Birth & Postpartum During a Pandemic.
When lockdown first began, I thought that I may find some extra time. I made plans to do a twice-weekly Zoom meditation for the pregnant women that I support, and do some writing and creative stuff. Maybe get my garden tidied up.
Then it began. The worries, concerns, fear, anxiety, the trauma from families not knowing how their births and postpartum will pan out. Will they be safe? Will they be looked after? Will they have the peer support that they know they need? Will they be safe?
Then the messages began, like a storm.
At first, all of the messages arrived with lots of fear and concern in them.
Then after a couple of weeks, there was an eerie shift to acceptance, and things became peaceful, but not a nice peaceful. Like a stunned silence. No one knew what to do, and many didn’t have the drive to find out if their choices were actually in anyone’s best interest.
Now there is a weird mix of the two, where people are contacting me with a quiet trauma. Things aren’t all that great for a lot of people, but social media is keeping them down low. Just be happy about the weather, yeah. Coz the weather has made it all ok.
Well, yes, the weather has been helpful, but it hasn’t made it all ok.
Parents have been left feeling traumatised and other than screentime, there is no family support easily accessible, no in-person baby groups where one struggling mum is recognised and supported by others, where parents learn tips from observing those around them.
On the whole, these parents aren’t bitter about their birth experiences, as they can empathise with the staff trying to do their best, and support many women at the same time, lots of which are minus their birth partner, who is the one person that makes them feel held the whole way through.
It’s not the midwives faults that the partners can’t be there, it is not the midwives faults that they are dealing with this whilst already understaffed and under-resourced. Most parents are aware of this and very thankful for the support and the many midwives who have gone the extra mile… BUT THEY HAVE STILL BEEN THROUGH A BAD EXPERIENCE.
It is taking a really strong new parent to get in touch right now, as we are all busy trying to look for the silver lining, and are grateful if we have a garden and a supermarket delivery slot booked for next month. So I say it again… they have still been through a bad experience. It is all relative. The quiet trauma they are dealing with.
The word trauma doesn’t resonate with everyone, some people just describe it an overall horrible and scary experience, feeling alone, worried, and are left feeling really awful.
If this is you, please know you are not alone. You are not moaning or being ungrateful for saying that this has been/is really shit.
And for many, there is no time and space being put to one side to process this, so many are stuck in the amygdala, fight or flight part of the brain, reliving experiences, words, fears.
For these mamas (or any family member of course), I have adapted the ‘Relief After Birth’ session (3 Step Rewind technique, as well as some Tapping).
Here’s the plan:
1. Get in touch and schedule your 90min video call (I’ve worked remotely and online video calls for a long time, so it’s nothing new and I will send clear instructions on where/how to join me)
2. Write to me, tell me your story. Whether you send it by email, messenger, write it on paper and send me a picture of it, snail mail if that feels better. Essay or bullet points. I don’t care about messiness, typos, grammar. I care about expression and getting it out there.
3. Join me on the call – we will do the 3 Step Rewind Technique (a classic NLP technique that helps move the memory of the experience from fight or flight to a place of peace.)
4. Message me to update me how you are feeling the next day or so, and we will schedule a second quick call to catch up and see how things are.
Don’t deal alone, don’t just put up with it because other’s have it worse.
You deserve to thrive through your postpartum, not just survive.
(Please note, that we can do similar for Birth Fear, if you are heading towards your birth and have worries and fears that you want to shift)