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Restore Group Information Booklet

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Restore Supporting women after a negative birthing experience Click here To learn more

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Contact info mums aid org 07758 763908 About UP TO 60 OF WOMEN HAVE A NEGATIVE BIRTH EXPERIENCE SVANBERG 2019 If you are reading this you have likely experienced the time around giving birth as distressing overwhelming or traumatic You are not alone at least 1 4 of women develop PTSD Post Traumatic Stress Disorder after giving birth while at least a third of women experience symptoms of trauma and up to 60 of women have a negative birth experience Svanberg 2019 Initial research shows an increase in those experiencing trauma related symptoms after birth since the Covid 19 pandemic However you may feel alone especially if you have no one to turn to or if you feel unheard by those who would usually support you This can commonly happen if others say things like well at least you have a healthy baby now or tell you to focus on the positives Sometimes others will tell you that this should be a happy time and it may feel like there is no space to talk about how you are really feeling You might feel like the way you are feeling is wrong when actually it is completely how you would be expected to feel 1

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Contact info mums aid org 07758 763908 A normal response to an abnormal situation IN 2014 BIRTH TRAUMA WAS RECOGNISED BY THE NICE GUIDELINES FOR THE FIRST TIME Symptoms of trauma can occur when an experience has been overwhelming and we have felt out of control They can develop quite soon after an event but they may take days weeks months or even longer to develop especially when you may also be feeling overwhelmed and exhausted with adjusting to having a new baby Sometimes trauma symptoms don t really show themselves until we are in a more settled place which can be extra frustrating and upsetting A traumatic response is often defined as a normal response to an abnormal situation It is important to remember that having a traumatic response does not mean that we are not coping we can have a response to a traumatic situation but at the same time we cope with it Symptoms of trauma can leave you feeling a mixture of things maybe angry frightened anxious out of control guilty sad irritable or frustrated Or maybe something different altogether 2

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Common symptoms include Not being able to stop thinking about what happened Images may pop into your mind or you may be replaying events like a video in your head Dreams about the experience Feeling like the memory of what happened is still very close and not moving into the past like normal memories Heightened anxiety or low mood Feeling very upset when you are reminded of the experience Avoiding anything that reminds you of the experience Blaming yourself for things that were not your fault or were outside of your control Experiencing strong negative emotions Feeling particularly on edge Experiencing strong negative beliefs about other people or the world around you for example that the world is an unsafe place or others are trying to cause you harm Trouble experiencing positive feelings 3 Causing harm or thinking of causing harm to yourself or others A traumatic response is often defined as a normal response to an abnormal situation

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What makes a birth traumatic A number of factors can increase the risk of trauma symptoms following a birth including The birth not going to plan which may leave you feeling like you have failed Your baby being unwell and needing specialist care after the birth Not being able to see your baby straight after the birth Previous history of traumatic or difficult births or of baby loss Previous history of miscarriage An emergency happening at the time of the birth Complications in pregnancy Feeling violated by the experience even if this has been due to essential interventions Lack of support before during after the birth including feeling abandoned ignored or coerced and not having your wishes taken into account Feeling out of control and not knowing what is happening Fearing that you or your baby might die Things happening without your consent or when you have felt coerced into giving consent Previous experience of mental health conditions 4 Exposure to traumatic incidents in the past Feeling out of control not getting the right support or the birth not going as planned can all contribute to overwhelm and distress

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Contact info mums aid org 07758 763908 Some effects of birth trauma THE EFFECTS OF BIRTH TRAUMA CAN BE LONG LASTING SOMETIMES WE DO NOT REALISE OR NOTICE HOW IMPACTED WE ARE UNTIL SOME TIME HAS PASSED AFTER AN EVENT Some who experience birth trauma find it difficult to bond and connect with their baby Others may become scared of going back into hospitals and healthcare settings or of being around healthcare professionals which can lead to missing important appointments You may become easily triggered or reminded of what happened It can feel almost as if you are going through everything all over again Sometimes mothers find that the baby themselves can act as a reminder of the traumatic experience which can be particularly distressing It is common for close relationships to become impacted and you may find yourself blaming your partner Maybe the person you would usually turn to has also been impacted and is struggling 5

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Welcome to Restore Restore is a therapeutically informed group that has been set up to support women like yourself through this time It runs for six sessions which take place weekly at the same time and same place each week Each session lasts for 90 minutes At Restore you will get the chance to connect with others who have been through similar experiences in a small group up to 8 people Restore is co facilitated by an experienced trauma specialist psychotherapist group facilitator and a trainee or qualified psychotherapist with a specialist interest in perinatal psychotherapy and mental health 6

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Contact info mums aid org 07758 763908 What will happen at Restore WE WILL NOT BE FOCUSING ON THE TRAUMA OR DISTRESS ITSELF BUT ON THE IMPACT OF THE EVENT AND WAYS TO HELP YOU MANAGE AND FEEL BETTER AT THIS TIME Firstly we will not be talking about the experiences you have had in detail Instead we will focus on the impact of your experiences connecting with others who understand and looking at ways to help you feel better in yourself at this time Restore may act as a route into individual therapy Restore is not a therapy group but fosters a therapeutic climate This means that we value the relationships between group members and believe that what group members bring and contribute is very important as you can be the best source of help and support to each other 7

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Contact info mums aid org 07758 763908 Restore aims to help at this time through a number of ways Restore aims to be informative allow you to connect to others and provide some practical tips and tools to help you at this time The group focus will be on the impact of the experiences and supporting you in managing this and taking back control of how you are feeling We will not be talking about the trauma or revealing information about your experiences in detail as this can be overwhelming and distressing for others in the group as well as for yourself You will not have to take part in any aspect of the group that you do not want to and you will not have to give any information about yourself or your experiences that you do not want to YOU WILL NOT NEED TO TALK ABOUT OR DO ANYTHING YOU DO NOT WANT TO 8

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What will the sessions look like The group will open with a check in about how you are currently feeling and some gentle breathing and grounding exercises to help settle in We will then focus on a particular topic for the day from the list below before ending with a check out to close the session Remember we will be focusing on the impact of the distress you have experienced rather than on the distress itself These topics will rotate so it doesn t matter when you join Restore but we hope that you will complete the full cycle of six sessions with us from whenever you start I can t stop thinking about it and other post traumatic stress reactions When birth becomes a negative experience Managing emotions including high anxiety and low mood Negative thoughts and self blame Meeting my baby Relationships with others 9

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Contact info mums aid org 07758 763908 Referral Information CONTACT INFO MUMS AID ORG 07758 763908 Restore takes place at Cardwell Children s Centre 118 Frances St SE18 5LP Attendees MUST book through MumsAid prior to attending Spaces are limited 7

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Restore Supporting women after a DEVIN BANKS Bachelor of Arts in Visual Communication Information Design negative birthing experience For more information about Restore including referral routes contact info mums aid org