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The silent taboo of physical birth injury.

Maternal birth Injuries can have traumatic effects on a woman's healing, physically, mentally, and emotionally post-partum.

Very often the emotional implications are unrecognized and again misdiagnosed as post-partum anxiety or low mood. Physical Birth injuries include Perineal tears 1st, 2nd 3rd & 4th degree, or Pelvic organ prolapses effecting · Uterus – Uterine prolapse of the womb. · Bladder – cystocele prolapse of bladder into vagina · Small bowel- enterocele small bowel prolapse · Vagina- Vaginal vault prolapse · Urethrocele- - prolapse of urethra effecting urine · Rectum- rectocele Many women also may struggle post c section scar with healing or have post-partum wound infections and or complications. Complications and infections with perineal tears, risk of septicemia, epidural complications. It is like the silent epidemic of birth trauma as many women find it difficult to get the appropriate recognition from their healthcare providers of their injuries, complications or prolapses and, then proper timely referral pathways. Most often tears are also missed within its critical time frame for repair leading to incontinence either urinary or fecaly The personal and intimate nature of these issues and injuries can also silence the woman out of shame or embarrassment into putting up with or accepting her injuries as just something normal to be tolerated post birth. This could not be further from the truth! In Ireland it was estimated in The Mammi Study that as many as I in 3 women reported painful sex 3 months post-partum! Also 1 in 4 women had not resumed sexual intercourse 3 months post-partum such is the psychological impact of trauma. 1 in 3 women reported ongoing pelvic pain 12 months post-partum!!!! We really are accepting of pain and struggle we do not deserve. In terms of leaking urine, 1 in 2 women reported leaking some amount of urine 3 months after the baby was born even more scary, is the fact that ,3 out of 4 were not asked about it by their healthcare professionals. The silence is really saddening, and the imagined loneliness of the struggle is heartbreaking women deserve better care. Awareness and open conversations of what is normal, what is not, AND what is NOT acceptable, needs to come to the forefront. This will liberate the silence, create awareness, and enable women post-partum to seek the support they need and deserve. Emotional issues in relation to physical birth injury can have a ripple effect into the mums' other relationships like with partner and baby and may even effect connection and bonding. It can have a huge emotional impact too on the transition into motherhood - as the reality of the perceived picture post birth is stripped away. If you suffered from physical birth injury and this article is resonating with you, here are some of the emotions, you may be experiencing, • Your confidence might be eroded. • You might be anxious about your Injury getting worse and feel unedge or hypervigilant • You might have anxiety about the lack of physical control over bodily functions like urine, wind, or stools. • You might have loss of dignity and feel shame or embarrassment • There could be loss of sexual desire or intimacy this is quite common. • Loss of sense of self and mistrust in your own body. • A feeling of disconnection from body or lack of control over your own body. • A feeling of disconnection from baby or you may be struggling with bonding. • You might have strong emotions and feelings of shock, anger, and resentment with yourself or your healthcare providers. • You might feel letdown or gaslighted by the healthcare system. All these emotional feelings are valid and real and if ignored might lead onto more serious mental health issues such as • Anxiety • Depression • Panic attacks • Agoraphobia • Addictions Know you are not alone in your thoughts and feelings, but you do not need to struggle alone. Awareness of your emotions and seeking support with some of these feelings might bring some clarity, lightness, and healing. You could start with having your story heard, listened to, and validated in a safe environment. This would highlight the ways in which your physical injury is impacting your life today. From there we could work out a solution focused approach and relevant support plan for your needs. Support with education, fear, anxiety, or low mood symptoms. Support with motivation to implement new daily practices of self-care for recovery mind and body, or support with future ideas of intimacy. If you are struggling emotionally after a physical birth injury and feel you would like some support to feel like yourself again, more connected, lighter and resilient please reach out and seek the support you need and deserve. The supports a perinatal emotional wellbeing practitioner offers can be tailored to your own specific needs and goals towards your recovery and healing. Feel free book in for a free clarity call on the link below. Tara x

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