Many women ask themselves this. But what if you don’t need to accept it, to heal?
Debby Gould and Melissa Bruijn are founders of Birthtalk.org, where, for 15 years, they have supported women in healing from a traumatic birth, and guided them towards empowering and positive subsequent births. They are also authors of new book, “How to Heal a Bad Birth: making sense, making peace and moving on.”
“Why can’t I just accept it and move on?”
“I know I just need to accept what happened.”
“I just have to accept it. What’s wrong with me?”
We often have women attend our ‘Healing From Birth’ meetings who express this to us, berating themselves for what they see as their ‘failure’ to accept their traumatic birth.
Melissa (from Birthtalk.org) was once one of them.
She says, “I felt that ‘if only’ I could just accept what had happened, then I would be ok. And I would be able to move on.
It was clearly all my fault.”
And many women echo the same sentiment.
But what if you DON’T need to accept it?
That’s what we share with women in our meetings.
As Debby from Birthtalk.org says, “If acceptance requires forcing your feelings down, quietening your questions, silencing your sadness, and just instead trying to ‘be grateful’, then that’s not healthy.
It will not enable you to heal, and may mean being ‘shut down’ in a broader sense.”
What if, instead of accepting your traumatic birth, you had the opportunity to explore your experience, to make sense of your feelings, and process whatever comes up, in order to release the intensity and impact?
What if you could feel sad?
And explore any feelings of guilt.
Or express your frustration about your partner.
And feel that there was a space for you to crumble and be held.
And learn new things about birth, about babies, about mothering, and about yourself.
And find perhaps a new depth of emotion that could only be uncovered once you’d been able to do these things.
A depth that allowed you to feel MORE.
More joy, more sadness, more rage, more delight, more wonder, more connection, more love…
rather than feeling trapped, and shut down and busting a gut to just ACCEPT it.
You don’t need to accept it.
Acceptance is more likely to come once you have processed the darkness. And found the gifts.
They are there – but they might be hidden.
Forcing yourself to ‘accept’ things won’t unleash these gifts.
But taking the journey to healing can.
©Melissa Bruijn and Debby Gould, Birthtalk.org 2017.
Melissa and Debby are the authors of How to Heal a Bad Birth : making sense, making peace and moving on. This ground-breaking self-help book takes the reader on a ‘Choose your own adventure’ style of healing journey… because every woman’s path to healing will be different. The pages are filled with heartfelt quotes from women, facts and insights about birth trauma, and ideas for dealing with common emotions that arise such as sadness, guilt, feelings of failure, anger and partner issues. There are step-by-step tools for healing, and immense support and compassion contained within these pages. Say the authors : “For the past 14 years we’ve been working with women after a traumatic birth in our ‘Healing From Birth’ support sessions. Because we’ve see the impact birth can have, we are gentle with women’s hearts as they step forward and acknowledge that they are ready to take the journey to healing. And we are with you all the way.” Go to howtohealabadbirth.com to learn more