5 Way To Handle Birth Trauma Flashbacks

5 Way To Handle Birth Trauma Flashbacks

Childbirth Trauma

Flashbacks are our brain’s way of processing traumatic events that we’ve experienced. But what tends to happen is, our subconscious goes to our storage cabinet to access some important memories regarding the event, and everything sort of tumbles out of the cabinet all at once. This falling out or flashback experience can feel almost as traumatic as the initial event.

Flashbacks usually happen without warning. Most result from a “triggering” that occurs by an external experience. Triggers are typically sensory-based experiences that manifest via smells, sounds, tastes, textures that remind the person of the traumatic event. The pregnancy of a close friend of relative shortly after experiencing a miscarriage. The delivery of a subsequent baby can remind a mom of the traumatic birth experience she had with her previous child.

Living with flashbacks is very difficult, but there are some ways you can work through these disturbing events:

1. Remember

Remind yourself that you are safe and having a flashback. Tell yourself as many times as necessary that these are only memories, the event is in the past, until you can feel yourself begin to calm.

2. Empower Yourself

Sometimes using your five senses can help you to be in the present moment. If one sense it causing the flashback – your sense of smell for example – use your other senses to place yourself in the actual current environment. The tactile experience of stamping your feet on the ground can remind yourself that you are free to get away from any situation that has become uncomfortable for you.

3. Breathe

As soon as we become fearful or panicked, our breathing becomes shallow and erratic. This only exacerbates the stress we feel in that moment because our body is literally panicking from a lack of oxygen. In these fearful moments, when we slow our breathing and take deeper and deeper breaths, we actually signal to our brain and body that everything is okay.

4. Honor the Experience

The initial trauma was awful, so it’s perfectly reasonable for you to want to move on “NOW!” However, you should understand that the body needs to go through this process and experience a full range of emotions. Honor the experience and yourself for having gotten through it.

5. Find Support

It’s important that you let loved ones know about your flashbacks so they can help you through the process. You may also want to seek the guidance of a professional mental health therapist who can offer coping strategies.

If you or a loved one is suffering from flashbacks and would like to explore treatment options, please be in touch, we would be happy to discuss how we may be able to help.

WE CALL OUR PRACTICE POSTPARTUM WELLNESS FOR A REASON.

We started this practice because we are passionate about providing a safe and caring space for women. We want you to have a safe space to process your family building journey.  The silent struggle that many women experience impacts their relationships with self, partner, friends, family, colleagues, and the rest of society.  You shouldn’t have to suffer in silence or try to put on a brave face for family and friends. We want to help you face your emotions.

If you or a loved one is struggling with depression, anxiety, or other issues while trying to get pregnant, let us help.  You deserve support.  Contact us today to get started on your wellness journey.

CHILDBIRTH TRAUMA COUNSELING IN VIRGINIA, MARYLAND, AND DC

You see all of your friends getting pregnant and bringing their babies home and are filled with jealousy and sadness. You wish you could just join them on their journey to motherhood. You don’t have to manage the stress of birth trauma alone. As a Northern Virginia Women’s Counseling Center, our skilled therapists understand your pain and can act as a guide for you during this stressful time.  Contact Postpartum Wellness today to begin counseling for childbirth trauma.

Other Services at Postpartum Wellness

The skilled counselors at Postpartum Wellness specialize in many areas other than infertility. They help with all aspects of the journey towards parenthood, whether you need counseling or just a little support after birth. Some of our specialties are prenatal massagebirth and postpartum doulaspostpartum anxiety treatmentmilitary moms, and postpartum depression therapy.

SOURCES

https://psychcentral.com/lib/coping-with-flashbacks/

https://blogs.psychcentral.com/after-trauma/2013/11/why-do-flashbacks-happen/

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/healing-trauma-s-wounds/201506/understanding-and-working-flashbacks-part-one

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