Charity of the Month: The Birth Trauma Association
The Learner Mum's Charity of the Month, May 2021 This is the first post of a series, Charity of the Month. Each month, I will write a blog post about a charity relating to pregnancy, childbirth, motherhood or children. I am excited to start this series of posts, highlighting some of the fantastic work of various charities around the UK. I will choose a charity each month to share with you. I am writing this first post on the Birth Trauma Association otherwise known as the BTA.
Still a difficult topic for me to talk about, I experienced a traumatic birth. I was left experiencing flashbacks in the weeks and months following the birth of my baby. Whilst an Afterthoughts service was available at my hospital, I had to wait until 8 weeks postpartum to speak to anybody. During these 8 weeks, I was trying to to get on with my new life as a mum, but found the rare opportunities for sleep were terrorized by memories of what I had experienced. This is where the Birth Trauma Association comes in. I came across their website after a google search, and found a section featuring the stories of women who had experienced birth trauma themselves. This may sound awful that I found comfort reading through other people's trauma, but it made me realise I was not alone, and that this was something I could recover from.
The website is full of resources for parents, including guidance on how to obtain your medical records. This is something that I did that hugely helped to give me closure on my experience. It also features a section for partners, which I think is also vital as they are often completely forgotten about, when they have had to sit as witness to such awful events. The website also features an area for healthcare professionals, which is so important as improving awareness and education of healthcare professionals will naturally benefit mothers who have had a bad experience. But the BTA does more than it's website. The BTA has social media sites, particularly its Facebook page (open to members only) which has over 9000 members, and is used by women to connect and talk about their experiences. The BTA also offers membership for £10 per year, and you receive a newsletter with information on what the charity has been doing and tips on mental health.
The BTA also offers peer support via email which I would say is a vital service for women struggling to cope, particularly those who are isolated in our current world pandemic situation. On it website, the charity has expressed that they would like to offer a live chat service, but are currently fundraising in the hope of making this an eventuality. Birth trauma is an incredibly difficult topic to talk about. Many, like myself don't want to burden family or friends with the impact of such an awful experience. I personally am reluctant to talk to friends who I know want children in the future but have yet to have them, for fear of making them uncomfortable or filling them with anxiety before their own experience, which hopefully would be completely trauma free.
The BTA offers that crucial support which I think is otherwise very much lacking. Without the BTA, I have no doubt that many more women would be suffering with the psychological effects of birth trauma. They are a vital charity and one I am personally very grateful for.
If you would like to donate to the BTA please click on the link below.