Birth trauma can happen with an unmedicated natural birth

Women giving birth are at their most vulnerable. A woman giving birth is as sensitive as she will be her whole life. Her mouth opens to let out a breath, a moan, a holler, her cervix and vagina open bigger than they ever will. Physically open, emotionally open, her awareness is heightened. She senses every breath of those around her, every word, its meaning, its tone, every touch. She is in an altered state. Her natural hypnotic state may prevent her from being aware of extraneous details, but at the same time she is acutely aware of anything that prevents her from being open and receptive to the power of what is happening to her. An environment, words, touch, actions which interrupt her state can be literally, traumatic. Do you, years after a birth, replay moments, things that were said or done that jarred your senses? Do you remember a phrase of a midwife, doctor or nurse that flashes through your birth memories?

I saw Alison last week. She gave birth unmedicated, in a hospital, with a physician in attendance. Nine months ago. She has pain. "He pulled her out like a meteor dragged through me". He said she had healed, that everything was normal. But sex is painful. Her intimacy with the father of their baby is tainted by the violence that Alison experienced and her husband witnessed. Both Alison and her husband feel traumatized. He is disturbed by the intensity of what happened to her. She relives the violent pulling that seemed to injure her very deeply inside. She is deeply injured. Their marriage, their love is wounded. Alison was not forced to undergo a cesarean, a forceps birth, an episiotomy. She experienced a natural birth. But she is traumatized.

Alison will heal. She is a little better every day. I hope that she will give birth again and that it will completely salve her wounds and her family will go forward with love.