We are wired to seek safety and our brains create all kinds of stories based on our stress and coping responses to protect our sense of identity. Based on familiar patterns, these stories can limit our growth and expansion. Feeling stuck in a memory, especially one that feels dis-empowering, can be an opportunity to address deep rooted patterns, and change them for the better.
In healing your birth story you can improve maternal-infant bonding and deepen the relationship with your own self, thereby facilitating more fulfilling relationships with others. My personal experience has lead me to understand the importance of this work and the empowerment available to all of us through the willingness to heal.
Early in my career I realized the potential for healing through retelling birth stories. I want to promote the empowerment of mothers and shift the paradigm of modern birth culture towards recognizing the heroic journey every mother completes by bringing new life into the world.
The Edinburgh Postpartum Depression Scale is a widely accepted tool to quantify depressive symptoms. It is helpful in assessing the degree of depressive symptoms and indication for services. It may be a tool as much for your own reflection as for diagnosing depression and tracking results of treatment. Postpartum depression is diagnosed anytime within the year following birth.
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is a psychiatric diagnosis identified by a cluster of symptoms. Originally a diagnosis created to treat veterans returning from war, it has expanded to numerous other cases. According to experts, post partum PTSD is underdiagnosed and undertreated. The PCL-5 is a self report measure that assesses symptoms of PTSD and can be found here.
Please visit ptsd.va.gov for thorough resource.
See also: Raja, Harita MD "Post partum PTSD: Beyond Postpartum Depression in Maternal Mental Health" https://www.psychiatryadvisor.com/home/topics/anxiety/postpartum-ptsd-beyond-postpartum-depression-in-maternal-mental-health/ Psychiatric Advisor, May 12, 2017
The coaching provided through StoryMorphosis is an excellent adjunct to professional psychiatric treatment and is not a substitute. If you believe your symptoms meet the diagnostic criteria for Depression, Post-Partum Depression or PTSD, I encourage you to seek psychological support. If you ever feel you are a threat to your own safety, at risk of suicide or self harm or a threat to others - reach out! You can always contact emergency services, dial 911, and secure your safety. Here's the link to the national suicide hotline. https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/ 1-800-273-8255, available 24/7.