Debriefing after Birth
Debriefing after any birth is a critical piece in finding closure and helps couples to move forward into parenthood.
Having a baby is a complex life event. It changes the carrier’s body physically with a change in blood volume, breast and abdomen size, and in posture alignment. It also creates emotional and mental changes with the surge of hormones need to sustain a pregnancy. Both in pregnancy and after birth, the woman may not feel as if her body is her own.
Childbirth also changes the body further. Stretch marks eventually fade but never disappear. With a vaginal delivery, the tissues stretch and mostly return. In a cesarean delivery, there is a remaining scar and unusual site sensation for a couple of years.
The birth could have been long and drawn out or quick like a roller coaster. It also could have been simple and uncomplicated or required medical management. No matter how the birth itself played out many women view their birth in a positive light no matter how challenging it was. But for others, it could be a traumatic event.
Trauma can have a negative impact on the MotherBaby dyad. When trauma goes unresolved or is not treated it can also have lasting effects on the couple and the family. It can impact the parent’s relationship with the newborn, interfering with bonding or feeding, It may impact long-term healing for the mother and care choices. Trauma also can affect the whole immediate and extended family as the couple takes the time they need to heal.
No matter how the birth played out, debriefing as a couple or with your medical team provides the first step in post-birth discussions. It can provide the opportunity to talk about their memories, thoughts, feelings, and birth experiences. If your partner or medical team is not available reach out to other women in your family or close friends. You may also need additional resources. Talk therapy with a therapist trained in perinatal mood disorders or birth trauma may also be appropriate. Here are two resources to start you on the path to health and wellness: postpartumprogress.com or postapartumsupport.org.
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