I felt immense pain in my body but what I was going through mentally exceeded that in every way. I felt immense fear of this birth, I felt no support to process any of this, and I didn’t take any initiative to do so beforehand and now it was too late. I felt I was at the point of no return so each contraction that went over me felt like a wave of panic. I remember the room as though I was there yesterday, I remember my husband talking over me to the midwife, I remember the gush of waters as they left my body and the contractions got deeper and stronger, but what I remember most is the helpless feeling I had for the entire 48 hours of my labour and birth.
I was purely petrified. I needed to be held in that space, for someone to guide me and allow me to heal and open but I had none of that and because of that birth I walked away feeling traumatised.
As is no big surprise, I had postnatal depression and postnatal anxiety. I didn’t understand why I just couldn’t get over it and had a panic attack after panic attack. My husband was trying to come to terms with this new life with a baby and a wife that didn’t want him to leave her side because she was always fearful. I was later diagnosed with PTSD from childhood trauma with birth trauma to accompany that – wasn’t I lucky!
But I am a true believer that things happen in life for a reason and that reason is that later on for the birth of my two other girls I did things very differently. I prepared for the birth differently. I hired a doula to be my guide and I prepared my husband for the road ahead and what I needed from him, and most of all I took the time to invest in myself and my own mental preparation through holistic childbirth education.
I unleashed the layers I needed to, to come to terms with my births and for my own self-healing, and I grew as a woman and a mother to trust in myself and my own strength and capabilities.
One of the biggest gifts I got from that experience is that now I guide women like myself through their journeys through pregnancy and birth, and I teach them the ways in which they can unleash their trauma, their hurt, their vulnerabilities to be able to come into their birthing space a whole woman ready for what’s to come. I meet a lot of women who have dealt with their own trauma or have befriended anxiety in their own lives and work with them on how to make that work during their birth.
If you’ve experienced any trauma in your lifetime and are on this journey to becoming a mum, then I urge you to do the work now as it will speak volumes for you in the future. I saw a recent post that said, “Everyone wants to hold the baby, but who holds the mum?” Someone needs to hold the mum prenatally, during the birth and in postpartum. We are forgetting that she is not just the vessel for this new life but her holistic health is of such vast importance so that she can be well and healthy to take care of her young. I hope that through my story even one woman can take the steps to find her path to self-healing before she brings another little being earthside, so this can become her survival guide to self-love and empowerment.
Moran is a mother of three girls, a Birth Doula, HypnoBirthing – Mongan Method Practitioner, Lamaze Childbirth Educator and Placenta Encapsulation Specialist. Her aim in her role as a birth worker is to aid women to trust and believe in their bodies and their abilities to handle anything, and to let them gain the knowledge to the array of choices that are available in maternity care so that they can make informed decisions when it comes to their birth.
Moran is a true believer that “when you change the way you think about birth, the way you birth will change’ ~ Marie Mongan