Healing From Trauma
Healing from trauma and abuse
So many people experience trauma in life and our society tells us to ignore it and just move on or get over it. Well, I am here to say that I tried that advice for many years and found that it did not work. My trauma colored everything I did from my daily decisions to what side of the bed that I slept on at night to feel safe. My trauma had not "gone away" no matter how hard I worked or played. It was sitting on my shoulder ever ready to spook me. The only real relief I got was when I had the courage to face it with the support of others who understood and had walked a similar road.
Birth is a very sacred vulnerable time. You learn a lot about yourself and other people around you. I felt like I had everything under control until I became pregnant. Then, doctor visits started and I thought I would be fine with pregnancy check ups, but I later admitted to myself that they scared me. I did not want other people touching me. I did not like being in a situation that I could not control and was unsure what to expect. I actually was terrified even though I smiled at my appointments. I tried to muscle through it because other moms had these appointments and they seemed ok. I wondered "What was wrong with me?" and "Why couldn't I just be normal?" I had no idea why I felt paralyzed and tried to think of reasons to not go to my pregnancy appointments. Nobody at the visits ever brought up the topic of trauma and I felt alone. One thing I did know was that I could not go to an appointment without my husband holding my hand. To onlookers, we looked like a deeply in love couple while inside I was trying to find the courage to smile at these appointments.
Somehow I made it through pregnancy and finally the day of labor came. I was excited to give birth, but terrified at the same time. One good thing is that I had a midwife from the suggestion of my wise sister. The midwife was very patient with me and gave me time. The birth was ok, but parts of the birth are still hidden in my mind because it was so traumatizing to have strangers in my room and people touching me when I did not want it. It cased flashbacks during the birth that I was not prepared to handle and could not express to my husband or midwife. I was struggling to give birth while also experiencing past trauma that I thought I had hidden so well. I wish that someone had talked to me about this before birth. I wish that I had someone with me that understood what was happening in my mind and body. Someone to calm me and help me know that I was safe. I just wanted to find a dark corner and hide, but that does not happen at a hospital birth.
As the years have gone on, I have learned a lot about myself and how to have the courage to face my experiences and fears. I have made better choices to get counseling and to be more open about my fears. During one of my pregnancies, my wise female doctor asked me what I would do if she did not make my birth. I was frozen in fear at the thought. She gave me a couple of minutes to process that and then made a suggestion. "How about asking for the lead student there that is female to attend my birth? Just tell them that you don't want any males in your room," she said. It was an amazing suggestion and very insightful to my needs. Not surprisingly, that is exactly how my birth played out. I felt very calm and in control because I asked for a female student instead of the male doctor who was on call. The hospital did not bat an eye and quickly got me the support I needed. That was such an empowering birth for me.
So, what does my experience matter in regards to others? It means that I now see that all of us need to look at pregnancy and birth support differently. So many women have had trauma in their life and we don't need to add more trauma to them. Think before you act. Don't assume that the pregnant women likes to be touched. Asked her permission before you reach into her space. Just because she is pregnant does not mean she looses her rights or her voice. We also need to talk about trauma more and share the wonderful resources out there to help women heal. Consider the woman and where she is coming from before birth to make her birth unique and an empowering and healing moment.
I am no longer a trauma victim, but am a strong survivor!
ACA WSO http://www.adultchildren.org/ Go to this website to find when group meetings are held. The meetings are free and held all over the country. This group is a safe place to share feelings and learn about your true self. You will learn to cleanse negative habits, heal from negative thoughts, and love the true you.
Melissa Linning (LPC-MHSP) Cypress Counseling Group 615-604-0971 MelissaLinning@gmail.com ccgtherapy.org
Solace For Mothers "an organization designed for the sole purpose of providing and creating support for women who have experienced childbirth as traumatic. Birth Trauma is real and can result from even a seemingly "normal" birth experience."Solace for Mothers Healing After Traumatic Childbirth
Momma Trauma blog
Prevention and Treatment of Traumatic Childbirth http://pattch.org/
WISH (Woman's Institute for Sexual Health) "Brooke Faught NP at WISH women's institute for sexual health in Nashville. She can do a thorough eval and give a woman specific PT for her exact issue."
Patricia Dean (615) 438-3132 (Brentwood area) www.makepositivechanges.net
Click here is a great article on her counseling practice.