This week is Birth Trauma Awareness Week, and I wanted to take a second to share my thoughts on birth trauma.
I was chatting with a wonderful client earlier this week, and they asked me what I would do in a situation where I was the doulatog, and there was a traumatic event or an emergency. I started off by telling them that I would have a conversation with my client in that situation beforehand about the reality of the unpredictable nature of birth; the importance being what would THEY like me to do in a traumatic event or emergency – if I should keep capturing images, if I should travel with them to the hospital to provide continuous support, if I should stay with the partner, etc. etc.
This got me thinking a bit deeper, and how as a Certified Birth Doulatog, it is very important for me not to project MY perspective or opinions of how the birth went onto the client; if they are very happy with how their birth went, then it is not my place to skew that perspective. If I witness something that is traumatic, it is up to me to turn to my people, my colleagues, my friends or family to process that birth. It is not my place to tell my client what is considered traumatic or not.
This is what birth trauma looks like, to me. It may seem like a perfectly happy, smiling, glowing mother who just gave birth to her beautiful, healthy baby; to me, I see anemia; exhaustion; dizziness; confusion; weakness; a blood transfusion; all caused by a severe postpartum hemorrhage. I feel the disappointment of a postpartum experience that didn’t go the way I had imagined because I couldn’t get out of bed or pick my baby up from their bassinet. Although this may be how I feel about this photo now, just 6 short months after birth, I know that I will treasure this photo later on when I have had more time to process my birth experience. Perhaps I will see the strong, capable, confident woman that I know is in there, who full heartedly brought her child into this world
As your doulatog, I will support you to the best of my abilities during any situation, I will validate your feelings and concerns, and I will help prepare you for the birth you dream of and process your birth afterwards.