Trauma— how does trauma of all types impact or influence your pregnancy, labor and postpartum?
Today’s episode is beautiful, but very serious. We’re speaking with Midon, who has experienced a long journey of learning about early childhood traumas, and how they greatly impacted her most recent birth. We’re going to share about the importance of talking about these traumas, not leaving them unattended to fester, which can feel like the easier path. Now, I always do my best to be up front regarding difficult content so that you can make the choice to listen now, or perhaps save it for later when you feel more prepared or in a safer mental place. This is very likely an episode that you’ll want to listen to with ear buds if you’ve got young ears around. Starting now, because I’m going to tell you what’s coming. We will bring up some very triggering topics including growing up in a cult, sexual assault and mention of rape, birth assault and trauma, and alienation from family members. I know it sounds heavy, and it is, but there is light at the end of the tunnel, and Midon is an absolute joy to speak with. You’re going to gain so much from what she shares about herself and several clients who agreed to let her share bits of their stories, and even if you don’t relate directly to her experiences, this story has given me a whole new compassionate lens for the experiences of others.
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Midon was born into a cult in 1983 in Missour- her great grandfather was the Patriarch
Had barely any memories before the age of 10
She lived in 2 cults, lived there until 18- met her husband and was married 4 months later
Midon became pregnant 1.5 years later
She’d been told her whole life she’d never have children- because of a bicycle accident (that she had no memory of)
She wanted a midwife, but ended up with an OB in the hospital- it was an incredibly traumatic birth- forceps, couldn’t stand up for 9 weeks, broke her tailbone
The nurse forced her to keep her eyes open
6 months later she became pregnant and husband ok’d homebirth
When she left the cult, she was shunned by her family
Her family left the cult, her mom contacted her and wanted to be there- her body held baby in until her mother left
It was a quick, 6 hour birth- her midwife was very compassionate
She had a great third birth
4th- longer labor- it was a stressful time of life- she wonders how much that impacted her
In her 4th pregnancy she began having pelvic issues
Her husband then had a vasectomy
Midon was legally adopted as an adult
They had the vasectomy reversed- Midon became pregnant immediately after
She had to find a new midwife- it was the fastest birth yet, 4 hours
She became pregnant again- lost the baby @ 12 weeks
Finally called her biological brother and he confirmed a lot of her “dreams”— that they were real events
-7th pregnancy: Lots of pelvic pain began to come up- couldn’t sleep
Had preterm labor @ 35 weeks, but they were able to stop the labor and he stayed in until 40.6
It was the roughest labor she had ever had
She was in so much pain, but she didn’t say anything- she thought she was screaming out loud, but she never did. It made her wonder, “why does this happen?”
People with trauma don’t know how to speak
-3m pp- broke down to her adopted mom
-Interview with pelvic floor specialist- asked lots of questions that made Midon begin to question her childhood “bicycle” accident.
Wasn’t that such an amazing story? Midon’s still on her journey to healing, and I highly encourage anyone who recognizes a need to heal trauma to join her in the new community she’s created.
As we head into this week’s episode roundup, I have a few thoughts I’d like to discuss
- We need to keep our eyes out for obstetric abuse and report it when we see it. Midon experienced deep birth trauma at the hands of an abusive nurse and OB team, and this my friends is why we have such abysmal outcomes compared to other countries. When situations like this are allowed to unfold in the hospital setting, when there is no care for the people you’re supposed to be serving…. This leads to nothing good. If you hear stories like this from your friends, perhaps you can encourage them to reach out and report it. We have to be the ones demanding change.
- It was very eye-opening to hear how Midon became aware of her trauma over time. As care providers, you may assume that your clients know if they’ve experienced some sort of deep trauma, but these may be the ones who know the least, as their minds do their best to protect them. This was a great reminder for me. I also appreciate the way that Midon expressed her inability to express— she couldn’t speak, and even when she thought she was speaking, screaming even in labor, she wasn’t. This being the case, we must be vigilant, as so many midwives are, to continue the deep observational skills that midwives are so good at.
- Finally, I want to end on the positive note— that there is help. There are others who have walked this road, if you’re walking through past traumas, and there are so many who would love to walk it with you. You don’t have to be alone, and you don’t have to be silent. Finding a counselor or therapist who understands trauma, and even just finding the strength over time to open up to those that you love will hopefully not only work on your own healing process, but also give others the courage to heal, too. Be sure to look into Midon’s group Healing Trauma Mamas for additional community.
Thank you Midon for your willingness to share and expose the difficulty through which you’ve walked. It was such a blessing to have you on the podcast.
Okay my friends, that’s all I’ve got for you today. I’ll see you back here next week.
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