- Brian felt
responsible, that he had somehow let his wife down after
she suffered a very traumatic birth. Brian felt terribly
guilty that he had not done more and found it difficult
to forgive himself for not being able to prevent her
- Nick’s fiancée
developed pre-eclampsia which progressed to HELLP Syndrome
when being induced. Eighteen months later they are still
coming to terms with both post natal depression and birth
- Gary felt
extremely traumatised by what he saw in the delivery
room and says he sometimes feels detached from his daughter.
Help for partners and family
Below, we have set out some basic advice for partners.
However, we realise that not all women have partners
to turn to so although we use the word 'partners', this
advice is also intended to apply to anyone (friend or
family) who is looking for ways to help a birth traumatised
woman or, indeed, for help for their own feelings after
witnessing a traumatic birth.
Volunteer Father/Partner Supporters
Below are details of fathers/partners who are prepared
to listen and offer support. They are not trained counsellors
but they do have a willingness to show you that you are
not alone. They have also suffered personal experiences
which enable them to sympathise and understand your situation.
They offer their time voluntarily and not in any professional
capacity. Please email us
if you would like to become a volunteer supporter yourself.
- Nick’s fiancée developed
pre-eclampsia which progressed to HELLP Syndrome when
being induced. Eighteen months later they are still
coming to terms with both post natal depression and
birth related PTSD. Nick is open to any form of contact
- Brian's wife experienced a traumatic
birth with Brian present for the entire process, he
is feeling the effects of the trauma and wishes to
speak to other fathers who are feeling the same way.
Contact Brian at firstname.lastname@example.org
How can I help my partner who has been going through
a terrible time after the birth of our child?
Living with a woman who has suffered a traumatic birth
experience can be very upsetting, difficult and frustrating.
It is very likely that the partner was the only person
present at the birth that she knew and trusted. The partner
is likely to be only other person who has shared the whole
experience with her and is in a unique position to be able
to offer support. Be prepared to seek help from wherever
you can - for the mother, yourself and your family’s
There are many things that you can do to help:
- Encourage the mother to seek help from a GP, health
visitor or friends (see other parts of this website for
sources of support) and talk to someone in depth.
- Encourage her to look at this website and talk to us.
- Remind her that she is not going mad and will get better.
- Reassure her of your support and that you will not
- Try to find out as much as you can about birth trauma,
and if necessary be prepared to fight for the necessary
professional support for your wife/partner and yourself.
However hard it is, please try not to:
- Tell her to ‘pull yourself together’. She
is already feeling bad about herself and is doing her
- Ignore or dismiss her feelings.
- Walk out on her or distance yourself from her however
difficult or impossible it seems.
All of these will make the situation worse.
I witnessed my child’s birth and my mind
is now full of distressing images that won’t go
away. Could I be traumatised too?
Partners are very likely to have been present at the birth
and witnessed the distress and pain of their wife or partner.
The feeling of helplessness for the one you love can be
extremely upsetting and the experience is likely to have
also been very traumatic for the dad.
Seek professional help from your GP or other health professional
if you feel the birth experience has affected you personally
and continues to affect your daily life.
Much of the guidance on this website for women can also
be related to the partner’s feelings about the birth
experience (eg. fear, lack of control, lack of information,
not being listened to) and it is important to seek help
and support as early as possible for everyone’s sake.