A little known fact about birth is it's potentially healing effect on the abuse survivor. Childbirth has such a dramatic influence on women - it is a life altering event. For a woman that's been sexually, physically or emotionally abused it has potential to be an even more pivotal time. Bringing your own baby into the world can have with it such an impacting emotional shift, so much of the past can come up and demand to be dealt with. The dis-empowering and out of control feelings from an abuse history can come up easily in labor, but with proper support they don't have to be the theme of your labor. Having an understanding and compassionate support person with you who can talk you through those potentially triggering moments, help you re-frame the thoughts that may dart through your mind and could influence you to feel very negatively about normal aspects of birth. Self-doubt and distrust of the body to build and birth a baby well can be replaced with hope and courage and inner strength. Giving birth does not have to be a fearful event, but can be one you courageously ride out.
Some abuse survivors have thought that having a highly medical birth would help them avoid those triggering moments. And sometimes this is true. On the other hand, some times these things are far more disturbing because they start to feel like things being done to me instead of my own body working hard. Straps and IV's have the potential to feel like restraints. Medications often given to help labor can also get a woman feeling helpless or overpowered.
Making a good birth plan, telling your doctor about your concerns, having a doula you trust - these are even more important if you've been through a major trauma in your life. Giving birth can be a great time of personal victory for a woman and it is something that deserves the support and encouragement of a major healing life event. It is an opportunity to overcome and to change not only your own world view, but to set a healthy framework in place for your family, your baby.
If you would like to talk to me about your history and see if having doula support might be right for your needs, please contact me. I am glad to meet with you in total confidentiality and just listen or help you work through your needs for your coming birth.
Something else to consider is that you may have gone through something that you have categorized as a minor indiscretion or a slightly inappropriate encounter - these too can impact your labor in subtle ways and should be dealt with prenatally if possible. They can influence your feelings toward doctors or other medical staff, they can alter your feelings of self worth and your ability to focus and get through labor the way you want to.