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4 Tips for Dealing With Your Emotions After a Traumatic Birth

Traumatic births come in all shapes and sizes, but they do all have one thing in common: They leave lingering feelings of guilt, sadness, and anxiety in their wake.

While having a baby should be a wonderful and happy time, it’s simply not always that. Physically, mentally, and emotionally, birth can be painful and deeply distressing. Things go wrong, and there’s often no way to make them right.

Even if you and your baby come out of the experience healthy — or at least on the mend — the experience can leave you in a terrible state. Here are some suggestions and tips for helping yourself deal with that pain and struggle.  

1. Face the pain. Don’t hide from it.

There’s often a tendency among women who have experienced traumatic births to try to push the pain down and hide away from it. When it pops up in your mind, you may try to shake it away and not think about it.

Certainly, understanding how to handle memories of your traumatic birth is like walking a fine line. On one hand, it's true that you shouldn't linger on bad thoughts. In any situation where there is trauma, we can spin ourselves up so much that we actually make a simple problem much worse.

On the other hand, it's good to face the pain you have to struggle with. Everyone will experience pain and trauma during their lives, and accepting it for exactly what it is is actually part of moving on. Moreover, if you can learn to use a bad experience to improve your life moving forward, that's always the best possible outcome. We’ll discuss this more in tip #4.

2. Don’t listen to bad advice

Very often, traumatic birth experiences actually end with a healthy mom and a healthy baby. In a way, these are the hardest scenarios to deal with, however, because your friends and family won’t understand if you still feel the need to grieve and if you continue to struggle even after returning home from the hospital.

“Why would you be sad right now!? You have a healthy baby, and you’re fine! You're going to heal!"
Any woman in this situation knows that it’s simply not as easy as that. Whether you had to have an emergency C-section or your labor was prolonged for many days, this trauma can linger. If anyone tries to tell you that it's unfounded or that you should simply be grateful for what you have, don't feel you have to listen to them. Chances are, they’re speaking without experience and simply don’t understand.
Follow your own intuition because in almost all situations, it will be right. You deserve to devote attention to fixing the struggle you're having internally and to move toward a more positive state at your own pace.

3. Find out how best to comfort yourself

As you begin to grapple with the emotional and mental sides of recovery, remember that there are physical things you can do to calm your anxiety as well. Small acts of kindness toward yourself can make a huge difference to your mental state.

Here are some ideas:
  • Get some alone time. Ask for help from your partner, your family, or close friends. Let them watch your baby while you shop, get a manicure, or just go for a walk.
  • Take a relaxing CBD bath. Go to your local Denver dispensary and grab some bath CBD oils or salts. Dissolving these in your bath can have a positive anti-inflammatory effect and will help calm your body and spirit.
  • See professionals. If your back is bothering you, see a chiropractor. If you’re having pelvic floor problems, see your doctor. If you want to start working through your emotions, see a therapist. It’s worth it to seek professional help sooner rather than later.

4. Learn from your experience

Lastly, figure out how you can learn from the experience you had. When anything goes wrong in life, there are always lessons to learn, and the smartest people in the room will learn them. Everyone else will wallow in despair or pretend like it never happened.

So, what can you take away from the traumatic birth you experienced? If, for example, you feel that you were not assertive enough in the birthing room or did not plan enough for unlikely outcomes, maybe these are things you can plan to focus on more if you have another child. Perhaps you were surrounded by unsupportive people who didn’t understand your needs.

Even if you're done having children, there are lessons you can learn from a difficult birth. In the end, it is you who gets to decide your attitude and the next steps you will take to reclaim your life and your outlook as your own.

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