Healing from Infertility, Pregnancy and Birth Trauma

Shannon M. Clark, MD
January 7, 2021
Healing from Infertility, Pregnancy and Birth Trauma

Here we are in the last quarter of 2020–a time for enjoying sweater weather and “pumpkin spice” lattes. But for many, even though there are pleasant things to look forward to this time of year, it cannot subdue the emotional pain that may linger from trauma related to our family building journeys.

The trauma may have included a high risk and/or complicated pregnancy, loss of a pregnancy, or complications during/after delivery. If any part of your once-imagined story of simply getting pregnant, having a blissful pregnancy, and then delivering a healthy baby went vastly different, then you may have experienced trauma.

What do I mean by trauma?

As Parijat Deshpande, a leading mind-body health specialist, says, “Trauma is not about WHAT happened, but HOW your body experienced it. Trauma is when too much happened too soon and too fast. Trauma does not heal with time.”

In the standard approach to healing trauma, the following is believed:

  • Talking about your traumatic experiences is the only way to heal.
  • If you don’t remember what happened to you, you cannot heal fully.
  • If you change your thoughts, you can heal and reclaim your life.
  • You will need years of support to heal and recover.

But Parijat and her work rest on a much more modern approach to healing from trauma. This modern approach believes the following:

  • Trauma lives in your body where words cannot reach it.
  • Your body holds memories your mind cannot remember.
  • Talking about your trauma before you experience safety in your body results in high risk of retraumatization.
  • Once you experience safety and stabilize your nervous system health, years of support is not needed for most people.
  • You do not need to remember everything that happened in order to heal.
  • You do not need to retell your story and rehash the past in order to heal.

Parijat is also the creator of “Healing Hearts,” a group program for women who have finished growing their family and are trying to heal from their fertility/pregnancy/birth trauma or traumatic losses. She has several tremendous resources available, including her book, Pregnancy Brain: A Mind-Body Approach to Stress Management During a High-Risk Pregnancy, which is available in The Babies After 35 Amazon storefront.

Parijat recently shared her expertise in a discussion on The Babies After 35 social media channels. She describes looking at the nervous system as a missing piece of the puzzle in prenatal care. This in part because the nervous system affects the endocrine system which is responsible for hormones.

Women who are newly pregnant and looking to support their bodies to reduce their risk of pregnancy complications and preterm delivery, will find her Path to Baby program especially beneficial. The goals of this program is to help women experience pregnancy without the fear and anxiety of past loss(es), pregnancy complications, or preterm birth.

Having gone through pregnancy loss myself and having had a high-risk pregnancy with my twins, I can attest that these types of resources are vital for women. Please feel free to forward this email to someone who you think might benefit from this information.

Shannon M. Clark, MD

Shannon M. Clark, MD

Shannon M. Clark, MD, MMS is a double board certified ObGyn and Maternal-Fetal Medicine Specialist, and founder of Babies After 35. In her roles as a clinician, educator and researcher at UTMB-Galveston, she focuses on the care of people with maternal and/or fetal complications of pregnancy. Dr. Clark has taken a special interest in pregnancy after the age of 35, which according to age alone, is considered a high-risk pregnancy. In her role as a physician caring for high-risk pregnancies, she has counseled and treated hundreds of women over the years in her very own situation, and has found a whole new respect for the challenges and complications a woman may experience when trying to have a baby later in life.

Follow Shannon on TikTok @tiktokbabydoc, Facebook @babiesafter35, and Instagram @babiesafter35.

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