Many new parents experience trauma during their birth. Trauma can consist of being put under and not meeting your baby, C-section trauma, complications with your birth, NICU babies, and more. If you’ve experienced birth trauma and you’re ready to heal, here are five ways to regulate your nervous system and heal the wounds.
See a Trauma Therapist
Trauma can cause feelings of isolation, fear, sadness, and anger. If you are experiencing intense emotions regarding your birth trauma, it might be time to reach out for professional help.
Trauma therapists can help you work on trauma in several ways, including:
- Medication for nightmares
- Structured and self-paced therapy
- Talking through the event when you’re ready
- Spiritual or energy healing
- Resources for PTSD or trauma
A trauma therapist specializing in grief may help if you have recently lost a child. These therapists are trained to deal with the complexity of grief trauma.
Spend Time With Loved Ones
Humans are indeed social creatures. We need our loved ones close when something traumatic happens. Studies show that a safe support system is one of the most critical factors in recovering from trauma.
If you are not ready to talk about what happened, reach out to those you love. See if they are willing to spend time with you to cry, chat, or just distract you. Sometimes the love of a family member is enough to encourage you to keep going.
Start a Birth Diary
Some people find relief through writing. If you find that you cannot share your story with people close to you or cannot handle the thought of seeing a therapist just yet, you may find solace in journaling about your experience with your birth trauma.
You can do this in several ways, including:
- Recording videos of you talking about the experience, to keep on your phone privately
- Writing in a diary about the incident, or how you feel about it
- Rewriting the day of your birth, but changing the details to how you wish it had gone
Mindfulness practices may also help you through this tough time. You can practice deep breathing, imagination, and more. Coloring in a coloring book may help relax your mind. It may seem silly, but adults can color too!
Dedicate Time to Your Baby
If your baby is home with you, you can deal with birth trauma by spending more time with your child one-on-one. You may feel lost, confused, and scared about your birth. Knowing your child is in your arms and that you can protect them can kick in your parental instincts and calm the nervous system.
Being close to your child physically and emotionally will not only improve their health and development but can improve yours as well.
Practice Self Care
Self-care can be as simple as lighting a candle and taking a short bath. For parents, this is sometimes all the time we get. Here is a simple self-care exercise that will help calm you in a short period.
Disclaimer: Have someone else care for your baby/children while practicing these self-care mindfulness exercises.
- Try relaxing each of your five senses, one at a time.
- Start with tasting something calming, such as tea.
- Put on a calming song or nature noises that soothe you for sound.
- For vision, try coloring a mandala or in an adult coloring book. Or look at pictures that make you happy.
- For smell, light a candle with a scent that you love.
- For touch, use soft clothing, take a bath, or apply lotion to your skin.
You can do these exercises in many different ways. This skill is also part of the DBT manual, a self-regulation guide for those dealing with trauma and emotional dysregulation.