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Dr. Rebecca Moore

Dr. Rebecca Moore

Dr. Rebecca Moore

Dr. Rebecca Moore

Making birth better

Making birth better

Making birth better

Making birth better

Birth_trauma-01

Interview by Inés Alcalá Freudenthal, October 2018

Interview by Inés Alcalá Freudenthal, October 2018

After more than 10 years of hearing women’s birth stories, perinatal psychiatrist Dr. Rebecca Moore is extremely skilled in helping women recover from traumatic experiences. She is passionate about women’s health and in supporting them on their journeys to becoming mothers – and making their birth experience an empowered one. She is part of the Make Birth Better campaign, which aims to raise awareness of birth trauma, lobby for changes to maternity services, create a platform to talk about the breadth of people’s experiences, provide information for families and professionals and offer training and consultation to health services. We talked to her about perinatal mental health, the differences between trauma and depression, and how social media has impacted this field.

After more than 10 years of hearing women’s birth stories, perinatal psychiatrist Dr. Rebecca Moore is extremely skilled in helping women recover from traumatic experiences. She is passionate about women’s health and in supporting them on their journeys to becoming mothers – and making their birth experience an empowered one. She is part of the Make Birth Better campaign, which aims to raise awareness of birth trauma, lobby for changes to maternity services, create a platform to talk about the breadth of people’s experiences, provide information for families and professionals and offer training and consultation to health services. We talked to her about perinatal mental health, the differences between trauma and depression, and how social media has impacted this field.

After more than 10 years of hearing women’s birth stories, perinatal psychiatrist Dr. Rebecca Moore is extremely skilled in helping women recover from traumatic experiences. She is passionate about women’s health and in supporting them on their journeys to becoming mothers – and making their birth experience an empowered one. She is part of the Make Birth Better campaign, which aims to raise awareness of birth trauma, lobby for changes to maternity services, create a platform to talk about the breadth of people’s experiences, provide information for families and professionals and offer training and consultation to health services. We talked to her about perinatal mental health, the differences between trauma and depression, and how social media has impacted this field.

The key thing to remember about the experience of a traumatic birth is that it is subjective. It’s not about how the birth appears medically on paper, although obviously that can be part of the trauma. It’s more about how women feel during their birth experience. They may feel they weren’t listened to, or that the people looking after them weren’t kind or compassionate, or that they were out of control or they lost their sense of self. To me, this really comes down to good communication and support. This means that you can have women who have a huge amount of medical complications, but they walk out from their birth experience feeling relatively ok, because they had a midwife who was explaining what was happening to them. So we really focus on good communication and the power of language, and how to support women in labour, because it really can alter their perception of the experience. And it’s not just women – fathers or birthing partners can be affected – in fact, anybody in the room that can be traumatised.

The key thing to remember about the experience of a traumatic birth is that it is subjective. It’s not about how the birth appears medically on paper, although obviously that can be part of the trauma. It’s more about how women feel during their birth experience. They may feel they weren’t listened to, or that the people looking after them weren’t kind or compassionate, or that they were out of control or they lost their sense of self. To me, this really comes down to good communication and support. This means that you can have women who have a huge amount of medical complications, but they walk out from their birth experience feeling relatively ok, because they had a midwife who was explaining what was happening to them. So we really focus on good communication and the power of language, and how to support women in labour, because it really can alter their perception of the experience. And it’s not just women – fathers or birthing partners can be affected – in fact, anybody in the room that can be traumatised.

The key thing to remember about the experience of a traumatic birth is that it is subjective. It’s not about how the birth appears medically on paper, although obviously that can be part of the trauma. It’s more about how women feel during their birth experience. They may feel they weren’t listened to, or that the people looking after them weren’t kind or compassionate, or that they were out of control or they lost their sense of self. To me, this really comes down to good communication and support. This means that you can have women who have a huge amount of medical complications, but they walk out from their birth experience feeling relatively ok, because they had a midwife who was explaining what was happening to them. So we really focus on good communication and the power of language, and how to support women in labour, because it really can alter their perception of the experience. And it’s not just women – fathers or birthing partners can be affected – in fact, anybody in the room that can be traumatised.

The key thing to remember about the experience of a traumatic birth is that it is subjective. It’s not about how the birth appears medically on paper, although obviously that can be part of the trauma. It’s more about how women feel during their birth experience. They may feel they weren’t listened to, or that the people looking after them weren’t kind or compassionate, or that they were out of control or they lost their sense of self. To me, this really comes down to good communication and support. This means that you can have women who have a huge amount of medical complications, but they walk out from their birth experience feeling relatively ok, because they had a midwife who was explaining what was happening to them. So we really focus on good communication and the power of language, and how to support women in labour, because it really can alter their perception of the experience. And it’s not just women – fathers or birthing partners can be affected – in fact, anybody in the room that can be traumatised.

The key thing to remember about the experience of a traumatic birth is that it is subjective. It’s not about how the birth appears medically on paper, although obviously that can be part of the trauma. It’s more about how women feel during their birth experience. They may feel they weren’t listened to, or that the people looking after them weren’t kind or compassionate, or that they were out of control or they lost their sense of self. To me, this really comes down to good communication and support. This means that you can have women who have a huge amount of medical complications, but they walk out from their birth experience feeling relatively ok, because they had a midwife who was explaining what was happening to them. So we really focus on good communication and the power of language, and how to support women in labour, because it really can alter their perception of the experience. And it’s not just women – fathers or birthing partners can be affected – in fact, anybody in the room that can be traumatised.

“Sometimes there’s a difficulty with using the word ‘trauma’.”

“Sometimes there’s a difficulty with using the word ‘trauma’.”

“Sometimes there’s a difficulty with using the word ‘trauma’.”

“Sometimes there’s a difficulty with using the word ‘trauma’.”

“Sometimes there’s a difficulty with using the word ‘trauma’.”

It’s important to realise that you can be traumatised by labour, but this doesn’t always result in a diagnosis of depression or PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder). There are loads of different ways in which birth trauma may present. Some women may have a traumatic birth and have a whole different range of symptoms that may last for months, or it might last for years. It can massively vary in time. Some women may have a clinical diagnosis of PTSD, or they may become depressed or very anxious, or they may have difficulty connecting with their baby because they remind them of the experience. Of course, there are physical issues too, such as tearing, which can result in incontinence, and that can have a huge impact on self esteem. If you felt your partner didn’t support your during birth, or the fear of pregnancy prohibits you from having sex with your partner, it can be problematic. But none of these things fall under a specific diagnosis. With PTSD, you are looking down a list of symptoms, of which you need to check off at least 10 to be diagnosed with the condition. This is important to a certain degree, and some women really like to have a diagnosis, to be able to put a name to what they are experiencing. But what I am more interested in is the impact of any number of the symptoms that I’ve just discussed on a woman’s daily life; even if you can only check half the boxes, those symptoms are still affecting you. And if you are sitting there constantly on edge, not being able to stop thinking about your birth experience, not being able to sleep and also trying to be a new mum, that’s a really difficult mix. You don’t always need to a have a formal diagnosis to be really struggling and suffering, and that’s what we should be focusing on – giving every woman the subjective support she needs. 

Sometimes women become very socially avoidant, because they can’t hear anybody else’s birth stories or they feel really jealous of people who’ve had less complicated labours. I think it’s very difficult for someone to recognise they have a birth trauma. Many people working in this field have known of this existing for a very long time, and I’m glad to see these concerns are being voiced now. But I also think it’s very difficult, especially if it’s your first pregnancy and birth, to do so; you have no frame of reference of how birth is meant to be, especially if nobody around you talks about it. A lot of women I’ve worked with thought their experiences were ‘normal’ or ‘part of birth’. It’s in the wording, too. Sometimes there’s a difficulty with using the word ‘trauma’, because the association is with war or military situations, and people feel they can’t possibly use the same terminology for their experiences.

Trauma presents itself in a very different way to depression. With depression, you would expect someone to talk about feeling low and sad – most of the day, every day. They feel fatigued and worn out and can’t enjoy life. Whereas with trauma, you typically have more variable moods. You might feel happy one minute, then anxious, then irritable, and you are replaying your trauma, so you are constantly thinking about your birth whether that’s on your mind, or flashing before your eyes at random moments in the day, or in bad dreams. So it’s really important to get on the right treatment pathway from the very start.

It’s important to realise that you can be traumatised by labour, but this doesn’t always result in a diagnosis of depression or PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder). There are loads of different ways in which birth trauma may present. Some women may have a traumatic birth and have a whole different range of symptoms that may last for months, or it might last for years. It can massively vary in time. Some women may have a clinical diagnosis of PTSD, or they may become depressed or very anxious, or they may have difficulty connecting with their baby because they remind them of the experience. Of course, there are physical issues too, such as tearing, which can result in incontinence, and that can have a huge impact on self esteem. If you felt your partner didn’t support your during birth, or the fear of pregnancy prohibits you from having sex with your partner, it can be problematic. But none of these things fall under a specific diagnosis. With PTSD, you are looking down a list of symptoms, of which you need to check off at least 10 to be diagnosed with the condition. This is important to a certain degree, and some women really like to have a diagnosis, to be able to put a name to what they are experiencing. But what I am more interested in is the impact of any number of the symptoms that I’ve just discussed on a woman’s daily life; even if you can only check half the boxes, those symptoms are still affecting you. And if you are sitting there constantly on edge, not being able to stop thinking about your birth experience, not being able to sleep and also trying to be a new mum, that’s a really difficult mix. You don’t always need to a have a formal diagnosis to be really struggling and suffering, and that’s what we should be focusing on – giving every woman the subjective support she needs. 

Sometimes women become very socially avoidant, because they can’t hear anybody else’s birth stories or they feel really jealous of people who’ve had less complicated labours. I think it’s very difficult for someone to recognise they have a birth trauma. Many people working in this field have known of this existing for a very long time, and I’m glad to see these concerns are being voiced now. But I also think it’s very difficult, especially if it’s your first pregnancy and birth, to do so; you have no frame of reference of how birth is meant to be, especially if nobody around you talks about it. A lot of women I’ve worked with thought their experiences were ‘normal’ or ‘part of birth’. It’s in the wording, too. Sometimes there’s a difficulty with using the word ‘trauma’, because the association is with war or military situations, and people feel they can’t possibly use the same terminology for their experiences.

Trauma presents itself in a very different way to depression. With depression, you would expect someone to talk about feeling low and sad – most of the day, every day. They feel fatigued and worn out and can’t enjoy life. Whereas with trauma, you typically have more variable moods. You might feel happy one minute, then anxious, then irritable, and you are replaying your trauma, so you are constantly thinking about your birth whether that’s on your mind, or flashing before your eyes at random moments in the day, or in bad dreams. So it’s really important to get on the right treatment pathway from the very start.

It’s important to realise that you can be traumatised by labour, but this doesn’t always result in a diagnosis of depression or PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder). There are loads of different ways in which birth trauma may present. Some women may have a traumatic birth and have a whole different range of symptoms that may last for months, or it might last for years. It can massively vary in time. Some women may have a clinical diagnosis of PTSD, or they may become depressed or very anxious, or they may have difficulty connecting with their baby because they remind them of the experience. Of course, there are physical issues too, such as tearing, which can result in incontinence, and that can have a huge impact on self esteem. If you felt your partner didn’t support your during birth, or the fear of pregnancy prohibits you from having sex with your partner, it can be problematic. But none of these things fall under a specific diagnosis. With PTSD, you are looking down a list of symptoms, of which you need to check off at least 10 to be diagnosed with the condition. This is important to a certain degree, and some women really like to have a diagnosis, to be able to put a name to what they are experiencing. But what I am more interested in is the impact of any number of the symptoms that I’ve just discussed on a woman’s daily life; even if you can only check half the boxes, those symptoms are still affecting you. And if you are sitting there constantly on edge, not being able to stop thinking about your birth experience, not being able to sleep and also trying to be a new mum, that’s a really difficult mix. You don’t always need to a have a formal diagnosis to be really struggling and suffering, and that’s what we should be focusing on – giving every woman the subjective support she needs. 

Sometimes women become very socially avoidant, because they can’t hear anybody else’s birth stories or they feel really jealous of people who’ve had less complicated labours. I think it’s very difficult for someone to recognise they have a birth trauma. Many people working in this field have known of this existing for a very long time, and I’m glad to see these concerns are being voiced now. But I also think it’s very difficult, especially if it’s your first pregnancy and birth, to do so; you have no frame of reference of how birth is meant to be, especially if nobody around you talks about it. A lot of women I’ve worked with thought their experiences were ‘normal’ or ‘part of birth’. It’s in the wording, too. Sometimes there’s a difficulty with using the word ‘trauma’, because the association is with war or military situations, and people feel they can’t possibly use the same terminology for their experiences.

Trauma presents itself in a very different way to depression. With depression, you would expect someone to talk about feeling low and sad – most of the day, every day. They feel fatigued and worn out and can’t enjoy life. Whereas with trauma, you typically have more variable moods. You might feel happy one minute, then anxious, then irritable, and you are replaying your trauma, so you are constantly thinking about your birth whether that’s on your mind, or flashing before your eyes at random moments in the day, or in bad dreams. So it’s really important to get on the right treatment pathway from the very start.

“We really focus on good communication and the power of language, and how to support women in labour, because it really can alter their perception of the experience.”

“We really focus on good communication and the power of language, and how to support women in labour, because it really can alter their perception of the experience.”

“We really focus on good communication and the power of language, and how to support women in labour, because it really can alter their perception of the experience.”

“We really focus on good communication and the power of language, and how to support women in labour, because it really can alter their perception of the experience.”

“We really focus on good communication and the power of language, and how to support women in labour, because it really can alter their perception of the experience.”

We know that there’s still a stigma surrounding perinatal mental health. Half of women with an illness never come forward or disclose it because they are so fearful of being judged, or of people thinking they are a bad mother, and of the deepest and darkest consequence in their mind – that their baby will be taken away from them. It’s completely understandable, and takes a huge amount of courage to put your head above the parapet and admit that you are not coping, that you are struggling. That’s a really brave thing to do. But I would like to reassure women that people are a lot more open to discussions now, and much more aware.

Love it or loathe it, the biggest driver of this change in attitude has been social media. A lot of women wouldn’t use it, but on the flip side, a lot of the people I work with have said that following other people on social media and hearing their stories was really empowering for them. In addition to that, there’s the choice of anonymity. You don’t have to give your real name, no one knows where you live or who you are. It has enabled people to find a voice. Loads of women won’t want to come to me as a psychiatrist, which is fine, because they may have certain preconceptions, but they would perhaps speak to me and begin a conversation on Instagram. I think that’s really amazing. I always think about the women who read posts, but never comment – we are still reaching them. They are still able to follow people and see people recovering and feeling better. Celebrities being more honest about their birth experiences and having depression or anxiety also reaches a lot of different people. And lately, we are not thinking about physical and mental health as being separate things; most people would now recognize that they are intertwined, that it’s important to look after both equally. As a result, there are many more campaigns – Birth Trauma Awareness week and Mental Health Awareness week are just two. In mass media over the last five years, there’s been an explosion of these types of campaigns, and they’ve reached people that would have previously struggled to talk about it. So that’s really positive.

We know that there’s still a stigma surrounding perinatal mental health. Half of women with an illness never come forward or disclose it because they are so fearful of being judged, or of people thinking they are a bad mother, and of the deepest and darkest consequence in their mind – that their baby will be taken away from them. It’s completely understandable, and takes a huge amount of courage to put your head above the parapet and admit that you are not coping, that you are struggling. That’s a really brave thing to do. But I would like to reassure women that people are a lot more open to discussions now, and much more aware.

Love it or loathe it, the biggest driver of this change in attitude has been social media. A lot of women wouldn’t use it, but on the flip side, a lot of the people I work with have said that following other people on social media and hearing their stories was really empowering for them. In addition to that, there’s the choice of anonymity. You don’t have to give your real name, no one knows where you live or who you are. It has enabled people to find a voice. Loads of women won’t want to come to me as a psychiatrist, which is fine, because they may have certain preconceptions, but they would perhaps speak to me and begin a conversation on Instagram. I think that’s really amazing. I always think about the women who read posts, but never comment – we are still reaching them. They are still able to follow people and see people recovering and feeling better. Celebrities being more honest about their birth experiences and having depression or anxiety also reaches a lot of different people. And lately, we are not thinking about physical and mental health as being separate things; most people would now recognize that they are intertwined, that it’s important to look after both equally. As a result, there are many more campaigns – Birth Trauma Awareness week and Mental Health Awareness week are just two. In mass media over the last five years, there’s been an explosion of these types of campaigns, and they’ve reached people that would have previously struggled to talk about it. So that’s really positive.

We know that there’s still a stigma surrounding perinatal mental health. Half of women with an illness never come forward or disclose it because they are so fearful of being judged, or of people thinking they are a bad mother, and of the deepest and darkest consequence in their mind – that their baby will be taken away from them. It’s completely understandable, and takes a huge amount of courage to put your head above the parapet and admit that you are not coping, that you are struggling. That’s a really brave thing to do. But I would like to reassure women that people are a lot more open to discussions now, and much more aware.

Love it or loathe it, the biggest driver of this change in attitude has been social media. A lot of women wouldn’t use it, but on the flip side, a lot of the people I work with have said that following other people on social media and hearing their stories was really empowering for them. In addition to that, there’s the choice of anonymity. You don’t have to give your real name, no one knows where you live or who you are. It has enabled people to find a voice. Loads of women won’t want to come to me as a psychiatrist, which is fine, because they may have certain preconceptions, but they would perhaps speak to me and begin a conversation on Instagram. I think that’s really amazing. I always think about the women who read posts, but never comment – we are still reaching them. They are still able to follow people and see people recovering and feeling better. Celebrities being more honest about their birth experiences and having depression or anxiety also reaches a lot of different people. And lately, we are not thinking about physical and mental health as being separate things; most people would now recognize that they are intertwined, that it’s important to look after both equally. As a result, there are many more campaigns – Birth Trauma Awareness week and Mental Health Awareness week are just two. In mass media over the last five years, there’s been an explosion of these types of campaigns, and they’ve reached people that would have previously struggled to talk about it. So that’s really positive.

We know that there’s still a stigma surrounding perinatal mental health. Half of women with an illness never come forward or disclose it because they are so fearful of being judged, or of people thinking they are a bad mother, and of the deepest and darkest consequence in their mind – that their baby will be taken away from them. It’s completely understandable, and takes a huge amount of courage to put your head above the parapet and admit that you are not coping, that you are struggling. That’s a really brave thing to do. But I would like to reassure women that people are a lot more open to discussions now, and much more aware.

Love it or loathe it, the biggest driver of this change in attitude has been social media. A lot of women wouldn’t use it, but on the flip side, a lot of the people I work with have said that following other people on social media and hearing their stories was really empowering for them. In addition to that, there’s the choice of anonymity. You don’t have to give your real name, no one knows where you live or who you are. It has enabled people to find a voice. Loads of women won’t want to come to me as a psychiatrist, which is fine, because they may have certain preconceptions, but they would perhaps speak to me and begin a conversation on Instagram. I think that’s really amazing. I always think about the women who read posts, but never comment – we are still reaching them. They are still able to follow people and see people recovering and feeling better. Celebrities being more honest about their birth experiences and having depression or anxiety also reaches a lot of different people. And lately, we are not thinking about physical and mental health as being separate things; most people would now recognize that they are intertwined, that it’s important to look after both equally. As a result, there are many more campaigns – Birth Trauma Awareness week and Mental Health Awareness week are just two. In mass media over the last five years, there’s been an explosion of these types of campaigns, and they’ve reached people that would have previously struggled to talk about it. So that’s really positive.

We know that there’s still a stigma surrounding perinatal mental health. Half of women with an illness never come forward or disclose it because they are so fearful of being judged, or of people thinking they are a bad mother, and of the deepest and darkest consequence in their mind – that their baby will be taken away from them. It’s completely understandable, and takes a huge amount of courage to put your head above the parapet and admit that you are not coping, that you are struggling. That’s a really brave thing to do. But I would like to reassure women that people are a lot more open to discussions now, and much more aware.

Love it or loathe it, the biggest driver of this change in attitude has been social media. A lot of women wouldn’t use it, but on the flip side, a lot of the people I work with have said that following other people on social media and hearing their stories was really empowering for them. In addition to that, there’s the choice of anonymity. You don’t have to give your real name, no one knows where you live or who you are. It has enabled people to find a voice. Loads of women won’t want to come to me as a psychiatrist, which is fine, because they may have certain preconceptions, but they would perhaps speak to me and begin a conversation on Instagram. I think that’s really amazing. I always think about the women who read posts, but never comment – we are still reaching them. They are still able to follow people and see people recovering and feeling better. Celebrities being more honest about their birth experiences and having depression or anxiety also reaches a lot of different people. And lately, we are not thinking about physical and mental health as being separate things; most people would now recognize that they are intertwined, that it’s important to look after both equally. As a result, there are many more campaigns – Birth Trauma Awareness week and Mental Health Awareness week are just two. In mass media over the last five years, there’s been an explosion of these types of campaigns, and they’ve reached people that would have previously struggled to talk about it. So that’s really positive.

“There are moments that are really difficult and moments that are really joyous – to just focus on birth being perfect or awful is not real.”

“There are moments that are really difficult and moments that are really joyous – to just focus on birth being perfect or awful is not real.”

“There are moments that are really difficult and moments that are really joyous – to just focus on birth being perfect or awful is not real.”

“There are moments that are really difficult and moments that are really joyous – to just focus on birth being perfect or awful is not real.”

“There are moments that are really difficult and moments that are really joyous – to just focus on birth being perfect or awful is not real.”

I think it’s really helpful for women to hear a range of experiences, because for most, birth isn’t all good or all bad – it’s a mixture of both. There are moments that are really difficult and moments that are really joyous – to just focus on birth being perfect or awful is not real. It’s important to welcome hearing all the stories. Particularly for women preparing to give birth themselves, because a realistic picture can be a reassuring picture. Clearly there are women who are very fearful of giving birth that might want to be avoid these narratives, but that’s not the vast majority. And most of those women after specialist treatment will change their view point. I also think there’s room to hear the negative stories without frightening or scaring women. I think you can be sensitive in the way you go about it. And again with social media, it’s a positive thing that you can curate your feed, so it almost reads like a magazine. For those women who find the idea of birth really terrifying and don’t want to hear negative stories, there’s a way to continue to engage but not become overwhelmed, and I really encourage them to do that.

At Make Birth Better, we see ourselves as a platform to tell any story without judgement or criticism. The aim is for women to share their stories without fear of repercussions. There’s still loads of work to be done, and bringing awareness can be wonderful, but to some women it’s not – it can be very difficult. And telling women that they can speak out if they feel they are struggling with symptoms they may be having is not enough. The most important thing we are doing right now is creating a UK database of where where people can go and seek support. It’s often really hard for women to navigate that – you are tired, you’ve got a new baby, you don’t know where to start. There are many areas of the country where women aren't getting the specialist care that they need. And we must change that.

I think it’s really helpful for women to hear a range of experiences, because for most, birth isn’t all good or all bad – it’s a mixture of both. There are moments that are really difficult and moments that are really joyous – to just focus on birth being perfect or awful is not real. It’s important to welcome hearing all the stories. Particularly for women preparing to give birth themselves, because a realistic picture can be a reassuring picture. Clearly there are women who are very fearful of giving birth that might want to be avoid these narratives, but that’s not the vast majority. And most of those women after specialist treatment will change their view point. I also think there’s room to hear the negative stories without frightening or scaring women. I think you can be sensitive in the way you go about it. And again with social media, it’s a positive thing that you can curate your feed, so it almost reads like a magazine. For those women who find the idea of birth really terrifying and don’t want to hear negative stories, there’s a way to continue to engage but not become overwhelmed, and I really encourage them to do that.

At Make Birth Better, we see ourselves as a platform to tell any story without judgement or criticism. The aim is for women to share their stories without fear of repercussions. There’s still loads of work to be done, and bringing awareness can be wonderful, but to some women it’s not – it can be very difficult. And telling women that they can speak out if they feel they are struggling with symptoms they may be having is not enough. The most important thing we are doing right now is creating a UK database of where where people can go and seek support. It’s often really hard for women to navigate that – you are tired, you’ve got a new baby, you don’t know where to start. There are many areas of the country where women aren't getting the specialist care that they need. And we must change that.

I think it’s really helpful for women to hear a range of experiences, because for most, birth isn’t all good or all bad – it’s a mixture of both. There are moments that are really difficult and moments that are really joyous – to just focus on birth being perfect or awful is not real. It’s important to welcome hearing all the stories. Particularly for women preparing to give birth themselves, because a realistic picture can be a reassuring picture. Clearly there are women who are very fearful of giving birth that might want to be avoid these narratives, but that’s not the vast majority. And most of those women after specialist treatment will change their view point. I also think there’s room to hear the negative stories without frightening or scaring women. I think you can be sensitive in the way you go about it. And again with social media, it’s a positive thing that you can curate your feed, so it almost reads like a magazine. For those women who find the idea of birth really terrifying and don’t want to hear negative stories, there’s a way to continue to engage but not become overwhelmed, and I really encourage them to do that.

At Make Birth Better, we see ourselves as a platform to tell any story without judgement or criticism. The aim is for women to share their stories without fear of repercussions. There’s still loads of work to be done, and bringing awareness can be wonderful, but to some women it’s not – it can be very difficult. And telling women that they can speak out if they feel they are struggling with symptoms they may be having is not enough. The most important thing we are doing right now is creating a UK database of where where people can go and seek support. It’s often really hard for women to navigate that – you are tired, you’ve got a new baby, you don’t know where to start. There are many areas of the country where women aren't getting the specialist care that they need. And we must change that.

I think it’s really helpful for women to hear a range of experiences, because for most, birth isn’t all good or all bad – it’s a mixture of both. There are moments that are really difficult and moments that are really joyous – to just focus on birth being perfect or awful is not real. It’s important to welcome hearing all the stories. Particularly for women preparing to give birth themselves, because a realistic picture can be a reassuring picture. Clearly there are women who are very fearful of giving birth that might want to be avoid these narratives, but that’s not the vast majority. And most of those women after specialist treatment will change their view point. I also think there’s room to hear the negative stories without frightening or scaring women. I think you can be sensitive in the way you go about it. And again with social media, it’s a positive thing that you can curate your feed, so it almost reads like a magazine. For those women who find the idea of birth really terrifying and don’t want to hear negative stories, there’s a way to continue to engage but not become overwhelmed, and I really encourage them to do that.

At Make Birth Better, we see ourselves as a platform to tell any story without judgement or criticism. The aim is for women to share their stories without fear of repercussions. There’s still loads of work to be done, and bringing awareness can be wonderful, but to some women it’s not – it can be very difficult. And telling women that they can speak out if they feel they are struggling with symptoms they may be having is not enough. The most important thing we are doing right now is creating a UK database of where where people can go and seek support. It’s often really hard for women to navigate that – you are tired, you’ve got a new baby, you don’t know where to start. There are many areas of the country where women aren't getting the specialist care that they need. And we must change that.

I think it’s really helpful for women to hear a range of experiences, because for most, birth isn’t all good or all bad – it’s a mixture of both. There are moments that are really difficult and moments that are really joyous – to just focus on birth being perfect or awful is not real. It’s important to welcome hearing all the stories. Particularly for women preparing to give birth themselves, because a realistic picture can be a reassuring picture. Clearly there are women who are very fearful of giving birth that might want to be avoid these narratives, but that’s not the vast majority. And most of those women after specialist treatment will change their view point. I also think there’s room to hear the negative stories without frightening or scaring women. I think you can be sensitive in the way you go about it. And again with social media, it’s a positive thing that you can curate your feed, so it almost reads like a magazine. For those women who find the idea of birth really terrifying and don’t want to hear negative stories, there’s a way to continue to engage but not become overwhelmed, and I really encourage them to do that.

At Make Birth Better, we see ourselves as a platform to tell any story without judgement or criticism. The aim is for women to share their stories without fear of repercussions. There’s still loads of work to be done, and bringing awareness can be wonderful, but to some women it’s not – it can be very difficult. And telling women that they can speak out if they feel they are struggling with symptoms they may be having is not enough. The most important thing we are doing right now is creating a UK database of where where people can go and seek support. It’s often really hard for women to navigate that – you are tired, you’ve got a new baby, you don’t know where to start. There are many areas of the country where women aren't getting the specialist care that they need. And we must change that.

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