Childbirth is often seen as a joyous and celebratory event, but for many individuals, it can be a traumatic experience. Birth trauma refers to a significant psychological distress experienced by a birthing partner during or after childbirth. It can occur due to various reasons such as a difficult delivery, unexpected complications, feelings of loss of control, or unmet expectations. While most discussions about birth trauma revolve around the birthing partner, it’s important to remember that nonbirthing partners can also experience distress and trauma during this time.
If your partner has experienced birth trauma, here are some ways you can support and help them cope:
The first step in helping your partner cope with a traumatic birth is to listen. It’s crucial to provide a safe and non-judgmental space for your partner to express their feelings and thoughts. Validate their emotions and let them know that you are there for them. Avoid minimizing or dismissing their experience, even if it may seem trivial to you.
When you are truly listening to your partner, you may recognize some themes such as grief or shame. It can be helpful to validate these experiences by saying, “It sounds like you are experiencing grief regarding the birth.” Another theme that may emerge is shame. Maybe your partner feels shame because they didn’t get a chance to bond with the baby or they didn’t feel present after the baby was born. You can validate this by saying, “It sounds like you are feeling shame because you weren’t able to bond with the baby right away.” The best thing we can do for someone who is feeling intense emotions is validate them. While we can feel tempted to put a positive spin on the situation, this can leave the individual feeling bad for having their feelings. While it seems strange at first to emphasize or confirm the hard feelings, this makes the individual feel less alone. By acknowledging their emotions, you are creating a safe space for them to process and heal. Remember, you have to “walk through” the emotions to heal, not ignore or dismiss them.
The more you know about birth trauma, the better equipped you will be to support your partner. Take the time to educate yourself on what birth trauma is and how it can affect individuals. You can work with birth professionals such as doulas during the pregnancy, birth, or postpartum period, who can provide valuable resources and information. Another resource is https://www.postpartum.net/ where you can find support groups and information on birth trauma.
Encourage Them to Seek Professional Help
If your partner is struggling to cope with birth trauma, encourage them to seek professional help. A therapist or counselor trained in treating perinatal mental health and trauma can provide the necessary support and help your partner work through their emotions. Offer to accompany them to therapy sessions if they feel comfortable. Our therapists at Informed Therapy Group specialize in birth trauma. You can visit our Contact Us page for more information and get connected with a provider.
Take Care of Household Tasks
Birth trauma can be emotionally and physically draining for your partner, making it difficult to carry out day-to-day tasks. Offer to take on household responsibilities such as cooking, cleaning, and caring for the baby to give your partner some rest and time to heal.
Recovery from a traumatic birth takes time, and there may be ups and downs along the way. It’s essential to be patient with your partner and not rush their healing process. Offer your support, understanding, and love as they work through their emotions.
Remember that every person’s experience with a traumatic birth is unique, and the recovery process may look different for everyone. What’s important is to be there for your partner and provide them with the necessary support and understanding during this difficult time. With love, patience, and professional help if needed, your partner can overcome birth trauma and find healing. So continue being a supportive and loving partner as they navigate through their journey towards recovery and healing. Stay educated on the topic, stay understanding, and most importantly, stay present for your partner.
Lastly, don’t forget to take care of yourself as well. Supporting a loved one through a traumatic experience can also take a toll on your mental and emotional well-being. Make sure to prioritize self-care and seek support from friends or professionals if needed. Remember, taking care of yourself is also a vital part of being able to support your partner effectively.
Begin Therapy for Birth Trauma in Atlanta, GA
Together, you and your partner can overcome a traumatic birth and come out stronger on the other side. Reach out to our therapists at Informed Therapy Group for more information and resources on birth trauma. Our therapists are trained in perinatal mental health and ready to support you and your partner during the transition into parenthood. You can start your therapy journey by following these simple steps:
- Contact Informed Therapy Group to schedule an appointment
- Meet with a skilled therapist for your first session
- Start coping with birth trauma!
Other Services Offered at Informed Therapy Group
Postpartum therapy isn’t the only service offered by Informed Therapy Group. We understand that you may be struggling with more than one mental health concern. This is why we are happy to offer support with therapy for depression, therapy for stress management, anxiety therapy, and therapy for grief and loss. We also specialize in couples therapy and pregnancy counseling. To learn more about Informed Therapy read About Us, FAQs, and our blog!