CS: The following article discusses the topic of birth trauma and is a guest post written by Christiane Lafleche. Italicized writing is an introduction to the topic by Tynan Rhea.
There is no question that trauma of all kinds can impact our ability to be enjoy pleasurable activities, such as sex. Birth trauma in particular can be especially harmful to our sex lives as it often carries the body memories of invasive procedures and genital pain. Seeking services either through sex therapy, trauma processing groups like the one described below, or pelvic physiotherapy are all excellent resources for healing and moving toward a pleasurable embodied life.
Did you know that trauma is not defined by the events you experienced, but rather by the impact of those events on your nervous system? This is what Peter Levine, the writer of Waking the Tiger, and Somatic Experiencing creator, states. This explains why some folks may feel really stuck in the memory of their birth while others with similar birth experiences do not. Trauma is in the eyes of the beholder, as birth trauma researcher Cheryl Tatano Beck boldly states.
This is important to know because many of us gaslight ourselves when we feel stuck in the memory of our birth. I know I did. My first birth was traumatic, but my life was never in danger and neither was my child’s. I kept telling myself that others had such worst birth, so why should I complain. However, I kept going back to the story, ruminating over the details of the events. I also felt hypervigilant with my baby and felt a kind of dissociation in my relationship with him. I knew I loved him, but it was as if some parts of me were gone and couldn’t be present in that love. It ached. I felt grief, confusion, dissatisfaction and a strong sense of violation.
I did lots of different work and eventually found Somatic experiencing. This trauma healing modality applies theories about the nervous system to help folks discharge all that energy that did not get a chance to be expressed during the birth. This is because trauma exists because of that feeling of failure to protect yourself and your baby. It is those impulses, the things you wish you would have done differently, that you never got to do because it all happened too fast, too big, and too suddenly. Birth is often a time where we have to suppress our self-defense strategies (fight and flight). You can’t just run away in the middle of a vaginal exam and you can’t kick a mean care provider in the face during a contraction. However, those impulses and urges come up, and until they are released and express, we feel trauma in our body and it impacts our lives through feeling triggered, dissociation, and intrusive memories.
This is where Birth Alchemy Group comes in. In this group, you will learn how your nervous system works, how trauma lives in your body and how it is impacting you today. We will also practice releasing and discharging this trauma to help you find some peace around the experience. You will also learn several supportive and resourcing tools to help you have the strength and capacity to heal your trauma. All of this, with the use of ritual and ceremony to truly honour what happened and acknowledge its impact on your spirit.
For more information about the group, please visit: https://www.empoweredcounselling.ca/birth-alchemy-group
If you are wondering who I am, please visit my website ( https://www.empoweredcounselling.ca/) or ask me anything at firstname.lastname@example.org
Wishing you peace, warmth and badass empowerment.