124: Birth Trauma: How to Heal a Bad Birth

with Melissa Bruijn and Debby Gould

Birth is not ‘just one day’ in your life  

[Melissa Bruijn and Debby Gould]

Soon after Melissa Brujin had her first child, she realised that things weren’t quite right. Struggling to bond with her baby, wracked with anxiety about her abilities as a mum, and experiencing a general loss of confidence, she wondered what was wrong with her. Although she sought help, she couldn’t find anything appropriate in her hometown. Thankfully, there was one person she could turn to: her sister-in-law and midwife Debby Gould.

With Debby’s help, plus the wonderful online support she eventually found from mothers on the other side of the world and alongside her own research, Melissa was able to connect the dots and recognise that her emotions and experience of early motherhood had been strongly impacted by the traumatic birth of her first child. Fast forward 19 years, Melissa (now a happy and healed mother of three) and mum-of-two Debby (now a birth consultant), have helped thousands of women and families to heal from traumatic birth experiences through their work at Birthtalk.org.

Melissa and Debby co-authored the book How to Heal a Bad Birth where they emphasise that a traumatic birth where the mother doesn’t feel heard or supported, or where she feels frightened or out of control, isn’t just something to just ‘get over’. Through the book, their in-person workshops and individual consultations, Melissa and Debby have been supporting mothers all over the world to recover from their birthing experiences, so that they can go on to have positive and empowering subsequent births, or if they are not having more babies, they can go back to their families feeling more at peace and able to move on.

In this episode, you’ll understand what defines a ‘bad’ birth and how a challenging experience can negatively impact your mental health. You’ll find out how a traumatic experience can affect women for years to come, if not unpicked and addressed in the right way. You’ll also learn how to create your own personalised healing journey by looking at the way you feel now and reflecting back on the life-changing experience of childbirth.

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