Birth Trauma: Part 2 of 3

Friend, Flight, Fight, Freeze, Flop? Anne Marie McKinley (a Midwife and Birth Trauma Specialist) now takes us through the why and how in her fifth instalment in this series.


The Trauma Response and Childbirth

Bessel van der Kolk has spent over 30 years training psychotherapists to work with psychological trauma. Taken from the 28th Annual International Trauma Conference:

 

For almost three decades this conference has examined the evolving knowledge of how trauma affects psychological and biological developmental processes, and how the damage caused by trauma and neglect can be reversed. 1

 

We live in a world where teachers, more frequently, educate small children in the skills of mindfulness and self-regulation early in their little lives. However, many adults will often only find this need to engage in such activities when they are pregnant. [Read more…]

Queer Me!

How do we commemorate Tim, our resident guest writer, sharing his family history, relationships and feelings for the last five years? By asking him to share more with us.


Actually, I prefer the sub-title, Halfway Between Flying and Crying, because that is how I have felt all my life, that I have been halfway between the exhilaration of flying and being in tears of despair. I don’t mean the flying to be inside a plane. I think of it as just me, flying, as in a dream. What am I talking about? Don’t worry, I’ll get to it. I’m working up to it in my head. You don’t seriously think these pieces are planned, do you?

That ‘flying’ thing – you know I’m weird already, if you’ve read the pieces I’ve penned for Bob before.

No, not weird. Angry. Somehow unfulfilled. Seeking the thing that is just around the corner, the thing I can’t see, the thing that, if I catch a glimpse of it, runs away on silent feet. [Read more…]

Birth Trauma: Part 1 of 3

The fourth from her series introducing us to maternal mental health, Anne Marie McKinley (a Midwife and Birth Trauma Specialist) focuses her next 3 parts on various aspects of trauma response in birthing.


Birth trauma is still represented as though it is a surprise in some parts of the world. Even with pain relief, and the intention towards active management of normality, women still develop PTSD in the postnatal period. These next three (4-6) contributions will focus on various aspects of the trauma response in birthing and suggest some very practical interventions which may assist in prevention or amelioration of symptoms.

[Read more…]

Mental Health Stigmas in the Workplace

We welcome Beth from BooksNest sharing her personal experience of having obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and the stigma surrounding mental health issues within the workplace.


In 2019, we hope that we can be more open and honest about our mental health. We hope that terms like depression, anxiety and OCD hold less of a stigma around them. But is this really how mental health is being perceived or are we still experiencing prejudicial thoughts in the workplace? [Read more…]

Happiness

In part three from her series introducing us to maternal mental health, Anne Marie McKinley (who is a Midwife and Birth Trauma Specialist) guides us through ‘happiness’ – some of the research done, how it affects our lives and how it can shape our future generations.


Happiness has been studied in many ways. One study which looked at the biological factors that influence happiness and health and concluded that both biological and health factors underlie happiness. Genetics play a role too, and have a clear and significant effect on happiness (Dfarhud et al., 2014). 1 Another study demonstrates that about 33% of the variation in human life satisfaction is explained by genetics (De Neve etal., 2012/2013). 2 [Read more…]

Creating the Biology of Courage

The second part from her series introducing us to maternal mental health, we welcome back Anne Marie McKinley who is a Midwife and Birth Trauma Specialist. Here, Anne Marie explains how pregnancy is an opportunity to influence the future mental health and wellbeing of baby before birth and shares simple strategies to build resilience and interestingly, how imagination and visualisation can be of benefit.


The influences of external and internal factors on the health of the developing foetus and a growing baby have been widely researched. The belief that investing in psychological support for women who have mental health diagnoses and who report symptoms of depression or anxiety in pregnancy has evolved. Midwives, on booking, are encouraging women to appropriate pathways when symptoms are revealed. The importance of self-regulation, supportive environments, GP input, and psychological care are more prominent now than at any other time in the history of maternity care. [Read more…]

Dealing with the Symptoms of PTSD

Other than using the Rewind Technique, which I have found to be the kindest treatment for dealing with symptoms associated with traumatic events, there are many other treatments and activities which can help alleviate the symptoms a sufferer is experiencing. Here, Robert Johnson guides us briefly through what PTSD is and some of the options available to those living with the symptoms of Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Complex-PTSD (cPTSD).


As we know, life consists of ups and downs which we overcome daily. When we think about any type of mental disorder, just think of the ‘many more’ ups and downs that those people need to deal with. For PTSD, the battle with fear and anxiety is a long one and can last the whole day. It can also continue through the night when the reliving of the events is frequent. In order to understand PTSD, it is important to have it defined before proceeding. [Read more…]

Perinatal Mental Health

We are pleased to be sharing the first part in a series by Anne Marie McKinley on the theme of maternal mental health. Anne Marie is a Midwife and Birth Trauma Specialist who, over the coming weeks, will be introducing us to maternal mental health and its related aspects.


For every year of births, the estimate long-term cost to society of Perinatal Mental Health in the UK is 8.1 billion pounds (Bauer, 2014). 1 This estimate is based on the costs of mental health care of women through pregnancy and beyond, and it follows the trajectory of the cost of health-related ‘quality of life losses’ over the lifetime of mothers and their children’.

NHS England defines perinatal mental health problems as occurring during pregnancy and in the first year following the birth of a child. This NHS definition embraces a wide range of mental health conditions and it is estimated that 1:5 women will be affected.

[Read more…]

Charity Says Schools Must Make Mental Health as Important as Literacy and Maths

Traditional school subjects like English, maths, science and the arts are an important part of a child’s upbringing. But as the Mental Health Foundation Scotland (MHFS) points out, so too is a child’s mental health. The national charity is calling on schools all across the UK to give mental health the attention it deserves. The charity, in fact, believes it should be a key part of the curriculum, on par with literacy and maths – something I strongly agree with. [Read more…]

Make 2019 the year you stop waiting for it to be okay!

As another year ends, we can be grateful.

Some, however, will not be feeling a desire to express gratitude as 2018 was yet another year of psychological pain and turbulence. They wonder if these symptoms will ever leave – and peace and non-suffering will ever come to them.

We know there will always be suffering but to what extent, is in our own hands. The world may often be chaotic, but we can remain separate from that chaos if we elect to skilfully and mindfully observe more, and judge less.

[Read more…]