We ran our first awareness week in July 2018. A highlight of our 2018 campaign included a powerful video of women sharing their birth stories.
In 2019, women again shared their stories, this time with a focus on looking at birth preparation and its role in birth trauma.
**Trigger warning – These videos may be distressing to some viewers who have experienced a traumatic birth.
Birth Trauma Awareness Week 2018 – Your Story Matters
Birth Trauma Awareness Week 2019 – Start the Conversation
We are deeply honoured by the mothers who have been brave enough to share their stories so that they can help us raise awareness, and help us continue to raise awareness for the crucial support we provide to women and their families.
In Australia, 1 in 3 women identify their births as traumatic and 1 in 4 first-time mothers suffer major physical damage. These experiences often leave a long-lasting impact on a woman’s physical and mental health, their ability to bond with their baby and their relationships with their partners, family and friends.
Our individual responses to birth can be extremely complex, regardless of whether it was a vaginal birth, vaginal birth with intervention, emergency cesarean or planned cesarean. Trauma is very personal, and unique. Some women find certain interventions more difficult to deal with than others. Some might experience things that an onlooker might not consider to be traumatic.
These feelings can play a role in the development of postnatal anxiety, depression or other stress-related disorders. What we have discovered, is that the response of loved ones and supporting healthcare professionals plays a fundamental role across 3 key factors;
Without these 3 factors being addressed/identified, the damage to a women’s physical and mental health can be catastrophic, and if left unidentified women can be left feeling frightened, unsafe and/or unheard, as well as potentially being physically damaged. A woman’s partner or those that played a pivotal role in the birthing process may also be traumatised. Your feelings about your birth are real and should be acknowledged.
The ABTA wants women and their families to know that they aren’t alone and that there is help and support available. We are deeply honoured to the women who were brave enough to share their stories in the hope that they could help others. We encourage each and every person impacted by a trauma from the birth experience to raise their voices because ‘your story matters’.
We are currently gathering data to inform future projects focused around best practice models for birth preparation. This survey can be completed by any woman who has given birth (whether they felt their birth was traumatic or not). The survey will remain open until 31 July 2019. Please also share this link with your friends. You will also find it on our Facebook page.
For awareness week, we asked women or their partners to get in touch and send us their stories of birth trauma and the impact it has had on them, and their families. Like this one from Corrine.
You can still get involved by sharing your story either as a video or as a written article that will be shared on our Experience Blog.
We’re also encouraging people to share a one-line summary of their birth trauma stories and what they wish they had known on Twitter using the hashtags #ABTA2019 #unbiasedbirth #starttheconversation #yourstorymatters #BTAwarenessweek2019 (If you have a birth trauma blogpost, you can tweet that as well.) Do tag us at @AusBirthTrauma too.
You could also change your Facebook picture to include ABTA’S logo by following this link:
Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to share your story.
Ways You Can Help
As the first Australian charity focused on the psychological AND physical consequences of birth trauma, we are leading the way in starting the conversation around birth trauma and we want you to join us.
We are asking you, our members and supporters, to organise an activity during Birth Trauma Awareness Week to raise funds and encourage the conversation around birth trauma prevention and recovery.
There are a few ways you can help:
Help Us Raise Funds
The Australasian Birth Trauma Association is almost entirely dependent on its supporters for the funds to run its programs and campaigns. If you are interested in running a fundraising event at any time of the year, please review our Fundraising page.
It is filled with ideas and practical tips on running your own fundraising event.
If you do decide to run a fundraiser, please let us know – we would love to celebrate your success with you. We are working on a registration form for your event, so in the meantime please send us an email detailing your event. We also encourage you to use the hashtags #yourstorymatters and #abta so we can follow along and promote your efforts to inspire others.
Become an ABTA Peer Support Volunteer
If you are a mother who has experienced birth trauma and now find yourself in a place where you are ready to support others who are walking the journey to recovery, then we encourage you to consider becoming an ABTA PSP Support Volunteer.