Los Gatos Counseling Services
Magda Wroblewska, MA MS Licensed Marriage Family Therapist
griefquote
Resources
Trauma Recovery

    Women and Trauma. Trauma, if not addressed, worsens in time and manifests itself in various ways at different stages of life often resulting in chronic Post Traumatic Stress Disorders symptoms.

    Women in their 20's may cope with it by acting out through self-harming behaviors. Additionally, they may lack a clear sense of self and feel as if they have no control of their lives.

    Women in their 30's who have been abused may have more insight into their their problems and have a greater sense of responsibility but also be tormented by guilt. This is also the decade in woman's life when she is most likely caught up in child-rearing or dealing with the consequences of her earlier behavior such as a series of abusive relationships or unwanted pregnancies resulting in children or abortions.

    Women in their 40's sometimes dealing with divorce and its aftermath, sometimes maintaining a professional career, other times focusing on keeping a picture perfect family life, begin to realize the price of denying their pain and, often for the sake of their children, decide to confront the past.

    The recovery from trauma cannot happen in a vacuum. It needs a context of a relationship or community.

Stages of trauma recovery work in the group or individual setting:

  1. Creating safe environment: building a trusting relationship with the therapist and/or group.
  2. Setting the stage: who were you before the traumatic event, what was happening in your life, what were your plans, goals, fears, hopes.
  3. Telling the story: narrative of the traumatic event, healing power of sharing the experience, having a witness, creating a survivor's mindset: “I survived and I am here to tell my story."
  4. Processing the feelings: re-experiencing the event in a safe and supportive environment, becoming one's own witness, deconstructing the meaning of the event.
  5. Integrating the trauma: reframing, finding a new meaning, creating a new identity, accepting, moving on.

Grief & Loss

General attitudes towards grief in our culture:

  • Intolerance for suffering.
  • Belief that it is not healthy to dwell on one's sorrow, fear of looking back at one's losses, fear of being stuck.
  • Admiration for people that forget losses and move on as quickly as possible.

Consequences of unprocessed grief:

In reality it is the other way around. Never looking back keeps us unconsciously stuck. Facing the loss and allowing the feelings makes it possible to genuinely move on. When the loss is not acknowledged, feelings and thoughts tend to be repressed rather than consciously processed, the experience becomes disowned and people get stuck– resulting in depression and anxiety.

Reproductive Crisis Counseling: help for women and their partners
  • Pregnancy and Infant Loss
  • Difficult/Traumatic Birthing Experience
  • Miscarriage
  • Abortion
  • Infertility

If you have experienced a reproductive crisis recently you may be feeling a wide range of emotions:

  • emotional numbness or extreme emotionality, when the sight of a mother with a baby brings tears to your eyes
  • sadness or some degree of depression
  • fear, anxiety, and sense of vulnerability,
  • misdirected anger at family, doctors or even your own body,
  • feelings of guilt and shame,

...and it doesn't help that everybody around you seem to have forgotten about what happened or seem to think that you should be fine because after all “you are young and you can get pregnant again.”

After a while you stop sharing your feelings, or start thinking that something must be wrong with you if you still can't get over it.

You don't have to perpetuate the “conspiracy of silence.”

  1. Acknowledge your feelings.
  2. Seek support.
  3. Allow yourself to grieve.

Advice for family and friends of those who experienced a reproductive crisis:

  1. Don't rush them.
  2. Don't withdraw.
  3. Don't perpetuate the silence.

Instead:

  1. Give them time: feelings come and go there is no right way to go through it.
  2. Stay emotionally available: be there for them. If you can't, admit it. Don't rationalize.
  3. Be open to talk about the loss: saying “the wrong thing” is better then saying nothing. Don't take their anger personally.
  4. Listen!
Other resources

Perinatal Mood Disorder Scale

Share: Pregnancy &Infant Loss Support

Facts about Miscarriage

HAND: helping after neonatal death

Quick Links

Magda Wroblewska © 2007.