Birth Trauma (Postpartum PTSD) ~Dr. Katie Godfrey

Birth Trauma: Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) after Childbirth*

At The Catalyst Center we work to support women and their families during pregnancy, childbirth, and postpartum.  One of the areas in which we work is Birth Trauma.  It is reported that between 25% and 35% of mothers report experiencing a traumatic childbirth experience.  The causes of birth trauma include:

  • Medical Interventions, especially ones the mother feels were unnecessary
  • Lack of control during pregnancy and/or birth
  • Lack of support from partner and/or staff
  • Injuries experienced by mother or baby during childbirth

 Signs and Symptoms

Some women recover more quickly than others, physically and psychologically, while some find themselves struggling to move forward.  Typically the mothers who are struggling have symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).  Signs of Birth Trauma and PTSD include:

  • Weepiness
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Insomnia
  • Irritability and angry outbursts
  • Panic attacks
  • Nightmares about the birth
  • A desire to avoid the baby or anything relating to the birth
  • Feelings of detachment from loved ones
  • A sense that some other disaster is imminent
  • Physiological and psychological reactions to reminders of the birth
  • Flashbacks of birth experience
  • Lack of memory of birth experience
  • Fear of having subsequent children

Healing

 Try to not judge yourself.  Your feelings and reactions are normal for someone who as encountered trauma.  People may tell you, “As long as the baby is ok, you should feel fine about your birth experience”.  While they are trying to be helpful, please keep in mind that this just is not true.  Your birth experience matters!  As Barbara Katz Rothman said, “Birth is not only about making babies. Birth is about making mothers–strong, competent, capable mothers who trust themselves and know their inner strength.”  Here are some suggestions to start the healing process:

  • Do not judge yourself.  Remember: your feelings and reactions are a normal reaction to trauma
  • Get support from family and friends
  • Join a moms group
  • Find support online
  • Get help caring for baby
  • Give yourself time to heal
  • Create art
  • Write in a journal
  • Write letters to the hospital staff (you do not have to mail them)
  • Exercise
  • Therapy, including EMDR
  • Find places to talk about your birth story
  • Body work (massage, mani/pedi)
  • Write your birth story
  • Re-write your birth story as you wish it had happened
  • Skin-to-skin contact with baby
  • Talking to baby about what the two of you experienced
  • Obtain medical records so you know exactly what happened
  • Consider talking to your doctor about medication

You do not have to go through this alone.  If you or a loved one are struggling with Birth Trauma and PTSD, please contact The Catalyst Center.  Change Begins Today!

*Adapted from: Griebenow, Jennifer J (Winter 2006). Healing the Trauma: Entering Motherhood with Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).  Midwifery Today Issue 80.

The Catalyst Center is here to help.  We offer individual, couple, and family therapy, as well as a Birth Circle where mothers can share birth stories.  Please contact us for more information by calling 720-675-7123 or emailing us at catalystcenterllc@gmail.com.

Image

Dr. Katie Godfrey is a therapist at The Catalyst Center. Her specialties include:

Ready to learn more or book your free initial consultation with Katie? Give The Catalyst Center a call at 720-675-7123.

Advertisements

Suggestions for Family and Friends of Postpartum Moms ~Dr. Katie Godfrey

Postpartum Depression, Anxiety, Obsessive Compulsion, and Trauma:

Suggestions for Family and Friends

 Postpartum depression threatens the mother’s and partner’s health, relationship, friendships and careers, as well as the baby’s welfare.  Dealing with issues of day-to-day living becomes a special challenge.  With patience and understanding, you can give invaluable support and assist a depressed mother’s recovery.  Here are some suggestions:

  • Encourage her to seek the help of a physician and/or psychiatrist.  An evaluation is important, and medication may be very helpful.  There are some medications that are considered safe during breastfeeding.  Consult your physician.
  • Encourage her to seek therapy.
  • Let the mother express her feelings of anxiety and fear freely.
  • Encourage her to exercise and take time for herself.
  • Encourage the mother to join a PPD support group.
  • Help her develop a schedule with one or two simple tasks.  Notice when she makes an effort.
  • Don’t take her criticism personally.
  • You are justified in being frustrated with her attitude and actions, but be sure to direct your anger at the situation and her illness, not at her.  She is doing the best she can in her current condition.
  • Be aware that you can get depressed yourself, and may need help as well.  Talk to a friend, physician, or therapist.

**Adapted from Postpartum Education for Parents

The Catalyst Center is here to help.  We offer individual, couple, and family therapy, as well as a Birth Circle where mothers can share birth stories.  Please contact us for more information.  Change Begins Today.

Image

Dr. Katie Godfrey is a therapist at The Catalyst Center. Her specialties include:

Ready to learn more or book your free initial consultation with Katie? Give The Catalyst Center a call at 720-675-7123.

Signs and Symptoms: Postpartum Depression

Signs someone may be experiencing Postpartum Depression

  • Sadness
  • Chronic crying
  • Unexplained physical complaints
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Appetite changes
  • Sleep disturbances (other than baby waking)
  • Rapid weight gain or loss
  • Poor concentration or focus
  • A feeling of detachment from baby
  • Feeling angry and/or irritable
  • Hopelessness and helplessness
  • Feeling totally OVERWHELMED
  • Lack of feelings towards the baby
  • Inability to take care of self, baby, or family
  • Loss of interest, joy, or pleasure
  • Isolation
  • Thinking: “This doesn’t feel like me”
  • Mood swings
  • Feelings of worthlessness

Postpartum Depression is treatable and curable. It can occur during pregnancy or anytime in the first year of parenthood. Mothers and fathers are both susceptible.

If you or someone you know is experiencing these symptoms, please contact your health care provider or reach out to the therapists at The Catalyst Center.

You are not alone. We can help.

www.CatalystCenterLLC.com

720-675-7123

300 South Jackson Street, Suite 520

Denver, CO 80209

Thanks to Dr. Katie Godfrey for compiling this information

The Catalyst Center is a group practice specializing in the prevention and treatment of postpartum depression, anxiety, and trauma reactions.