Coping with trauma after giving birth
Dealing with serious life-changing events is difficult during normal times, but the burden is compounded when you have to care for a new child. Here’s how to most deal with the five most stressful life-changing events.
Shock and grief are normal responses to events such as the sudden loss of a loved one, divorce or separation or a diagnosis of a serious disease. These feelings are tough to handle, especially when you have to stay strong for a new baby. Here’s what to do in the event of the five most stressful life situations after your childbirth:
1. Death of a loved one
Losing a spouse, family member or a close friend is one of the biggest blows, especially when you have to take care of a new baby. However, when the shock and grief subside, the biggest emotions you may feel are anger and betrayal. Questions arise, such as, “Why did he or she leave me when I needed them the most?” or “It’s not fair!”. Be assured that such feelings are a normal part of the grieving process. Take the time to bond with your new child and tell yourself that your child is a reminder of everything that is positive in your life.
2. Losing your job
In a perfect world, no woman should lose her job because she just gave birth. But what if your company decides to unfairly dismiss you after maternity leave? First of all, be glad that you never have to work for such an employer again and explore all of your legal options. Secondly, if you can afford to do so, take a break from working to spend time with your baby. Once your baby grows up you can’t turn back time–count this as a blessing in disguise.
3. Sudden accident or a serious illness
If someone you love has been involved in a serious accident or has been diagnosed with a chronic illness, you may feel overwhelmed by anxiety and uncertainty. You may feel as if there are no easy answers to the questions of, “Will this person live or die?” or “How do I cope with caring for a sick person when there’s a new baby to care for?”
If someone close to you is going to pass away, it is important that you make peace with them as soon as possible. Talking to them about your situation and the arrival of the new baby allows you to express your feelings and come to terms with the inevitable fact.
4. Divorce and separation
When a married couple go their separate ways it can be messier when a new baby is involved. You may be depressed or mad over the fact that you may have failed at marriage and your child will grow up without both parents.
This is possibly the most difficult situation to handle because you are dealing with the death of a relationship. It will become awkward in the future, especially with the in-laws and when both partners shared the same circle of friends. A new mother can feel isolated and out of touch with her social circle.
Separating from your husband may have an effect on how you see your new child. Do not assume that the birth of the child played a factor in the separation. It’s now important to stay strong and focused for you and your baby.
5. Going bankrupt
Perhaps you can’t really change the circumstances that brought you and your partner into dire straits, but you have to ask yourself, “How is bankruptcy going to affect us as a family?” Whether the bankruptcy came about through bad luck or poor financial judgment, you can’t hide from the fact that there is an extra mouth to feed at home.
The first step is to go to a debt-management centre and get the hard legalities and paperwork out of the way. Secondly, know that having a new baby means increased expenses. Work out a ‘baby budget’ and stick to it. Also, remember that babies grow very quickly so you don’t have to buy expensive baby accessories.
For more related articles on childbirth and post pregnancy, see: