Today I'll look at a the book: When Survivors Give Birth: Understanding and Healing the Effects of Early Sexual Abuse on Childbearing Women, written by Penny Simkin and Phyllis Klaus, it gives a sensitive, factual account of the experiences of many women who are survivors of childhood abuse and have gone on to become childbearing women. The style of the book is unassuming and friendly, yet gives pertinent information as to the wideranging effects of this situation on individuals, the babies they are carrying/birthing, and society as a whole.
Simkin and Klaus reinforce that mid-wives and practitioners need to be sensitive of these issues, yet keep clear that they are not counsellors, and the most effective route for all concerned is usually to refer their clients onto a professional, trained in dealing with survivors of this form of abuse.
The book identifies the necessity of those offering assistance during pregnancy and birth to develop a network of referrals to professionals trained to provide care for women who've been sexually abused if they are experiencing difficulties with it. Women who've been sexually abused can find control to be a very big issue. Birth professionals/support people need to clearly understand and behave in a way that is clear that the mother has the power. They need to be guided by the mother's wishes with regard to not only talking with her about her past experiences, but in all regards as she prepares for and gives birth to their child.
There are specific strategies offered throughout the book to aid in promoting a peaceful, empowered birth for the mother, and less anxiety related complications, largely related to separating the birth experience/pain from the initial trauma/abuse.
There is statistically a heightened risk for adult survivors of child sexual abuse developing postpartum depression (25%) which reinforces the value of reading quality books such as these. When Survivors Give Birth is relatively easy to find, but Amazon is the only outlet I have found who post to Australia.
Healing to Maximise the Birthing Experience offers more on this topic.