The birth of a child is often seen by society as a joyful event. However, the reality is that childbirth can often be a traumatic event – especially if there are complications. You or your baby may sustain physical injuries or you or your partner may develop PTSD. Some births can even result in the tragic death of the mother or baby, which can be very traumatic for all involved.
It’s important that you take the right steps to recovery so that you don’t cause yourself further physical or mental harm. Below are 7 steps to recovering from a traumatic birth.
Give yourself time to rest
Many new mothers feel that they don’t have the time to rest and recover after giving birth. However, this is essential in order to heal from birth injuries. With a traumatic birth, rest could be even more important for psychologically recovering. But just how can you rest if you have a newborn to look after?
This is where family and friends need to be able to step in. Your partner or a family member may be able to care for your little one while you get some sleep or simply treat yourself to a hot bath. Reach out to loved ones for support if necessary and don’t reject support offered to you if you really need it.
Open up to people you trust
There are likely to be many negative feelings left over from the birth. Many mothers feel that they cannot open up because having a child is supposed to be a time for happiness, however bottling up these feelings can lead to postpartum depression.
You may not feel comfortable talking to all your friends and family members about your feelings, so choose those who you really trust to not pass judgement. Being able to discuss your feelings will make you feel less alone with your thoughts.
Care for any injuries
Any birth injuries that you or your baby has will need to be closely monitored and cared for to help them heal. A midwife or doctor will usually tell you exactly how to care for any injuries you may have. Some mothers may need to schedule check-ups or keep on top of injections on top of caring for injuries.
Make sure to also keep an eye out for any undetected injuries that your baby may have. Have you found an unusual scar on your baby’s body that may have been caused by the birth? Does your baby seem to cry out in pain when you touch a certain area of their body? These things could all be worth talking to your midwife about.
Realise you’re not alone
Having a traumatic birth could feel lonely if you don’t know anyone else who has gone through a similar situation. However, it’s important to remember that there are people out there who are going through the same situation.
It’s possible that there may be forums or support groups that allow you to reach out to parents in the same boat. Consider doing your research online to see what you can find.
Consider look into counselling
If you need someone to discuss your feelings with, but don’t feel you can open up to anyone around you, consider booking an appointment with a counsellor. There are counsellors that specialize in postpartum therapy who can listen to your concerns and offer advice if necessary.
This could be a chance to not just discuss your feelings surrounding the birth, but to discuss any concerns you have with other people such as a partner or family members that are not being supportive enough.
Seek out any compensation you may be owed
If a traumatic birth was the result of medical malpractice or some other form of negligence, it’s possible that you may be able to file a lawsuit to get some financial compensation. This money could help you to care for yourself or your baby more easily, as well as holding those at fault accountable.
You may be able to find a specific legal professional to deal with your specific concern such as a cerebral palsy lawyer. They will be able to help you collect evidence and present a strong case.
Don’t be put off trying again (if you can)
You probably don’t want to be trying for a baby immediately after a traumatic birth. However, if you can still have children and you want them, don’t let yourself be put off the idea of having kids again.
Just because you had a bad experience this time, doesn’t mean you’ll have a bad experience again. In fact, you’re likely to be better prepared next time and will be able to tell midwives of your concerns to reduce the risk of repeat experience.
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