Pregnancy and Postpartum Trauma
Pregnancy is a time of excitement and worry. When something goes wrong it can have lasting emotional effects on both the mother and the father and even the entire family. Pregnancy related traumas can range from early miscarriage, late-term loss, still-born births and complications for the unborn baby and/or mother. Discovering you’re having multiples or learning one of the babies has died can be a trauma. Prematurity and the NICU experience is widely recognized as a trauma for the parents and potentially for the baby too. Siblings are also at risk as the impact of difficult and scary family events effects everyone.
The postpartum period is the entire year following the birth of a baby. One in 7 women will develop postpartum depression or anxiety and dads are at risk too. Feeling overwhelmed, disconnected, isolated and even regretful of having had a baby can wreak havoc on how a woman sees herself as ‘mother’ and how she and her baby bond. Difficulties with breastfeeding, sleep deprivation and sleep troubles, adjusting to a new identity as a mother or figuring out how to parent more than one child all put mom at greater risk of experiencing postpartum trauma.
Help is available! Trauma therapy, including EMDR, can address traumas that develop in the perinatal and postpartum period and help a mother regain her sense of self, be available to her baby the way she envisioned, and ‘lean into’ the role of ‘mommy’ in a way that is not possible when symptoms of trauma are present.