birth trauma. Sarah reminds us that “Birth Trauma can occur any time you felt you were not heard or supported in your choices during your labour and birth experience. … If you are feeling distress over your experience, that is valid and it counts”.

Via Twitter, I asked Dr. Carrie Lionberg, a local psychologist with an interest in pregnancy and postpartum mental health, for her suggestions. She replied that:

“Good first step would be a given woman’s Public Health Nurse, who can provide pathway to service w/n Winnipeg healthcare system. Another route, if she has a Benefits Plan/EAP [Employee Assistance Program], to seek counseling on a private basis. The Anxiety Disorders Association of Manitoba (ADAM) may also be helpful, given that a major symptom of trauma is anxiety.”

You can find your local public health office at the WRHA’s website. Call and they will put you in touch with a public health nurse who can help you.

Online Resources:

  • Birth Trauma Canada has an extensive website with lots of self-help suggestions.
  • VBAC Facts has a list of reader-suggested resources for processing traumatic births and losses.