1st Edition

Healing from Reproductive Trauma A Workbook for Survivors of Traumatic Infertility Journeys, Pregnancies, and Births

By Bethany Warren Copyright 2024
    218 Pages 35 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    218 Pages 35 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    If you have experienced trauma during your reproductive journey, from conception through your postpartum recovery, you are not alone. Pregnancy and new parenthood can be fraught with numerous potential distressing situations, such as infertility, pregnancy and postpartum complications, pregnancy losses, and childbirth.

    It’s no wonder that 1 out of 3 parents report their birth experiences were traumatic, and upwards of 40% of new parents can experience PTSD during the perinatal period. Perhaps it was what happened to you that was distressing, and maybe it was how you were treated that created or added to the distress. This can be a difficult time to navigate, particularly if you feel scared, overwhelmed by your symptoms, and isolated and alone. And yet, there is hope for healing! This workbook was written to help you build resilience and navigate difficult feelings. Drawing from empirically validated research and clinical experience, this book will help you educate yourself to further understand what you have experienced, and learn how to manage your trauma reactions. Written with sleep-deprived and traumatized parents and parents-to-be in mind, this book is divided into easy-to-read sections to help you manage your emotions and find validation and reassurance. Chapters begin by helping you identify what reproductive trauma is, what is happening "below the surface" with the brain and body’s reactive responses, and the various emotional aspects of these events. The second section focuses on building tangible skills to manage the impact of trauma, including trauma reactions and the influence on relationships and attachment with the baby. The third section provides a map of the future, instils hope around healing, highlights professional treatment options, and explores the complicated decision about future pregnancies.

    Whether you are preparing for trauma therapy, already working with a mental health therapist, or just starting to explore aspects of your experience, this workbook can provide support wherever you are on your healing journey. Filled with activities and gentle writing prompts, this comprehensive resource is essential for expecting or new parents who have experienced traumatic distress during this time, as well as mental health clinicians and birth providers.

    Part I: Reproductive Trauma, PTSD, Grief, and Complex Emotions: Why Are You Feeling This Way?  1. Introduction  2. What is Reproductive Trauma? Why You Might Be Feeling The Way You Do  3. Reproductive Trauma vs Posttraumatic Stress Disorder: Your Experience and Distress Matters No Matter the Label  4. Trauma, Grief, and Mood Changes: Sorting Through Your Conflicting Emotions and Feelings  Part II: From Surviving To Thriving: How Can You Start Feeling Better?  5. Rescue When You're Drowning: Essential Coping Skills Following a Traumatic Reproductive Event  6. From Surviving to Thriving: Learning Ways to Calm Yourself and Reconnect With Your Body  7. When Your Brain Feels Stuck: Gentle Skills to Help Your Mind Through Trauma Time  8. Support and Telling Your Story: How to Build and Engage the Village You Need  9. The Impact of Reproductive Trauma on Partners and Relationships: How Are You And Your Partner Doing?  10. You Are Your Baby's Best Parent (Even if You're Struggling)  Part III: The Future, Complicated Decisions, and Making Plans Again: A Path Toward Healing  11. Looking Towards the Future: Finding Your Way Through Complex Decisions and Subsequent Pregnancies  12. A Path Towards Healing: Hope, Resiliency, and Growth  13. Resources and Support


    Bethany Warren, LCSW, PMH-C, is an experienced psychotherapist certified in perinatal mental health and EMDR therapy. She has worked with reproductive trauma for over 20 years and is the co-author of The Pregnancy and Postpartum Mood Workbook: The Guide to Surviving Your Emotions When Having a Baby (Routledge, 2022). Find her at bethanywarrenlcsw.com and on IG @bethanywarrenlcsw.

    "What a valuable gift this workbook is for survivors of reproductive trauma. Each chapter provides a step-by-step roadmap to help promote healing no matter if the trauma occurred trying to conceive, during pregnancy or birth, or during the postpartum period. Survivors are gently guided by Beth Warren’s years of experience as a perinatal mental health specialist and taught insightful coping skills to manage not only their mood symptoms but also the impact on their relationships with the goal of creating a map for their healing."

    Cheryl Tatano Beck, DNSc, CNM, FAAN, Distinguished Professor of Nursing, University of Connecticut, USA

    "This is a book that is much needed, rich in warmth, compassion and resources for those affected by reproductive trauma. Many areas of the reproductive journey that are rarely discussed are sensitively explored with a wealth of information provided and that will support many families often left alone to struggle with trauma in silence. Bethany skillfully combines the latest science but writes in an accessible way and provides many practical tips and gentle spaces for reflection along the way. I will be glad to refer families to this wonderful book."

    Dr. Rebecca Moore, consultant psychiatrist; co-founder of Make Birth Better

    "With her empathetic and gentle approach to healing, Bethany Warren combines solid clinical expertise, useable skills, and a path to healing. Those who have experienced reproductive trauma can be assured that they will feel understood, supported, and encouraged to go at their own pace throughout this workbook. The idea of healing from trauma can feel overwhelming, but with this workbook healing becomes possible."

    Katayune Kaeni, Psy.D., PMH-C, psychologist; author; Mom and Mind podcast host; Board Chair of Postpartum Support International

    "Those who have suffered a reproductive trauma often feel alone, lost and stuck. With this book Bethany Warren, with over 20 years of experience in this field, has given us a road map and a supportive companion to help navigate and explore responses to trauma in a careful and compassionate way. By educating and giving easy and practical tools to manage complicated emotions and cope with the myriad of symptoms of trauma, readers will be able to find their way, heal, and start to move forward. I cannot wait to recommend this book to my patients."

    Alison Reminick, MD, reproductive psychiatrist; Director of Women's Reproductive Mental Health, University of California, San Diego