How to heal from a traumatic birth

By Kimberley Newing

It’s true that birth matters, but what does that say to the millions of women who didn’t have the birth they dreamed of?

What if their best intended plans and preparations ended in heartache or trauma?

What matters then?

This is not the post many would have expected I write after recently releasing my remarkable video capturing our 3rd daughter’s sacred home birth. I am deeply humbled and grateful that such a vulnerable share has been met with eyes and words of love, kindness, inspiration and awe.

…… But it was just one special woman’s comment in the sea of hundreds that prompted me to write this article. A comment on a thread in a group environment that moved something deep within me.

She wrote:

I’m almost scared to watch your video. I had to have an emergency c-section and I feel like this will make me sad about what I missed out on.

That one comment made me stop and hover over the like button for a moment.

As I slowly followed the thread of her comment, other women expressed words of incredible support but also shared their own pain from similar experiences.

Traumatic birth stories are not a foreign concept to me – they are in part – one of the biggest reasons I decided to film my birth and create Sacred Birthing Programs – women need to know that birth is not something to be feared.

But what of all the magnificent women out there who had tried their very best to have a divine birthing experience, and whom are now left in tatters after things have gone so perceivably wrong?

How do the women who had a birth that makes their heart feel heavy and their womb ache with sadness, find their peace and healing?

How do they meet others in their joyous experience, while their own birth memories leave them feeling angry, resentful, guilty or somehow like less of a woman?

If you are the mama I am talking about, a woman who tried so hard to have the kind of birth she wanted and is left with deep sorrow in your spirit, then this is for you.

Dear sister,

I know you had the best of intentions. You gave it your all. You read the books, you attended the classes, you asked the questions ….. you felt as ready, equipped and prepared as was possible ….

And then your experience took an unforseen detour. It moved along an unchartered path, in the direction you had feared and prayed would not happen to you.

… And now you’re left wondering. Wishing. Wanting.

You’ve agonised over the what’s and why’s. What could it have been like? What should you have done or said differently? Why did ‘her’ birth turn out that way, and yours didn’t? What if it happens again, will your heart be able to recover?

A wiser part of you knows it had to happen the way it did. Perhaps for the safety of yourself or your child. Perhaps for a deeper learning – that in time, you will come to understand.

But there is also another part of you who needs addressing. The part of you who hides away in the corner of your heart. The part of you laying dormant, until a reminder of what you missed out on reawakens the trauma that has you silently weeping at others joy.

I want to talk to that part of you who feels scarred, ripped off, mistreated, unworthy. Step forward beautiful soul, because I have something very important that you need to hear.

In order for your birth memory to feel like a divine sacred event,

you do not have to have experienced birth in the way you had wished for.

I’ll say that again.

You can still consider your birthing experience as a divine and sacred event, even if it felt anything but that.

Really? you say … How?!

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