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Talking about childbirth trauma can help new moms feel less alone

For many women, childbirth trauma and abuse are real issues. And for just as many women, these topics are something that we don’t feel comfortable talking about in public or even to our closest confidants. The only way to change this veil of secrecy over the birth experience is to start opening up without shame, as these women have done on social media.

The funny thing about childbirth is that most of us go into it with the best expectations. Sure, you may have heard a horror story or two or three from well-meaning relatives who “just want you to know what you’re getting into” before your water breaks — but for most women, the outlook is optimistic until something in the delivery room goes terribly wrong.

I know for myself, this naive optimism prior to birth had a lot to do with preserving my sanity. If I thought about everything that could and would go wrong after going into labor, I would have spent every night leading up to the big day in anxious fits of sleep. And we all know pregnant women need their sleep.

I was fortunate to have a positive birth experience, but for every time that I have shared my story, I have heard dozens of responses from women who felt quite the opposite. Yes, it is possible to go into a hospital or birthing center and come out with a healthy, happy baby. It is also possible to go in the same doors and come out as a survivor of a traumatic experience that may even leave you with postpartum PTSD. has started a Facebook movement to encourage women to break the silence and speak out about trauma and abuse in childbirth. The hashtag #breakthesilence caught on like social media wildfire, proving that most women with a traumatic birth experience are just looking for an outlet of encouragement and support. states on their Facebook page, “As difficult as it is to remember and revisit past trauma, our collective silence is what allows that abuse to happen again to someone else.” 

If you too have a traumatic birth story, don’t hold it in. You can #breakthesilence: 

1. “I am not too tired to push!” 

2. “You don’t want another damaged child, do you?” 

3. “An entire surgical team acted as if I wasn’t there.” 

4. “Bullied and coerced for a cesarean.” 

5. “What is your problem with medicine and hospitals?”

6. “Denied me anesthetics while he stitched my vagina.” 

7. “Inserted both hands, causing tears.” 

8. “I said no episiotomy.” 

9. “I was abused in labor because I was a teen.” 

10. “When they were done, I had a bloody nose.”

More on childbirth

A journey from new mom to birth advocate
Why are so many U.S. women dying in childbirth?
Benefits of natural childbirth

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