I want to share an insight with you all as an Independent Childbirth Educator, that on my 55th birthday has called me to reveal as a concern of mine. It may be challenging as a point of view due to it being a very emotionally delicate topic, yet I trust it needs to be raised as food for thought and a legitimate lens of inquiry.
With sensitivity, let’s address the trauma pathway being played out in the birthing field that has accelerated at a fast pace. Everywhere we turn it seems that another trauma discussion and dissection is taking place. I see this progression increasing having been teaching and involved in birth for the last 20 plus years.
There is a constant stream of what I call “trauma talk” that has developed out of women’s horrific experiences in pregnancy birth and beyond.
There is no doubt it does need to be addressed, and women need to be honored, with places for mothers to reveal their deep grief in the most sacred time of their lives. In saying this, I am also concerned that the intensity of this trauma landscape is becoming lodged into the psyche of many pregnant mothers where they believe this has to be the norm. This “norm” outlook may be clouding other pathways of possibility for how pregnancy and birth could be.
My concern is that while we are placing a lot of attention on birth trauma and rightly so, could we also be unconsciously fueling another industry reliant on this sorrow?
An industry that may be compounding the problems without seeking to address solutions and change?
That is dignity in maternal care for mothers and babies?
All I am asking of us all as birth keepers, is to bring awareness to this contemplation so we are not tarring so many future birth conversations with the trauma scenario to further keep imprinting these neural pathways of fear for new mothers.
If so, we will only be painting a one dimensional picture of birth, where new mothers think that the trauma route will inevitably and unfortunately be a part of their birth experience. This leads to entering the birthing domain in defense and protection, the antithesis of oxytocins calling. I am merely posing this as a reflection and opening dialogue to hear people’s thoughts.
No doubt, we must acknowledge that there has been and unfortunately until we see radical change, will continue to be, maternal trauma against all our wishes.
Birth trauma exists, this we bear witness to, yet at the same time how can we offer a parallel pathway to pregnant mothers that seeks to highlight possibility with positivity for birth.
My concern again is that if, as a collective, we allow ourselves to become submerged under a tidal wave of traumatic birth talk and drown in this terrible tsunami without becoming conscious of building uplifting birthing platforms, then we are implicit in creating difficult roads to walk and won’t easily see the light of change.
I would like to extend my hand and invite all of us as birth keepers to hold our visions.
A good strategy is to focus on how we want to shape the birth climate staying steady in our convictions as we create this visionary landscape. This imparts to mothers that there are more options available to them and we trust in mothers, we trust in birth and so too birth trusts in us.
Birth trauma is, as mentioned in my opening, a very delicate subject that must never be denied and should never happen in an ideal world. Mothers should always be supported after being left carrying a deep wound of traumatic birth and MUST have access to services to address this shocking experience.
As birth keepers we must remain grounded in our work so we can continue to forge ahead and stand up with our voice intact against violence, remaining steady without falling into despondency that thwarts our motivations.
I know this too well and must always self reflect and ask myself,
What is my intention?
What is my vision?
And hold this to my heart. Women and babies need us in our full capacity with eyes, ears, hearts and our wombs open and cleansed.
In a nutshell and in summary – hold your creative vision, work toward it whilst at the same time offering care around traumatic and unresolved birth wounds.
We all have placed our hearts in compassionate places that need to be constantly invigorated and acknowledged. Be courageous and keep seeding circles of optimism and that which we desire for the purpose of raising Love consciousness through birth and beyond. We owe this to our children.
**Disclaimer: This is not designed to upset those who carry birth trauma. Birth trauma is real and prevalent and this piece does not take away from any woman who has experienced it and is working through it. In this blog I want to address something that has been progressively playing on my mind for the past couple of years.