Healing the Trauma of Pregnancy
This client case presents Rhonda’s experience using EMDR therapy to resolve the challenges caused by a difficult pregnancy, delivery, and recovery.
Rhonda was expecting her first child. It was a difficult pregnancy for Rhonda, who suffered nausea and vomiting several times a day throughout most of the nine months. In the end, after a painful 40-hour labour, she had a caesarean section.
After waking up, Rhonda asked for her baby girl and was told she had to wait for the nursing staff to come, which took several hours. “Why don’t I feel anything when I see my baby girl?” she thought as they finally brought her child to her. “Why don’t I feel anything?” she thought.
A mother’s love for her baby
Rhonda wanted to love baby Molly, she wanted to do what was best for her daughter, but couldn’t. She was not bonding with her, she just felt terrible and depressed. In fact, she was wracked with guilt about her lack of loving feelings for her child. This was neither Rhonda’s fault nor Molly’s.
The unprocessed memories of the pregnancy and delivery were stored in Rhonda’s brain, and the negative emotions and physical sensations were continually triggered by Molly’s presence.
Rhonda’s feelings about her newborn were not changed by antidepressants or counselling. Despite feeding and caring for Molly, she did not feel any love or nurturing toward her. Rhonda’s emotions oscillated between sadness, anxiety, and anger.
Rhonda was distressed, restless, and unable to fall asleep, which only worsened her situation. Neither Molly nor Rhonda was at fault.
However, if the situation was not addressed, Molly might grow up feeling unlovable. In the aftermath of the pregnancy and the birth, her mother’s information processing system had become overwhelmed.
These unprocessed negative experiences prevented Rhonda from feeling love for Molly, no matter how badly she wanted to. She needed to heal the trauma of pregnancy.
With EMDR therapy, Rhonda was able to heal the trauma of pregnancy, resolve the current situations that disturbed her, and allow herself to feel the good feelings that she would have had if she had experienced a different pregnancy and birth experience.
Molly went from “being a chore to being the love of my life.” This spared Molly a lifetime of grief and self-doubt. The parent-child relationship is an essential component of our identity.