Traumatic experiences can occur at any time and at any age. That’s why children-related PTSD diagnoses have increased recently. A child can experience trauma through negative experiences or poor outcomes in their environment. A recent childbirth trend has been identified as the reason some children are being diagnosed with PTSD.
Childbirth trauma is usually associated with the mother mostly because she undergoes labor after nine long months of pregnancy. However, a recent trend with families allowing their children to see their mother go through labor is being diagnosed with PTSD as well. According to the BBC, parents want to involve their older children in the childbirth experience of their younger siblings so that they won’t feel jealous because of the new baby.
This practice has caused traumatic experiences on the young minds of children who see their mother going through such a painful experience. In addition, the foul language sometimes used by the mother while going through intensive labor pain can traumatize their children. It is very important to treat such kind of trauma with highly appropriate treatments, otherwise, it will drastically affect the mind of children.
Advice for Parents to Treat Childbirth Related Trauma of their Children
If you want to create a family bonding event by involving your younger children in the childbirth process, then you have to make it age-appropriate so that this experience won’t negatively impact your child. Some suggestions to involve children are listed below.
Discuss childbirth properly —
Before involving your child in the childbirth process, you need to discuss the entire process with them. You can show them brief childbirth videos or show them books on childbirth. If your child has any questions, then you should address them as best as possible. There’s no point in shying from a discussion when you will be incorporating them into the experience. You need to prepare your child in advance so for the experience and you can do that by explaining the childbirth process in detail.
Don’t leave your child unattended —
The entire process of childbirth is chaotic and no matter how much you prepare your child in advance, your children will see something that will shock them. It is a good idea to ask a close family member or friend to stay with your child during labor. This way your child won’t feel scared when you go into the labor. Moreover, if at any point it becomes too much for your child, then he or she can leave the room as there will be an adult present to help them out.
Involve your child in some parts —
You don’t have to involve your kid in the entire childbirth process. You can invite your child to come into the room once the baby is born or the mother is not in too much pain, this way child will be still part of the birth process, but only the good part.
Treatment for trauma —
If due to some unfortunate circumstances, your child is unable to be present during the entire childbirth due to shock, then the best treatment to handle such situation would be – EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing). This is a therapy process under which post-traumatic memories and unconscious thoughts are treated by a professional. It is a very effective therapy and has no side effects on the children.
Drop your idea —
Nothing goes as per the plan during the childbirth. So, if your doctor shares that complications are expected in the childbirth process, then you should drop the idea of involving your young children in it. That’s because it is very traumatic for a child to see his or her mother going through such a painful experience. Some children can develop a feeling of hatred for the new baby if they associate the birth with the mother’s pain. If you expect to have a difficult delivery, then avoid the idea of involving your child.
Discuss afterward —
After the childbirth, you should discuss the entire experience with your child and see how he or she is feeling. If your child has any doubts, then you should clear them properly.
PTSD can be a major problem for the children who are part of their mother’s childbirth process, but if it is handled properly, then it can be a beautiful family bonding experience. Parents just need to be careful here!