Articles - What is Birth Trauma?
Defining a 'bad birth' and why quality of birth matters

What is Birth Trauma?


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Defining a 'bad birth' and why quality of birth matters

This article appears courtesy of BirthTalk.org

How Was Your Birth?

  • Disappointing?
    Nothing “really bad” happened, but you can’t shake the feeling that something is missing
  • Difficult?
    Things didn’t go as you’d hoped, and your path to meeting your baby was completely different to what you had planned. Or maybe there were complications and you had to make decisions about issues for which you were unprepared
  • Downright traumatic?
    You were left in total shock at the whole experience, and can’t even begin to process the event. You were in a situation where you felt completely frightened, or unacknowledged, or powerless.

What is a "Bad Birth"?

It is a birth that you can’t let alone. It stays with you – for weeks and months afterwards. It might not look “that bad” to an outsider. It might not look “that bad” to your partner. It may not even look “that bad” to you, but it felt "that bad"…and that is what matters. It could have been a caesarean or a natural birth, it might have taken 30 hours or three hours. A bad birth is defined by the way you feel, not just the events that occurred.

But Other Women Have Had Worse Experiences than Me...

It’s not about who’s had the ‘worst’ birth. It’s about women experiencing feelings during any labour and birth that result in distress or trauma afterwards – whether as a result of how they were cared for, or the circumstances surrounding their birth. It’s about knowing birth trauma exists, and supporting the healing journey. It’s about acknowledging you feel impacted by your birth – any birth – and understanding that every woman deserves to feel better.

Why Does Birth Matter So Much?

Birth can be one of the most amazing, fulfilling and exciting life experiences we can have. And because we don’t just leave our feelings about our birth at the hospital. The feelings we bring home about the birth can affect our experience of parenting our new babies. If we bring home feelings of confidence, joy, and strength, our instinctive bonding is promoted with our gorgeous little ones.

Our confidence in all aspects of life can soar and we can connect at a new level with our partners. If we are bringing home feelings of fear, isolation and confusion, bonding with our beautiful babies can be difficult, and feelings of failure can result. Our confidence can plummet, and relationships with partners can suffer. These feelings can infiltrate all areas of our lives as a new family.

If you do feel any of these negative feelings, then speaking with a professional who can help you process your birth is the first step to healing and moving forward.

BirthTalk is a birth support resource that specialises in healing from birth trauma, planning for positive births and VBAC education.

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