Birth trauma is estimated to occur in 20 out of every 1,000 births, with some of the most common traumas being injuries to the scalp, other injuries to the skeleton, and fracture of the clavicle. About 20% of children with cerebral palsy, meanwhile, develop this because of a birth injury. Birth trauma can have several effects on parents: it can impact relationships, leave you feeling confused and insecure, and force you to suddenly face potential life changes – including changes to your career if your child has complex needs. Moving beyond the initial pain of birth trauma involves taking many steps, some of which you may feel more comfortable taking now, and others of which you may want to postpone until you are ready. Just a few steps are listed below.
It is important to focus on coming to terms with day to day tasks of being new parents to a child who has undergone a birth trauma, rather than engage in self-judging or self-shaming. Accept that you may feel a wide range of emotions (including anxiety, guilt, disappointment, shock, and even numbness). Aim to ‘ride’ through these emotions without letting them define you. At this point in time, being solutions-focused and working as a team will help you feel more empowered and positive than dwelling on things that were beyond your control.
Seek Legal Advice If Medical Negligence Or Malpractice May Have Been Involved
There are many medical mistakes that can cause conditions like cerebral palsy – including the failure to diagnose and treat infection in the mother, a failure to treat preeclampsia, a failure to perform a vaginal delivery or C-section in a timely manner, and a failure to correctly resuscitate a newborn. It is important to run any medical malpractice questions you may have by legal specialists in birth trauma, since they will inform you about your rights, discuss other cases, and talk about matters such as compensation. Children with complex needs can have various expenses – including physiotherapy, speech therapy, and optional or novel treatments such as stem cell therapy. The better off you are economically, the more your child can access the very best treatments available.
Surround Yourself With Supportive People
Coming to terms with a birth trauma diagnosis takes time, and during the times you are feeling most vulnerable, it is important to surround yourself with loving people. Friends and family can be a great source of practical and emotional support, helping you adapt to being a new mom and accompanying you throughout the initial days and weeks. If you find that you are depressed, or you are finding it hard to carry out daily tasks, a professional therapist who specializes in working with new parents is important. This is because they are experienced in working with people who have PTSD. Parents who have undergone a traumatic birth may experience everything from flashbacks to intense sadness, worry and anxiety. In the short-term, your specialist will help you organize the crisis and achieve a more secure state via mindful body work, psychotherapy, and other approaches. Afterwards, they can help you set up a long-term plan which can take into account past traumas, family dynamics, and other factors that can influence how you feel. They can also recommend continued psychotherapy or natural therapies like yoga and mindfulness meditation, which have been proven in study after study to help reduce stress, anxiety and depression.
If you have been through a birth trauma, the first step is to avoid self-judgment, and to rely on the support of others for both practical and emotional matters. Seeking legal advice is vital if you think medical negligence may be involved. Finally, specialist therapists can help you overcome PTSD if you find that you are struggling or in prolonged intense distress or pain.