When we think about trauma and PTSD we tend to think about war and conflict. But around a third of women feel some part of their birth was traumatic. This experience can impact on their mental and physical health, their relationships and future plans.
In Why Birth Trauma Matters, Dr Emma Svanberg, clinical psychologist and co-founder of Make Birth Better, explores what happens to those who go through a bad birth. She explains in detail how birth trauma occurs, examines the wide-ranging impact on all of those involved in birth, and looks at treatments and techniques to aid recovery. By drawing on her own research and the work of experts in the field, and sharing the first-hand experiences of women, she shows how it is possible to begin to move on.
This is such an important book that needed to be written. It is written by a clear expert in this subject, and includes important information and evidence, along with the personal stories of women’s experiences.
I work solely with new mothers, and it is very confronting to realise how often these women reveal traumatic experiences surrounding their births. These voices need to be heard. We need to stop looking away, stop rationalising and belittling personal emotion and experiences, and to start facing this issue head on. This book is an important step in this direction, and its appearance on the market will hopefully allow those who are working with and supporting mothers to understand the complexities of birth trauma and its ramifications. It also provides great steps to take towards being able to personally cope with and deal with birth trauma, if you have been through this experience yourself.
I particularly liked the exploration into the less typical areas of what is traditionally seen as trauma, and that what some may see as ‘routine’, others can view as traumatic. Pain, checks and examinations, helplessness, how women feel about their bodies… Traumatic experiences are ‘in the eye of the beholder’, and a reminder that we must listen.
A hard read, but a vital read.
I was lucky enough to feel good about my birth but have friends who were not so lucky. This taught me a lot about how they are feeling and has helped me talk to them and suggest where they can find more support.
I have just finished reading Why Birth Trauma Matters and it has given me a deep understanding of birth trauma. As a specialist provider of antenatal and postnatal yoga services this book has helped me navigate the complexities of the issues surrounding yoga for the women who attend our services and their families. It has allowed me to open up conversations in a sensitive and supportive manner. This is as much a book about the untold and the unspoken journey of pregnancy and birth for many women and their families as much as it is a mini handbook for professionals.
It is very well organised for an emotive topic such as trauma. It is written by someone who really understands the nature of birth trauma and can authoritatively talk about it. Yet the book doesn’t read like another dry discourse on trauma. Emma’s involvement with the affected families and her work in the field shines through. Her compassion for the affected is what makes this book so powerful. The book starts with clearly articulating what trauma is and how wide and complex each experience can be in each woman’s life. For those who may be new to this topic will find that Emma’s descriptions really bring home the epidemic nature of trauma in birth.
The book is also very good at bringing in the secondary victims such as fathers and the non-talked about health professionals themselves. I think in all the balance of stakeholders addressed in this book is what makes it stand out. This is not a book for just mothers or just midwives. This is a book for all of us in society about how we understand, process, communicate and heal from birth trauma.
Read this if you are looking for small steps forward for yourself as the tips and suggestions are little gems that each one of us can incorporate into our own lives and make us more aware of those going through tough times around us. Read this book if you are a health care professional who deals with pregnant and new mothers as you will find a good balance of advice, evidence and structure to have the important conversations we all need to engage in.
A little book but packed with a lot of information, not just for those experiencing birth trauma but anyone interested in the topic. The style not preachy but as if the writer is chatting to the readers. Step by step we learn about what birth trauma is; what does it like for those experiencing it, who are the hidden victims and a lot of guidance on how to ‘heal’ and where to go for help. Reading about the experiences of health care professionals as hidden victims was an eye opener. The ‘Perfect Nurturer’ on page 45 is a comforting tip not just for birth trauma but other traumatic situations too. The book gives you hope and a message ‘you don’t have to suffer in silence.’