A BALLINGARRY mother of two who is an accredited psychotherapist has just launched her new ebook on Amazon called Healing the Pain of a Traumatic Birth.
“It is going very well,” Nicola Hogg told the Limerick Leader this week.
But her main hope is that women who have had the experience of traumatic birth will gain consolation from the book and perhaps also, find help there.
The impetus to write the book came from her own, difficult experience of traumatic birth. “Before I wrote it, and because I had gone through a traumatic birth myself, I would have looked for books myself. That was really what led me to write it,” she said.
Four years ago, Nicola’s first daughter, Isobel arrived into the world following a long labour in hospital. Despite Nicola’s wish for a natural birth, it included induction, an epidural, lots of medical interventions and an episiotomy. “In medical terms, the birth would be considered ‘routine’ nowadays,” Nicola explained.
She made it clear she was not challenging the fact of medical intervention. But a few weeks after the birth,she came to the conclusion that certain of her emotions, feelings of sadness and trauma, were related to the birth experience.
“I knew, as a psychotherapist, I was not suffering from postnatal depression,” she said but asked: “I wondered how many mothers are labelled with PPD (post-partum depression) after a traumatic birth. I also wondered how many other mothers out there believe there is something ‘wrong’ with them for feeling so traumatised after a difficult birth - although my experience would be considered quite ‘routine’ in maternity hospitals.”
Indicators of traumatic birth, she explained, include flashbacks and feeling very anxious.
In her own life, Nicola took particular healing measures, including meditation and visualisation and in her book she outlines and gives tips on some of these. In the years since, she has brought this healing into her psychotherapy practice and now works with women who have been referred to her because of similar experiences.
But she is hopeful that birthing practices will change and imrpove to minimise trauma for the mother . And she cites a new birthing room in Cork University Hospital as an example to be copied, pointing out that research shows that privacy, silence and darkness provide the optimum conditions for giving birth.
Her big hope in writing the book is that it will encourage women to speak out about their experience, that they are not left feeling that there is something wrong with them. “I would have been very hard on myself,” Nicola admitted. “But there was nothing wrong with me. I just had a horrible experience.”