Birthing with Trauma

Photography: Poppy Peterson Photography

By Moran Liviani

As a young girl, I didn’t have the easiest of upbringings. Trauma and big-ticket item misgivings from both my parents really sealed the deal with unlocking the gift of anxiety into my life, however, with that come some rewards as it’s taught me to appreciate the moment and not take anything for granted. However, childhood is really a time in which perseverance is key and it is true when they say that children are resilient as I had to be. Since the age of 12, I didn’t see my mother till I was an adult and the profound effect that has on a girl was only discovered by me in my later years. The old saying that children get told ‘you’ll only understand when you’re an adult’ is actually a very true statement but I didn’t realise that as a preteen.

Fast forward in time and I’m 24 and heavily pregnant. I was perhaps 38 or 39 weeks and we were out for dinner with my in-laws and in the midst of having my meal, I felt a deep pit in my stomach, a feeling of pure dread, just pure panic. It was the start of my mind suddenly catching up to the trauma I thought I left behind, and now the eye-opening fact that I felt like a child about to have a baby.

Was I ready, did I have the time to be ready? This was going to happen whether I liked it or not.

I dismissed the feeling and just brushed it off saying I’ll be alright. I’ll handle whatever comes to me just like I did in the past.

I got married very early, earlier than I would probably recommend my own daughters get married but I married my best friend and I was happy, so no regrets there. But when we found out we were expecting a baby, I think we didn’t realise how profoundly this would change the dynamics of our relationship and the immense effect it would have on my mental and emotional wellbeing. The path I chose for my labour and birth were a result of what little I knew and how little I sought out to educate myself. I peed on a stick which showed me the 2 lines and then I went to my local GP who confirmed the pregnancy and because I had private health insurance, I was given the usual route of care that I thought all mums chose as I knew no better and that was an obstetrician. I wasn’t very fond of him but I thought to myself that I wasn’t there to make a friendship, rather hire a professional to take care of me medically in my labour and all that mattered at the end of the day was that me and my daughter were physically intact after this birth. I brushed off any childbirth education, I read one book and that book really didn’t give me anything worthwhile that would guide me on my way to a positive birthing experience. My husband was totally clueless about what awaited him and was like a deer in the headlights on the actual day, but you don’t know what you don’t know!!

So how does trauma come into it? Well on the birthing day, I got my first contraction and life as I knew it was suddenly flashbang in my eyes over.

I was a child in my mind that hadn’t had a chance to process what happened in her childhood and was now going to become a mother with each surging contraction.

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