I think it's so important to ackowledge that working to heal from traumatic birth experiences is important. Here's just my own two cents. I have never had what I would call a traumatic birth experience, but I have experienced trials, difficulties, fears, and pain. From what I can tell from reading other people's experiences and then added to my own, these are some of the most important things to work through when healing:
1. Allowing yourself time to grieve(this is hard when it has to do with birth because you are supposed to be happy you have the baby here, but your pain about the experience needs to be acknowledged and worked through)
2. Don't run away from the emotions you feel(anger, pain, fear, heartache). If we bury these emotions, they will never be dealt with. You need to feel them full on and let them work their way through you.
3. Acknowledge the role played by all involved, but learn to forgive. To me there is an important thing to do here. We are human and all make mistakes, but I can almost guarantee you that 95% of people are mostly good. That the decisions that are made are based off of what they feel is best, not because they want to hurt you. I know when I was bothered by an experience I had after a birth, I had to make a point to think of good things about the doctor that delivered me. I have sense worked with him, and would not choose him as my doctor, but he really is a good man and has no clue that what he did caused me emotional pain.
From the blog post, "I wanted my doctor to realize how much I was hurting and in the beginning, it was comforting to have a target at which to aim my blame. The truth is, and while I do believe her call to pitocin and a c-section were premature, multiple factors, including a personal choice to deliver at a hospital despite knowing in my heart of hearts I would NOT feel safe or comfortable there, played into the entire scene. On no one single person can I rest the blame. I have come to a point where I can look at the situation and objectively say, "My doctor is an outstanding surgeon, I like her as a person, and while I will find a midwife to work with next time, I want to continue to stay under my doctor's care. I recognize that there is a 2.5% chance that a woman will need an unforeseen c-section while in labor, and that the risk jumps to 3% for a woman with a previous c-section. I don't expect I will need a c-section with any future babies, but God forbid I do, I want her to do it because I trust her skill as a surgeon." Besides that, she believes in me. Right after the surgery was finished, she told me that I'm ready to go for a VBAC the next time, and told me so again after looking at my uterine scar via ultrasound at my 6-week postpartum checkup."
And then here is a quote that I particularly like form this blog
"You mean I am never free of this?" No, and someday a woman might not want to be. It is part of her, and it makes her whole. Loss and challenge are part of life. Once this realization is acknowledged, a woman must decide what she is doing with that life."
"My most intense moments of joy are sometimes found after experiencing pain; there is a sharper, clearer sensation of joy. I know what joy feels like after I have been in despair."
I hope we can all learn to feel that joy.
Just one more side note: As a nurse who has watched women having to deal with unexpected c-sections or traumatic births, I admire them so much. To me having to go through that is just as much a sacrifice for their children as anything else. I admire the strength and love that a mother has as she deals with these difficult trials. So I say to all moms, and particularly those who have to work through a traumatic experience, thank-you. Thank-you for sacrificing yourself to bring a beautiful child into this world. Because trust me, you are amazing.