One in three births are considered to be traumatic, with mums and dads still experiencing symptoms of trauma long after the birth. A much smaller number of these parents (around 3%-4%) will develop into full PTSD post birth.
Often, it’s hard to identify if this is something that’s affecting you because symptoms can be blurred with postnatal anxiety, postnatal depression, maternal OCD – all of which are different and all of which need to be supported differently.
Trauma can manifest itself into various forms of maternal mental health so, if you’ve had a traumatic birth, getting support for it can be one way to really support yourself to start feeling better.
It’s also difficult to understand which of these feelings are normal in becoming new mums and dads. We can feel absolutely exhausted and overwhelmed – “when on earth are we supposed to have time to address any of these feelings?”! It’s a period of huge adjustment, and coming to terms with your birth experience is one aspect of everything that you need to do.
This means it’s vital that you can get help from someone who really understands the perinatal period (ie. the period from conception to when your baby turns two) so they can help you effectively.
When we’ve experienced birth trauma/birth grief or another perinatal trauma (breastfeeding, baby in neonatal, postnatal experience, miscarriage) it can cause us to feel some of these emotions:
We can feel guilty for all of these emotions as ‘at least we have a healthy baby’.
These thoughts are really unhelpful as the goal is that both mum and baby are well after birth.
Having a birth or another perinatal experience which wasn’t as you expected can cause the following issues:
- Heightened level of anxiety
- Not bonding with your baby
- Relationship problems with your partner/family
- Inability to cope day-to-day
- Postnatal depression/anxiety/PTSD
- Inability to sleep
- Not want to have another baby
- Don’t want to have any sexual relationship
These can affect mum, but also can affect Dad/partner too (yes Dads and partners are susceptible to PTSD/PND/Anxiety and more) just as much!
There is hope!
Recovery from birth and perinatal trauma IS very much possible and it can be done quickly and effectively.
I’m trained in Traumatic Birth Recovery 3 Step REWIND technique in 2016. I was one of the first students to do this course developed by Alex Heath and Mia Scotland. I learned to use this approach, alongside EFT, because I met so many women seeking a doula for their second birth who’d been traumatised by their first experience. I wanted a safe, quick and effective way of supporting them and this training has led to life-long changes with the women I’ve worked with.
Here’s a bit more information:
TBR 3 Step REWIND Technique can help you move on
The aim of TBR 3 Step REWIND Technique is to allow you to come to terms with your birth or post-birth experience. It won’t erase the memory of your baby’s birth/experience, but it will enable you to reflect differently and lift the symptoms of the trauma.
- Identify and isolate specific events or series of events around your birth/experience that are causing you difficulty to process – maybe ruminating in your head
- Explore the emotions that you’ve been experiencing and using Solutions Focused Questions to explore how you want to feel
- The REWIND process can help to neutralise these feelings – ie. you won’t cry or feel angry when you remember your baby’s birth – you will be reflecting in a different way
- Helps you re-gain control and get on with life again
- You may be able to discuss your birth calmly and openly
- You may feel much more positive towards the birth experience
- It may give you the freedom to confidently plan any future births
Birth and Perinatal Trauma Support are for you if:
- You’ve had a difficult birth or perinatal experience – regardless of whether you’ve had a PTSD diagnosis or not
- You are experiencing some of the trauma symptoms listed above
- You have hope that recovery is possible
- You are ready to feel better
- You want a tried and tested approach
- You prioritise your health and well-being
- You want to be supported by someone who specialises in perinatal trauma
What do the sessions look like?
- One-to-one sessions
- Are for mums or dads who need the space to process the birth or postnatal experience
- Use a mixture of tools – primarily REWIND and occasionally EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique – often referred to as tapping)
- Identify any other ways you can get help and support through this time
- Help you regain control over your emotions
- Safe, non-judgemental and confidential space
How do you know if this will work?
Support has worked successfully on this programme, with over 80 mums and dads who have had a range of birth experiences including:
- Difficult births
- Had a difficult post birth experience (eg sepsis or long term stay in hospital for other health issue)
- Babies have been separated post birth due a complication
- Baby born prematurely with stay in the neonatal unit
- Breastfeeding trauma
- Stayed in the Mother and Baby Unit
- Recovering from postnatal depression/anxiety (PTSD from PND is something that can happen)
- An experience pre-birth such as surgery, fertility (IVF treatment), miscarriage, terminations or something else which may impact the birth
- Tokophobia (fear of childbirth)
“Tricia’s Birth Trauma Recovery treatment was recommended to me during my second pregnancy. I had a very traumatic first birth but didn’t receive any treatment or counselling at the time, instead focusing on getting on with being a new mum. However, as I started to plan for my second child’s arrival, I found myself reliving my previous experience, leading to difficulties sleeping and anxiety about my upcoming birth. I was also upset that my previous experience was completely overshadowing what should have been a happy and exciting time, looking forward to my new arrival.Tricia used the REWIND technique to help me address the lingering issues I had around my daughter’s birth, which I had been bottling up for over three years. To be honest I wasn’t sure what to expect, partly because I didn’t really know what I needed ‘fixed’ – I just knew I needed to feel better. I found it a very emotional experience but it helped me realise how much I had been holding on to negative thoughts and memories, and how much they had been continuing to affect me. I was amazed by how much more positive I felt about my daughter’s birth after just one session – I hadn’t expected to see results so fast, and by the end of my second session felt completely ‘at peace’ with my memories. For me, the really important thing is that I can still honour the memory of my daughter’s birth (as despite everything it’s the most important day of my life), without it negatively affecting me in my day to day life now.
I am so grateful to Tricia for her support. Despite being very nervous about what to expect, she put me at ease quickly, and her passion for helping mums really shone through during both of my sessions. I would happily recommend her Rewind therapy for anyone suffering any sort of birth trauma.” (Jennifer, Edinburgh)
“I gave birth to my eldest in 2015 and, in hindsight, did very little preparation for his birth. Thinking about how to decorate the nursery was more interesting than thinking about labour. Unfortunately I had a very long and distressing labour which I found extremely hard to cope with and recover from, both mentally and physically.
Too preoccupied with our little bundle of newness to seek professional help I gave birth to our youngest 18 months later. My second labour was quicker and a much more positive experience which highlighted to me how traumatic my first labour and recovery from it had been.
We recently found out we are expecting no 3 which prompted me to seek professional help to finally try and lay to rest the negative experience of my first labour. I saw an article about Birth Trauma Recovery on a Facebook page and, with two little people to look after, the relative ‘quickness’ of the process appealed.
I got in touch with Tricia and, from the word go, I found her knowledgable, sympathetic, professional, efficient and easy to talk to. She is very passionate about helping women during pregnancy, birth and recovery and the work she has done in the Edinburgh area to help and provide woman with information about pregnancy and birth is inspiring.
There was a choice of session times and the location of the sessions is welcoming and cosy. I found the actual sessions extremely beneficial and I came away from both sessions feeling very positive. They allowed to me deal with the memory of my difficult labour in a way that caused me no further distress and have worked extremely well. I only wish I had known about and used Birth Trauma Recovery sooner.” (Clare, Edinburgh)
“I must admit, I was sceptical but having done the rewind session, I really have noticed a difference. The test was last night when I couldn’t get to sleep and the thoughts of the birth played on my mind. However, rather than force myself to think about anything else, I let myself replay the birth. I definitely found all those feelings of fear and anxiety didn’t return and it was like I was replaying just an old, everyday memory. I would like to say a huge thank you, it’s really helped.” (Anonymous, Edinburgh)
“Thanks so much for that Tricia. You have been amazing and I really do feel so much better. Today I’m knackered due to a teething [child] but generally a lot more relaxed and lighter. I haven’t been upset or cranky so far. I think I was carrying all that anxiety around for quite some time and it really was exhausting. I can’t thank you enough.” Anonymous, Edinburgh.
“I was diagnosed with postnatal depression and post traumatic stress disorder after becoming seriously ill with sepsis & pneumonia a few weeks after the birth of my baby girl. I was struggling to cope, to look after my older children, couldn’t sleep without having nightmares, and fell into a really dark place. On the days I managed to drag myself out of bed I found myself pretending I was getting out and about when my older kids were at nursery/partner at work, and would change the position of the pram then throw some clothes on before they came home to make it look as though we had been out. I was desperate to feel able to cope with all 3 kids on my own and yet the thought made me feel sick, as though it wasn’t possible. I visited Tricia for Rewind therapy and I can honestly say it has turned everything around for me. After a couple of sessions and some more reflection on things I hadn’t been able to properly process before I am back to enjoying looking after my children and having confidence in myself a mother. I go out because I want to, not because I have to. There’s rarely a day in the week that I’m not meeting someone for coffee/lunch or going to a baby group. I have known Tricia and admired her work for some time, I probably wouldn’t have considered Rewind therapy if it wasn’t her I had heard about it from, but I would absolutely recommend this to anyone who is experiencing any form of trauma. It’s hard to explain exactly what it’s like but Tricia is clearly a natural with it, as I got so relaxed and into the “zone” I fell asleep during my first session. I am so very thankful for my opportunity to receive this help and get my life back on track.” Laura, Edinburgh
Sessions will take place in my home in Edinburgh or via Skype.
When should I start:
I’d suggest leaving a gap of at least 4-6 weeks post your experience is helpful
Can I do this in pregnancy?
You can do this at any point in your pregnancy if you are expecting another baby – it is a safe approach
How many sessions and for how long?
Most will need two to three sessions – sessions are between 60-90 mins
Can I bring baby?
The session isn’t suitable with a baby around
£95 per session
If you genuinely cannot afford this fee – please get in touch and ask me about my low-income clinic where you can pay on a sliding scale depending on your circumstances. These would need to take place on a Friday morning.
Juno mums are able to access this for a substantial subsidised fee
Read Francesca’s birth story as to how these sessions were the turning point in her birth preparation
Please note, these sessions are not:
- Removal or changing of your memory
- Counselling – this is a technique to help you to eleviate the emotions surrounding the birth
- Long-term therapy – this is a gentle and effective quick intervention
Looking for training?
If you support parents around birth or early parenting – you might be interested in training – head here for information.