Common signs and symptoms of perinatal trauma (MIND.ORG.UK)
Re-living aspects of the trauma
vivid flashbacks (feeling that the trauma is happening all over again)
intrusive thoughts and images
intense distress at real or symbolic reminders of the trauma
physical sensations such as pain, sweating, nausea or trembling
Alertness or feeling on edge
panicking when reminded of the trauma
being easily upset or angry
disturbed sleep or a lack of sleep
irritability and aggressive behaviour
lack of concentration
being easily startled
self-destructive behaviour or recklessness
hyper vigilant (feel jumpy or on their guard all the time)
Avoiding feelings or memories
avoiding situations that remind you of the trauma
repressing memories (being unable to remember aspects of the event)
feeling detached, cut off and emotionally numb
being unable to express affection
using alcohol or drugs to avoid memories
Trauma and grief are intrinsically linked. Whilst trauma is an event, grief can be the response to the trauma. There is no getting away from the fact that grief and loss are traumatic. This 'traumatic grief' sometimes inhibits the neccessary grieving process, or blocks it altogether. The natural healing process of grief is an important one and where needed and wanted there is a lot of wonderful support out there to support you on this journey. In Edinburgh, this includes Lifeline Pregnancy Counselling and The Stillbirth and Neonatal Death Society. If however you feel after some time you can not move on from your loss, or have noticed that you are experiencing some of the signs and symptoms of PTSD mentioned above, then Birth Trauma Resolution may help you let go of the trauma so you can grieve naturally and peacefully. This allows you to hold on to the good memories and let go of the traumatic ones.
Mothers and birth partners may experience traumatic grief from the experience of miscarriage, termination of pregnancy, fertility problems including failed fertility treatments, the experience of having a stillborn baby and the loss of a baby.
Tokophobia, is an extreme fear of childbirth that can be triggered by thinking or even talking about pregnancy. Around 14% of women experience Tokophobia. It can predates a woman’s first pregnancy or it is can be a direct consequence of a previously traumatic delivery.
Feeling a certain level of anxiety about childbirth can be a normal response, and may even be useful in motivating pregnant women to prepare themselves for the birth. However a woman who is tokophobic will have a lot more “severe” thoughts and worries that affect their lives every day. She may experience symptoms of PTSD regardless of whether or not she has ever given birth before.