Many people find it very difficult to talk about their traumatic birth experiences.
Many are silenced by others when told ‘oh, be grateful; you have a healthy baby’ aka ‘you got your baby, so stop crying because I can’t cope with your distress’.
Many of us are made to feel ashamed because what we experienced was traumatic to us and that, somehow, it shouldn't have been because other people were not traumatised when giving birth. There is a silent implication that how we feel is our own fault, that we brought trauma down upon ourselves because we're weak.
We even silence ourselves because our little inner voice tells us we’re not good enough because we’re traumatised by what happened to us. How often does your little inner voice say ‘Well, other women, other people, seem to cope…?’
The old saying that ‘a problem shared is a problem halved’ is very true.
Shame sits at the root of trauma and shame flourishes in silence.
Shame cannot flourish in the face of stories told and words spoken.
The point is that in telling your story and examining its effect on you, then you begin to reprocess the whole experience and relegate it to the past where it belongs.
Relegating it to the past does not mean it’s forgotten. It does not mean your birth experience no longer matters or that it can be dismissed as unimportant. What happened will always matter because it changes who you are and who you will become. What it means is that you can remember the experience but not relive it as if it were happening in the here and now.
Find someone you trust not to judge you. That might be family or a good friend. Sometimes it’s easier with people not so close – a counsellor or therapist, especially if you need help in resolving trauma symptoms.
The first time of doing anything is always the hardest and so it is with telling your traumatic birth story. But, the more you tell it, the louder you say it, the easier it becomes.
Another amazing thing that happens when you start to talk about your traumatic birth experience is that you realise you are not alone.
Shame isolates us.
Speaking out loud and proud connects us with others who understand. Being heard, being understood, being connected to others who don't need painful explanations and justifications from you about why your experience was traumatic is transforming. These people just 'get' it, and that enables us to see we are not alone in feeling like this and that, in itself, can be powerfully healing.