Rebounding from Childbirth: Toward Emotional Recovery.Wow! Finally a book that deals with the grief associated with a traumatic birth experience! Mothers who have healthy babies - but traumatic births - often feel that their feelings of loss, anger, grief and failure are either ignored or scoffed at by those around them. This book is written by a professional counselor who had a traumatic birth experience with her first child; it is an in-depth look at the journey to healing that must happen.
This book is divided into two parts. The first deals with acknowledging the pain. In response to the common cultural assumption that a mother shouldn't dwell on her dissatisfaction with her birth - "What matters is that your baby is beautiful and healthy!" - she says, "Your pain does matter - it is your guide to healing!" The author includes the "textbook definition" of post-traumatic stress disorder post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), mental disorder that follows an occurrence of extreme psychological stress, such as that encountered in war or resulting from violence, childhood abuse, sexual abuse, or serious accident. and has several examples of how women who experience traumatic births have many of the symptoms associated with PTSD PTSD posttraumatic stress disorder.
posttraumatic stress disorder
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) .
Part II is titled "Picking Up the Pieces," and deals with the healing that comes after the grief. The first chapter is entitled en·ti·tle
tr.v. en·ti·tled, en·ti·tling, en·ti·tles
1. To give a name or title to.
2. To furnish with a right or claim to something: "Affirm All Attempts at Self-Empowerment." Isn't that what we all need to do!? Feeling that the efforts we are making to heal are inadequate is self-defeating.
The author also addresses the issue of another pregnancy. It is common for women to desire to "fix" the previous birth, and, as she rightly points out, birth can be a very healing experience. This does not always mean that it is intervention-free. She includes the story of a woman with a traumatic cesarean cesarean /ce·sar·e·an/ (se-zar´e-an) see under section.
ce·sar·e·an or cae·sar·e·an or cae·sar·i·an or ce·sar·i·an
Of or relating to a cesarean section. who finds out in the next pregnancy that she has a placenta previa Placenta Previa Definition
Placenta previa is a condition that occurs during pregnancy when the placenta is abnormally placed, and partially or totally covers the cervix. and mill be unable to deliver vaginally. She was able to turn that cesarean into a positive experience because she was involved in the decision-making, she was well-informed, and she knew she could trust herself to get the care she needed after birth - both physical and emotional.
In the final chapter, the author includes ideas on "creative tools for recovery." These include art work, journal writing, letters never to be sent and letters that are intended to be sent, dream work, body work, and story telling. Ms. Madsen also has suggestions on using affirmations and creating ceremonies as part of the healing process.
I believe this book has value for many birthing women today because it acknowledges that traumatic birth causes grief! I would recommend it to women in my classes or for whom I provide doula dou·la
A woman who assists another woman during labor and provides support to her, the infant, and the family after childbirth. services.
(Holly Richardson is currently certifying with ALACE ALACE Autonomous Lagrangian Circulation Explorer
ALACE Association of Labor Assistants and Childbirth Educators
ALACE Association of Local Authority Chief Executives (UK) as a childbirth childbirth: see birth.
Childlessness (See BARRENNESS.)
(Rom. Diana) goddess of childbirth. [Gk. Myth. educator and with DONA as a doula. Her business, "Labors of love," was started in January 1995.)
[Ed. Note: The staffs of ALACE and IH/IBP wish to offer our condolences to Holly and her family on the death of one their 5-year old daughters at the beginning of June.]