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What Is Birth Trauma?

What Is Birth Trauma
What Is Birth Trauma
What Is Birth Trauma?

If you are holding on to negative feelings associated with your birth, you may have experienced birth trauma 😔⁣⁣⁠
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Maybe something didn’t go the right way, you weren’t treated with respect, you had to be whisked to the OR quickly, or you were worried that you or your baby might die. ⁣⁣⁠
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Whatever it was, only YOU get to decide.⁣⁣⁠
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I receive tons and tons of messages in my inbox of women telling me about their traumatic birth stories – asking if there was something wrong or something that could have been prevented 😞 ⁣⁣⁠
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It really makes me sad that traumatic birth is a thing, and that these types of births leave moms feeling lost after delivery.⁣⁣⁠
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Traumatic birth can affect how you go into motherhood, and arguably affect you for the rest of your life.⁣⁣⁠
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❤ If you’ve experienced a traumatic birth and are feeling hopeless after your experience, I encourage you to talk to your provider, seek out a therapist, and find support in your area. ⁣⁣⁠
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This is not something to be taken lightly, because it REALLY can have an effect on your life.⁣⁣⁠
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You are free to share your story if you’ve experienced a traumatic birth in the comments. I just also warn other pregnant mamas that reading some of the comments may be difficult for you, and anxiety invoking, so please read with caution ❤⁣⁠

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17 Comments

  1. I was in labor for 16h… las hour they tried everything, the kept calling more experience doctors to check on me, I didn’t knew what was happening. They told I’m going to have a C section after 15h!! Finally a better/experienced doctor arrives, he told me he is going to try something different, asks me to trust him and my baby is out. I lost a lot of blood, and I had a big tear. I haven’t eat for the las 11h due to the epidural, I’m weak, nurses force me to breastfeed! I faint twice, people going crazy around me, my mother crying, my husband screaming to everybody about how incompetent they are… worst day of my life… it shouldn’t be like that

  2. Thank you for addressing this. I found a therapist after my traumatic birth and it was so helpful. She was the first one to tell me that it didn’t matter how “bad” someone else’s story was, I still experienced trauma and it helped me move and begin to heal through my next 2 births. A good therapist is so invaluable ♥️

  3. My first child was born at home, everything went like clockwork and I did have that empowering feeling some women talk about. Because of that positive experience I decided to have my second at home, it was 6 years later. That labor was SO intense and scary! I was screaming like the births you see in the movies and I scared myself! I had PTSD after, terrible dreams at night and flash backs during the day, it consumed me. We had a surprise pregnancy when my 2nd was only 5 months old, I was TERRIFIED! This time I decided I wanted an epidural for sure! Well, birthday came and after 6 failed epidurals (thanks to my scoliosis) I had him naturally. It was AWEFUL! The most painful birth by far! I was already traumatized from my second…and now I added this horrific birth experience to it. I was a mess for YEARS! When people announce they are pregnant my initial thought is always, oh my gosh that sucks! /: I’ve come a long way but I still think back on those traumatic days often.

  4. I wanted to avoid induction. Instead, they used literally every induction method on me due to preeclampsia. Foley balloon, cervical ripening, stripped membranes, broken waters, and so much pitocin 😣 I gave birth to twins after four hours of pushing only to hemorrhage 4L of blood and end up on magnesium for 24 hours with a bakri balloon implanted. The hour after birth was spent with doctors elbows deep in my pelvis trying to stop the bleed by placing the balloon and I was just shaking uncontrollably, vomiting, and scared with my legs jacked open on a sliver of an operating table. My husband did the skin to skin in the back of the OR and by the time it was my turn I was out of it on magnesium. My supply has been affected and the only thing I wanted more than a natural birth was breastfeeding exclusively. I would take healthy babies and a traumatic birth over the alternative, but I have a pit in my stomach and long term effects from my traumatic birth.

  5. Thank you for this! My baby was born with a tumor so the first few seconds of his life were scary and unexpected. Fast forward 6 months later and he is healthy – so I never felt right calling my experience traumatic compared to other mom’s experiences. But I still cry thinking about it and have such anxiety when I think about ever giving birth again.

  6. Its been a year and a half and I changed providers but I’m still not comfy cozy with the idea of having another. I use to want 3-4 kids but now I’m content with 1. I was in labor for 2 weeks, had 2 postpartum hemorrhages and tearing that healed open.

  7. These stories are a testament to listening to women! Your story is your story and you are the eyes of your definition of trauma. Birth trauma is a precursor to postpartum challenges. Time to change the system #postpartumuniversity

  8. I feel like my birth trauma was entirely preventable and that is the most upsetting part of all of this. My birth wasn’t easy, but it also wasn’t a true “horror story” like some of the horrific ones you hear. My baby did get stuck and had the cord wrapped around his neck, but he was completely fine. I bled just below what would be considered a hemorrhage and had a second degree medio-lateral episiotomy that made my recovery miserable. BUT, I came out of it just fine and my incision is doing well now. But, I was kept in the dark during delivery as to what was happening and then nothing was explained to me after. This lead to my brain rushing to the worst conclusions. Why did they whisk my baby away? Why wasn’t the cord clamp delayed? Is it normal to bleed this much? Did I almost die? I look and feel like I almost died. How far am I cut? It feels like I’ve been sliced half way down my thigh. Why was I cut instead of tearing naturally? Where was I cut? SO many questions that I was in no frame of mind to ask after I was convinced my baby was about to die, all I cared about in that moment was if he was ok. Then I was so delirious from blood loss and sleep deprivation I could barely form a thought let alone ask all of the above. Then when I finally was able to ask my concerns were brushed off and I was just told my birth was normal and very “by the book”…. it made me feel like I was crazy. It wasn’t until talking to my friends about their experiences that I learned my birth was dramatic and terrifying and that I wasn’t exaggerating my pain. I just felt like after the birth was over it was almost like ok thanks for the $30k good luck….

  9. Thank you so much for this. With my first I didn’t even know birth trauma existed and was so confused why I had essentially PTSD symptoms about it! With my second I was aware and could self-validate my experience.

  10. My pregnancy was beautiful, I was exercising, walking, climbing stairs and what not. I thought my delivery would be easy as.

    On my due date I felt he’s not moving like he used to. We went to the hospital and they put ecg machine to see his heartbeat which was dropping in between. My ordeal started from here, they tried to physically check how many centimetres I was dilated, twice, broke the water, gave me epidural injection which just worked on one my side of my body, started oxytocin side by side so I was feeling contractions in full force. They gave me second round of epidural plus spinal injection which made me go into seizure and my bubs heartbeat dropped tremendously.
    They took me for emergency c section and while I asked what’s happening, they said we are trying to save you and your baby.

    I stilling have nightmares and flashbacks.

    I’ll never forget what happened. 🙏🏻

  11. I had an emergency csection after 22 hours or labour and being 9cm. I had undiagnosed vasa previa…

    Baby started having decels so the resident on call double checked my ultrasound. They saw that the Cord insertion was noted as abnormal… and couldn’t understand why I hadn’t had follow up ultrasounds. Pretty sure my delivering doctor (who followed me in pregnancy) never even reviewed the ultrasound. My husband heard the resident getting angry at my doctor in the hallway about this.

    I was told by the specialist they called in for the csection that if I had delivered vaginally we both had a high likelihood of bleeding out.

    It took me half a year to fully understand what had occurred. My daughter is 2 and I am still angry about it.

    I had a successful VBAC with my second… they broke my water and I went from 3cm to 10 in an hour and a half. Didn’t have time for my intended epidural and it was rough! However I still considered it a way better experience than my first.

    However baby was 9lbs and I had complex tears which got infected and now I have a bladder and recital prolapse. Wishing I had opted for a csection and feel like I made the wrong choice.

  12. Not my birth story but it’s my cousin’s. Her husband was overseas so she asked me to be in the room with her during delivery. The OB nurse she was the absolutle worst nurse I have ever encountered. The nurse was watching the monitor and my cousin told the nurse that the baby was coming and that she needed to push. The nurse didnt even look up at my cousin but continued to watch the monitor and tell my cousin that the baby was in fact not coming. My cousin pleaded with the nurse that the baby was coming and she really needed to start pushing only for the nurse to ignore her. After the 3rd time my cousin pleaded with the nurse and the nurse telling her that she was wrong and the monitor was not indicating that the baby was coming, I raised my voice to the nurse causing her to finally look at us, and told her that my cousin is ready to push so she better get people in the room. She rolled her eyes, and begrudgingly checked my cousin only to start freaking out that the baby was in fact coming and my cousin was crowning but there was no doctor to deliver the baby. The nurse told my cousin to stop pushing until she found someone to come deliever the baby. Finally, a midwife came in to assist with delivery. As my cousin was pushing she began to cry, because it was setting in that her husband wasn’t there to be by her side during the birth of their first baby. The nurse (same nurse who told her the baby wasn’t coming and then to stop pushing until someone came to help) told my cousin to “suck it up because there will be no crying in here today”. I looked at the nurse and told her to get of the room. I get that cousin needed to focus on her pushing and delivering her baby and not her husband overseas, but you do not tell a woman in labor to suck it up. She did eventually leave after I asked her to leave again. We filed a complaint after the fact and she was taken off my cousin’s care for the remainder of her hospital stay. To this day, it makes me cringe when I think about that nurse treated my cousin. My cousin never delivered at that hospital and found a new OB doctor for her next child. Witnessing that experience solidified my decision to never have children.

  13. Yes idk how many times I would be dismissed when I was trying to talk about my birth trauma from my first. I would always get the “well as long as you and baby were healthy that’s all that matters” I would think really? Bc mentally and emotionally I don’t feel good about it. So I never talked about it and pushed my feelings down. I couldn’t talk about my daughters birth without sobbing. I don’t feel I truly healed until the birth of my son 2y4m later. And it had a lot to do with my midwives who actually made me feel heard and validated that I did have birth trauma that helped me start the healing. So thank you for shedding light on this.

Posted By Claire

Claire is our Community Manager here at New Moms Forum. A mom of two (almost grown-up babies), Claire has been building and operating community-based websites for almost 20 years. In her downtime, Claire enjoys spending time with her family and drinking copious amounts of red wine!

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