20% of women in America find their labor is traumatic. Giving birth is often portrayed in the media as being a happy and joyful occasion, but it can be frightening, especially if there are complications, or you need medical intervention. For many this is pain relief – according to the CDC, 68% of women have an epidural. Often there are other interventions needed to help deliver a baby – for instance 31% of women have a Cesarean section. A difficult labor, one that isn’t what you imagined it should be, can cause a lot of distress and hurt. To move forward from this, it is important that you seek counseling and take time to process what has happened.
Ask for guidance
If you have had a difficult labor, feelings of loss are common – you are mourning for the birth experience that you were hoping for. This is completely natural, and you shouldn’t feel guilty for having these feelings of grief, despite having a new baby. Speaking to a counselor can help you to process your emotions and learn how to deal with them in a helpful way. A counselor will be able to help you find a way to channel your emotions in the months and years to come.
More serious trauma
If you have suffered more serious birth trauma, or even lost a baby, having counseling is often only the first part of processing what has happened. You may be feeling a lot of anger about your labor and how you were treated by medical professionals. Getting in touch with a birth injury law firm could help you to get closure and compensation if there has been negligence. This isn’t just important for you, but also for other women who go through a difficult labor. Holding the hospital accountable will help them to understand how their practices went wrong, and this will help them improve their service to other women that are due to give birth.
Speaking to loved ones
It is important to speak to your partner about your birth experiences, particularly if they were with you during the birth. Although they didn’t physically give birth, they may also be experiencing emotional distress. If it is not easy to have a discussion, then write down how you are feeling – it can be incredibly cathartic. It will also help getting in touch with other women that have had a difficult labor – you can speak to family and friends, or even join an online support group.
A difficult labor can cause intense emotions that need to be addressed, or it can cause anxiety, depression, and in some cases, PTSD. It is important that you seek guidance and counseling to help you process your birth experience and move forward.