I had my eldest daughter before I became a doula or childbirth educator. On paper, my birth went ‘to plan’. My daughter and I were both alive, which was my ultimate ‘birth preference’. Assuming this could be ticked off the list, I wanted to have birthed her drug free, standing up in the hospital shower. Well, congratulations to me, another tick. All should be well, right? I had a physically healthy baby. I was alive. That’s all a mother should ask for, isn’t it?
Physiologically, women should have at least a month of rest after having a baby. I’m serious. This occurs in most cultures around the world, but ours is particularly dismissive of mothers. We can change this! You can be part of this change. Helping her tells her – you matter.
3. Understand that just because her birth seemed ‘good’, or ‘wasn’t as bad as someone else’s’, or ‘was the same as yours’, everyone’s individual experiences are different. Do not assume that anyone is ok just because they say ‘everything went well’.
4. Understand that trauma affects us profoundly. You cannot expect a traumatised person to act, think or feel ‘rationally’. Do not insist that they do things normally, or mock their efforts. If they are not acting ‘normally’, consider that they may need extra support right now to navigate an incredibly difficult process.
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