Birth Trauma-How I can help.
Birth Trauma is treatable. You can heal and move on with your life.
For most women it takes just a few sessions, for others longer periods of psychotherapy at a slower pace are requested.
There is no ‘one size fits all’ approach but there is a wealth of help out there. I offer an integrated counselling & therapeutic approach utilising some of the most effective trauma therapies available today.
You can also look into hypnosis, group therapy, acupuncture, reflexology,homeopathy & Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT). Please take a look at my links page for further complimentary contacts. It’s important you find the right help for you and this may well be a combination of talking & physical therapies.
Please don’t hesitate to call me on 07717 415 666 to talk further about anything troubling you about your emotional wellbeing. Don’t suffer in silence when you can share your feelings and take one step further towards healing yourself.
Do you have Birth Trauma or Post Natal Depression?
When should a woman suspect that she has Birth Trauma as opposed to Post Natal Depression?
• experiences an event perceived by her to be traumatic
• experiences flashbacks of the event, with vivid & sudden memories
• has nightmares of the event
• finds an inability to recall an important aspect of the event
• has an exaggerated startle response, constantly living “on edge”, ‘flight or
fight’ syndrome, is hyper vigilant, constantly looking around for trouble or
• notices herself avoiding all reminders of the traumatic event
• experiences intense psychological stress at exposure to events that resemble
or remind her of the trauma
• has physiological reactivity on exposure to events resembling the traumatic
event, such as panic attacks, sweating, palpitations
• is plagued by fantasies of retaliation
• finds herself to be uncharacteristically experiencing cynicism and distrust
of authority figures and public institutions
• may be hypersensitive to injustice
When Birth Trauma goes untreated or persists, one or more of the following cover-up symptoms may develop:
• Alcohol and drug abuse
• Eating disorders: bulimia nervosa, anorexia nervosa, compulsive eating
• Compulsive gambling or compulsive spending
• Psychosomatic problems (body symptoms of an emotional origin)
• Homicidal or suicidal behaviour
• Inflicting injury to herself (cutting/pulling off hair, pulling out eye lashes, cutting her body with sharp implement, banging head against walls to cause bruising/cutting etc)
• Panic disorders
• Depression or depressive symptoms
• Dissociation symptoms
• Fainting spells
In the UK Birth Trauma is not currently included in the standard postnatal screening programme for mood/emotional disturbances following the birth of a new baby. Often Birth Trauma will be misdiagnosed as Postnatal Depression (PND) as the postnatal questionnaires completed by healthcare professionals are designed to highlight PND & not specifically Birth Trauma. The likelihood is high, therefore, that some women currently diagnosed with Postnatal Depression (PND) may actually be exhibiting a traumatic response to their birthing experience (Birth Trauma).
My Approach to Birth Trauma/some FAQs
Do you use a specific approach to therapy in your practice?
In a short answer-NO. I tailor your help to suit you. As well as standard methods of counselling I also offer Transactional Analysis (TA), Human Given Therapy, Written & Art therapy, Life Coaching, Neuro-Linguistic programming (NLP) & Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT). For more information please visit the ‘My Approach’ & ‘About Me’ pages via the main menu on the homepage.
How long is a session? How often would we meet?
Sessions are generally 60 minutes long but sometimes I will offer longer sessions of 90 minutes in certain circumstances. Sessions are on a weekly or fortnightly basis. I also offer telephone work and can set up regular talking therapy sessions via phone for women who are not able to meet face to face. I can also offer home visits for new mums or the housebound. I currently work with clients all over the UK, Europe & the UAE.
What are your experiences of working with women who have had post natal mood/emotional disorders?
This is my specialist area and one I understand first hand. I work with women on a daily basis who suffer from with a variety of symptoms including depression, panic & anxiety disorders, obsessive-compulsive disorder, traumatic stress, and more severe mental illnesses such as bipolar disorder or manic depression. Please don’t hesitate to call me on 07717 415 666 to discuss your own needs. We are all different and there is no ‘one size fits all’ when dealing with emotional issues.
Have you had experience working with clients with post traumatic stress disorder, or other trauma based issues?
My area of help is specifically Birth Trauma. I understand Birth Trauma inside & out and have worked with women to help them deal with birth related issues in a number of different arenas including; face to face therapeutic work, helpline work, voluntary work and by running workshops dealing with the symptomatic issues relating to trauma following birth. These symptoms may include flashbacks of the traumatic event, intrusive and obsessive thoughts, avoidance of situations reminding you of the traumatic event, and/or difficulty sleeping. Over time, all of these symptoms can interfere with your daily, personal & family life. I understand the difference between Birth Trauma & Postnatal Depression and can help you to heal yourself regardless of what previous diagnosis you may have been given.
Can you share your thoughts with me about traumatic responses following childbirth?
I understand that birth as a process can be traumatic for some women regardless of outcome. What constitutes as trauma varies from person to person. Just because you are fine and your baby is fine doesn’t mean you can’t be suffering from Birth Trauma. Your birth could have been medicalised or natural, a c-section or vaginal, at home, in a hospital, in a forest-it really doesn’t matter! It’s about your perceptions and how you relate to your experience. If your birth was traumatic or troubling you in any way please don’t hesitate to call me.
Do you feel that trauma from birth is different from Postnatal Depression (PND)? In what ways do you feel the symptoms differ?
Birth Trauma is a specific emotional & physical response to the trauma felt by a woman at birth. It is centred around the birth and many (but not all) of the symptoms will be related to the birth experience and moving on from that specific experience. Birth Trauma isn’t solely a depression. It is shock, anxiety, panic…….(see above).
Postnatal Depression stems from a wider selection of triggers following birth (unsatisfactory home life, lack of sleep etc) but isn’t necessarily birth centric. Issues that may occur relate more to how you feel as a parent, as a person and as a carer to a newborn. A woman suffering from PND may look back on the birth fondly but feel unhappy, uncertain or full of fear about moving on in her new circumstances. Please see my page on Postnatal Depression for more information.
Do you feel that a woman could perceive her birth as traumatic, even when others may say it was a ‘normal’ or ‘there is nothing to worry about’?
Researcher Cheryl Beck says that “trauma is in the eye of the beholder.”
How we perceive birth, like any other life experience, is subjective and no-one should judge our thoughts & feelings. I have worked with women for whom a natural vaginal delivery has filled them with dread yet a medicalised c-section has filled them with joy. Some women have had repeat c-sections and desperately desire to birth vaginally and are traumatised going anywhere near a hospital. For some women it’s the speed of the delivery that has affected them; too fast and they felt out of control, too slow and they felt ineffective or disappointed. Some women have reported feeling violated by internal examinations where others haven’t given them a second thought but have felt traumatised by hearing other women in labour in close proximity to themselves. That which appears to be a typical experience may be traumatic to the person giving birth or to others who were present. It’s how you perceive it and I understand any issue relating to birth you may have.
Would you be open to working with me through expressive therapies, such as art or writing?
Using creative expression can be very therapeutic for patients processing traumatic experiences. Many women who have
experienced a traumatic birth find themselves working through that experience using art, writing, or some other creative process as a positive therapeutic experience. I am really happy to facilitate your wishes and have seen some amazing results working with women in an expressive therapeutic way.
Do you recommend any specific complementary treatments?
It is often very helpful for clients who have experienced trauma to get some type of body work. I have seen positive results with clients who have combined talking therapy with regular massage, reflexology, osteopathy, dance or yoga based therapies. The key is to nurture and love yourself and that means both mind & body. I work closely with a Homeopath, Reflexologist and Acupuncturist as well as a variety of massage therapists including an Abdominal Massage therapist (Bushra Finch also in North Leeds). Please don’t hesitate to consider a mind/body approach to your healing.
Would you be open to reading materials that I bring in about birth trauma that I feel would be beneficial to my therapy?
Yes. I am happy to discuss your birth notes, diary entries, letters written etc. I am not trained in midwifery though and
cannot give you medical explanations or answers based on your birth notes. I do work closely with a number of midwives though who would be happy to assist you in making sense of your birth notes in a non-bias and nurturing environment.
Do you have any opinions about medications for treating trauma?
I am not trained nor licensed in medicine,nor am I able to prescribe medications. I work with each woman individually
and if you are on medications that effect your moods, memory, reactions etc, please just let me know. It doesn’t alter who I see within therapeutic practice.
What is your policy on calls or emails between sessions? Are you available in an emergency situation?
I am available for emergency work whenever possible and will always return a missed call/answering message from this number-07717 415 666.
Do you feel that we could work together and that you could help me with my issues?
A therapeutic relationship has to built on mutual respect and a desire to work together. My approach may not be for everyone and I am more than happy to signpost you to other therapists in your area. When you contact me you will not be left ‘high & dry’ even if you decide that I’m not the right therapist for you.
I also have an agreement that is signed by both of us and is a commitment to safe & respectful working practices as laid out by my governing body the BACP (British Association for Counselling & Psychotherapy).