The effects of birth trauma

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Time is running out to register for either of the upcoming Labor of Love workshops for birthworkers in Australia – coming in October -register here:

October 24-25th 2015 – Geelong, Australia – Labor of Love lifeskills for birthworkers

Oct 31st-Nov 1st 2015 – Sydney, Australia – Labor of Love lifeskills for birthworkers

I have a very special article for you this week, written by a mom inspired by her own birth trauma to plant seeds for positive births. If you recognize yourself in Lizzie’s story, know you are not alone.

The effects of birth trauma

by Lizzie Carroll


I have suffered from, and survived, obstetric violence and birth trauma. When I tell people my story I get a variety of responses:   “Lucky you were in hospital so they could save your baby”; “All that matters is a healthy baby”; “It’s all over now, so maybe you just need to move on”; Sometimes, if I meet someone sympathetic I’ll be told “Oh well…Maybe next time will be better”.  The underlying message is that it’s just one day. That it doesn’t matter. And that, because it is “in the past” it has no impact on how I grow as a mother. That it is irrelevant.


But how I was treated and the events that occurred during my pregnancy and the birth of my children have had huge impacts on my present life and how I mother my children.


The first effect that I noticed was the crying. Every afternoon my partner would come home and I would practically throw the baby at him and escape to the shower where I could cry through flashbacks unnoticed and uninterrupted. I cried myself to sleep every night for the first 4 months of my daughter’s life as my labour and birth experiences continued to play back before my eyes.


Being with my baby triggered flashbacks for me and as such I found that I wanted to return to work as soon as I could simply so I wouldn’t have the constant trigger. But I found that the times when I was breastfeeding my baby were the only times I felt connected to her, like she was truly mine. I became determined to breastfeed at almost any cost. Trying to balance work and breastfeeding and avoiding the trigger of my baby was stressful – to say the least.


Birth trauma impacted on the choices I made and fears I held for my second birth. And the birth trauma I experienced with that birth has had an extremely huge impact on how I parent, how I live and how I will birth in future. My fear of hospitals and hospital based care providers has been cemented. I will probably never feel safe in hospital. To me, hospital has become a place where you are bullied and coerced and manipulated into toeing the line, rather than a place where you are cared for.


Birth trauma has impacted on how I feel about doctors in general and taking my children to the doctor specifically. It has impacted on how I feel about medical procedures and colours my choices as to whether I get recommended procedures done. I find that I no longer go to the doctor unless I have a VERY specific plan of what I want out of it and feel confident that I won’t be talked into other possibilities. I have declined some tests and procedures simply because the thought of undergoing them leaves me shaking and terrified.


My birth trauma gave me my mission in life. To help women discover their own birthing power. To help them find their voices. Without my trauma I would not have discovered my passion for feminism and supporting women. I would not have become a strong advocate for bodily autonomy…heck, I probably wouldn’t have even heard the term “bodily autonomy”!


The birth trauma I experienced has led me down the path of training to be a doula, training to be a Hypnobirthing Australia practitioner, becoming a birth activist and writer.


Some days I feel that my experiences have left me a weaker version of the mother I could have been and some days I realise that they have made me stronger than I ever thought I could be. I didn’t just suffer from birth trauma, I am not just a victim of obstetric violence – I am a survivor. I am a mother.


Lizzie Carroll is a passionate doula, Hypnobirthing Australia certified practitioner, writer, birth nerd and mum. She has grown from her birth trauma to start up Sprout Doula and Hypnobirthing Services and hopes to help you plant the seed for your positive birth.  You can read more of Lizzie’s work at: where she writes as “Lizzi”. You can also check out her website: or find her on facebook at Sprout Doula and Hypnobirthing Services.

Think about your birth – if you have given birth more than once pick one. If thinking about when you were born affects you on an emotional level, use that as your focus.

Don’t delve into it deeply, just think for a very short moment about whether you would change anything about that birth if you could ‘go back’ and do it again. If you have any anger or frustration surrounding that birth, if you decided on a plan that didn’t go as planned, if you felt betrayed by your experience in any way, remember to speak to, empathize, and support yourself as you would a friend.  Then join me on the monthly call to work through and release those feelings and move forward with a new peace.

The way a woman feels about her birth(s), even many years later, is incredibly powerful and can affect so much of her life on a level she may not even recognize

If you feel like you have some frustration, anger, or sadness surrounding your birth(s), you might find that some simple energy balancing exercises like those in the Tips and Tools for Postpartum Peace (the next day or a half-century later) booklet help. Next time you tell your birth story, tell it from a place of balance and clarity — (click here to get it if you haven’t already done this!) and join me at a workshop or webinar.

If you have a story about how your birth plan, birth, or postpartum changed your life I would love to hear from you — send it to me along with your wish to keep it either private, anonymous, or shared to inspire.

PS:If you weren’t able to attend last month’s QnA call for previous workshop attendees be sure to register ahead of time for the next call. Reply to this email or write to to get that taken care of right now!


If you work with others and want to bring clarity and your best self to that relationship check out the schedule below to join me at a workshop or webinar to get clear on your reasons for doing what you do, and healing those parts of you that keep you from really being present with the woman in front of you.

You can work along with my Tips and Tools for Postpartum Peace booklet to approach each old place of fear from a new place of clarity — (click here to get it if you haven’t already done this!)

Birthing Peace trivia:

Did you know over 30% of women report their birth is traumatic?

Click here to read the abstract from this study done in Atlanta Georgia.

Upcoming Events

Mothering the Mother calls –  3rd Tuesday of every month

Coming To Peace With A Less Than Peaceful Birth 

Our focus is on any frustration surrounding any decisions we made from a place of fear – for ourselves or our baby. 

Carrying around the pain, anger, and shame from that experience can feel like a heavy weight. People after don’t even realize how heavy it is.

What would life be like if you could let go of that weight?  What if it were possible to release the past without reliving it? 
That is exactly what I am offering in these calls. Join us for a call or register ahead of time and send in your topics to have them addressed on the recording which is for attendees only. Every month we will visit a different aspect of your birth(s) as you come find yourself coming to peace with either different births or different aspects of one less-than-peaceful experience.

You do not have to attend any other workshop to participate in this call. 

Register here – replay is available to registered participants who cannot attend in person.

Upcoming events: 

Ongoing parent workshops at Bellies and Babies in Charlotte NC 

September 24th 2015, Las Vegas, Nevada – Pre-Con, Trust Birth Conference

Payment plans available for Australia registrations 

register 3-at-a-time for best pricing!

October 24-25th 2015 – Geelong, Australia – Labor of Love lifeskills for birthworkers

Oct 31st-Nov 1st 2015 – Sydney, Australia – Labor of Love lifeskills for birthworkers


If you are interested in attending or hosting a workshop in your area contact