Healing Birthing TraumaOur society presents the process of being pregnant and the act of giving birth as beautiful and joyful. Of course it can be that, and the experience of bringing a new life into the world is something wonderful. Many women enjoy their pregnancies and enjoy giving birth, some even experiencing orgasmic births.
However, for many women the process has been a painful one. This is a topic which is rarely spoken about and which for many women, remains an area of pain and shame.
Statistics show that 25% of women will miscarriage at some time in their lives. According to the UK's Department of Health, a further 200,000 women have terminations every year in the UK. Even the act of giving birth successfully may lead to trauma, with many women experiencing physical scarring and emotional difficulties afterwards. Sometimes, partners see the woman differently after she has given birth and find it difficult to reconnect with their sexual desire for them or the woman herself may have difficulty in filling the role of mother whilst at the same time being sexual with her partner.
All of these factors may lead to changes in sexual energy or trauma which may be held in the body post-partum. Most women rarely speak of these things, but in my experience the majority of my clients have had some somatic trauma around the process of pregnancy or birth. I am increasingly working to support women to release tensions and emotions held in the body as a result of these birth related events.
If you have experienced some form of birthing trauma and would like support in releasing it, please contact me for further information by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
A Client's Story, Ellie, 34
I'd been through a horrible birth and a nasty divorce, but time had passed and I was feeling ready for a relationship again. I wanted to let go of anything that was holding me back. I had trust issues around men. After I'd given birth three years ago, my husband forced me to have sex with him even though I'd had a traumatic birth (my daughter's head was too big and so they had to cut me a lot to get her out). When we had sex, it felt as though I was being stabbed. The stitches hadn't healed properly. So even after the divorce, I still felt sensitive in that area. And scared. So I booked a session with Mike because I thought he would help me bring that sort of physical pleasure back into my life. I had no idea what would actually happen. I was sure it was going to be lovely but in many ways, it wasn't.
When I arrived I was quite clear that I didn't want any talking therapy. I've done lots of that and catharsis and more. I wanted to get on with the physical side of things. Mike was very respectful and put in certain actions that made me feel safe. He pointed out his boundaries for instance. There were moments when I wondered what I was doing, but he was wonderful. I got the idea that it would be brilliant to release all the old stuff. I was expecting myself to have wonderful orgasms but it wasn't like that.
The birth of my daughter was traumatic for me and when she came out, I didn't actually feel anything. A few tugs that's all. It was a very strange experience. I had to be cut so much and yet I couldn't feel anything. When Mike was massaging me, he found the scar tissue from the birth which hadn't healed properly. Suddenly, I went back to the act of giving birth. Mike realised that it was about releasing the birth trauma and he was encouraging me to push against his hands. I was screaming in this huge, guttural way. All of this was totally unexpected and unplanned. But it was very cathartic.
Afterwards I was shocked and surprised but felt as if something fundamental had shifted. Two months later, I met my current boyfriend and it is the best relationship I've ever had. I totally trust him and our love-making is amazing. I have no barriers with him. I feel totally free in a way that I hadn't before. It feels as though a chapter has closed and I don't experience any physical pain any more.
Talking to mothers who've had difficult births and are tentative and unprepared for sex, I think this sort of therapy should be available on the NHS. At the moment, these mothers are just sent back out into the world. It is in the interest of mothers/fathers/family to address this problem properly. I feel very passionate about this.