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Perinatal trauma is the umbrella term for any event, situation or happening during the perinatal period that any person involved in the event feels traumatised by.

The most obvious and, now, more frequently talked about of these, is birth trauma. Very often, however, women, partners, relatives and health care practitioners minimise or try and negate felt trauma because the events or situation that caused the trauma were not emergency scenario based.

The term also encompasses IVF trauma, pregnancy and baby loss trauma, postpartum trauma, breastfeeding trauma and trauma associated with NICU stays, sick baby and child trauma.

We should not feel ashamed to say that we felt traumatised by the things that happened in our lives. We need to speak out and seek help to move forward from the things that happen to us, especially when we are vulnerable. Other people’s toxic positivity is incredibly unhelpful when dealing with the aftermath of a traumatic event. Phrases such as “At least you have a healthy baby” or “isn’t it time you just moved on?” can be very harmful to the recipient, undermining their lived experience and underestimating the impact of what, to some, may seem like a very ordinary event.

What actually happened is not of importance, our reaction and how our brains manage the reaction once the danger has passed is the reason that some people are affected for much longer than others. And some may need therapy or help such as the 3 Step Rewind to help them move out of that stuck in fear reaction state.

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