1. One night at a Birthtalk meeting

  2. How to use this book

  3. Why women come to Birthtalk meetings

  4. A note to partners, health workers and grandparents (and others who want to help but don’t know how) .

  5. Melissa’s own story of birth trauma and healing

  6. A guide for birth workers and other health professionals

The foundations of your healing journey

  1. What makes a birth good or bad?

  2. Why does it matter? And isn’t a live birth a good birth?

  3. What is a good birth?

  4. What is a traumatic or bad birth anyway?

  5. Birthtalk Breakdown – a new tool

  6. Benefits of a Birthtalk Breakdown

Healing – the big questions

  1. How do I heal?

  2. Do I need to have another baby to heal the previous birth?

  3. My birth was quite a while ago – is it too late to heal?

  4. What if I’ve finished my family? Can I still heal?

  5. Why take the healing journey?

Do I need a diagnosis?

  1. Can you get Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder after childbirth?

  2. Common ‘hidden factors’ that can make a birth traumatic

  3. Have I got Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder or Postnatal Depression?

Sharing your story – finally being heard



Poem: To my son

How to use this part of the book

I feel isolated or alone

  1. Why doesn’t anyone get it?

  2. Why don’t my friends feel bad about their births?

  3. When health professionals don’t get it

  4. How do I share my story so people get it?

  5. I’m stuck in panic attacks or flashbacks

I feel angry

  1. Dealing with anger

  2. I’m so angry with my health carers

  3. Anger at what happened – or what didn’t happen but should have

  4. I feel anger towards my child for ‘causing’ all this

  5. I’m thinking about making a complaint or taking legal action

I feel guilty

  1. Everyone keeps telling me I should be grateful

  2. Why did I agree to that epidural/episiotomy/caesarean etc.?

  3. I kept trying to befriend all the staff. Why did I do that?

  4. I don’t feel bonded to my child

I feel like a failure

  1. Dealing with feelings of failure

  2. Why wouldn’t my body work in labour?

  3. I read all the right books and did all the right classes – what happened?

I feel sad

  1. Dealing with sadness

  2. I was separated from my baby

  3. How do I deal with my child’s birthday?

Breastfeeding was just so challenging

Issues with your partner

  1. Dealing with unresolved feelings about your partner

  2. Why didn’t my partner rescue me?

  3. My partner thinks I’m ‘tainting’ the birth by talking about it negatively

  4. My partner wants me to ‘just get over it’ and move on

  5. My partner is traumatised as well, but I haven’t got space for that

  6. I’m angry that my partner isn’t as affected by the birth as I am.

  7. My partner is traumatised. How can I help?

Special circumstances

  1. My baby was very unwell

  2. I suffered the loss of my baby

  3. My baby was premature

  4. I had ongoing physical symptoms after the birth I had a caesarean under general anaesthetic

  5. I had a homebirth transfer . .


Poem: Happy Birthday

How to use this part of the book

Supporting your relationship with your child.

  1. Reconnecting with your child

  2. Saying the words you couldn’t say at the birth: a reconnection tool

  3. How do I tell my child about the day they were born?

  4. Shifting from anger exercise.

Know your story

  1. Retrieving your birth records: how to get them and what to do with them

  2. Writing your birth story – a healing step

  3. The healing power of rewriting the birth story


  1. What’s really going on for me?

  2. Using art as a healing tool

  3. The unsent letter

Reconnecting with your body

  1. Ways to reconnect

  2. Making peace with your caesarean scar

  3. Redefining strength

Dealing with your family’s birth legacy
Writing a letter of complaint


Birthing again

  1. How to have a better birth next time

  2. The pitfalls of going with the flow in birth

A final note

  1. A final note to women

  2. A final note to partners, health workers, grandparents and others who want to help


  1. Appendix A: Resources & links

  2. Appendix B


©Birthtalk.org 2016

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© 2020 The Positive Pregnancy Journey Org. Founded in 2016