Presentation Information

Erin Bowe

Helping Birth Partners Struggling With Trauma

  • Speaker: Erin Bowe , PhD (Clin Psych)
  • Presentation Type:
  • Duration: 60 Mins
  • Credits: 1 CERP, 1 Nursing CEU, 1 CME, 0.1 Midwifery CEU

"Birth trauma impacts at least 1 in 3 birthing people, but who is often left out of the picture? The partners. Vicarious trauma in birthing partners is very real, and yet there is little to no acknowledgment let alone resources to help.

Witnessing birth trauma in one’s partner has the potential to: (1) create severe cognitive dissonance (“I know what happened to my partner was wrong, yet I did nothing to stop it”), (2) contribute to unresolved feelings of shame, guilt, helplessness and rage, and/or difficulties with bonding (3) contribute to heightened nervous system activity (e.g., oscillating between ‘fight’ mode and ‘freeze’ mode), and (4) contribute to unhelpful, negative birth storytelling culture which minimizes the role of partners.

On the contrary, partners who are well supported (emotionally, cognitively and socially) have phenomenal potential for growth. In this presentation, we will explore what it means to work with partners through the lens of posttraumatic growth. How to validate and educate about trauma in a way that allows partners to step into self-compassion. We will explore how to inspire partners to see their own potential for growth, leadership and even advocacy.