Healing is multi-faceted and individual, so I cannot give you one answer that fits for every woman. However, here are a few starting points.
- If you haven’t already, explore yourself in a hand mirror. We often have a distorted image of what we look like, because of how we feel. Really look at your vulva, and see how it is. Allow for the feelings that come up. There may be real grief, surprise, or even relief. This will take everything out of the realm of imagination and allow you to see things as they really are.
- Follow your intuition and what you see. If you KNOW something is not right, it isn’t. It doesn’t matter if someone tells you you’re are fine and normal. There is a reason that you are not feeling fine or normal. Find a pelvic floor physical therapist trained holistically by Tami Lynn Kent or a Sexological Bodyworker who has experience in working internally and seeing the whole of who you are. You need someone who can work sensitively. You may experience an emotional release or a resurgence of grief about your birth story. This is part of the healing process.
- Be patient but not complacent. Being a new mum can put you in a fog, where everyone else’s needs overshadow yours. In fact, you may only be cursorily experience these symptoms – really feeling them. Some women don’t notice they are avoiding certain positions during sex because of pain, for instance. Taking care of an infant is a full-time job, balancing that with work and partnership can be overwhelming. It is understandable that some of these physical needs have slipped into the backdrop. But now that they are in your awareness, take action. Don’t push through exercises that you have a sinking feeling are exaggerating the symptoms you are feeling. Reach out for the help you need.
- If you had a traumatic birth experience, not what other people consider traumatic, but what FEELS TO YOU like traumatic, it is CRUCIAL that you get support to process it. Pam England, author of Birthing from Within, offers online Birth Medicine sessions. I study with her, and I cannot recommend her highly enough. She is a true wise woman- she has worked in birth for over forty years and has medicine for each woman and each birth experience. I also highly recommend Somatic Experiencing trauma resolution. Better yet, someone trained in pelvic floor work together with trauma work. Resolving birth trauma is at the root of healing symptoms. Your body won’t let you skip this step. Invest in the step soon!
It is important that we “normal”ize the range of women’s birth experiences, including ecstatic ones and orgasmic ones, so that as women we expand our vision of what birth can be.
Pass this information on to your friends. Women everywhere need to know that full healing from childbirth is possible, with the right support!
*Thanks to Jane Austin for this important linguistic distinction.
Originally published HERE.
Kimberly Ann Johnson is a sexological bodyworker, somatic experiencing trauma resolution practitioner, birth doula, postpartum care revolutionary and single mom. She specializes in helping women hands-on, hands-in prepare for birth, recover from birth injuries and birth trauma, and heal from sexual trauma. She is the author of The Fourth Trimester: A Postpartum Guide to Healing Your Body, Balancing Your Emotions and Restoring Your Vitality. You can read more about her work and become a part of the Magamama movement at www.Magamama.com.