Therapist for Processing Birth Trauma

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  • Birth trauma therapist in San Francisco

    (5 replies)

    I am posting this message to help a dear friend of mine. My friend is currently pregnant with her second child and is suffering from intense anxiety about going through the birthing process again. Her first birth was incredibly traumatic and she has still unresolved feelings from that experience. I would like to help her find a therapist specially based in San Francisco that specializes in birth trauma for mums.

    Does anyone have any recommendations for such a therapist in San Francisco?

    Thank you for you help!

    My heart goes out to your friend. I worked through some birth trauma with a fantastic somatic therapist based in Berkeley, Natashia Fuksman. I recently had my second child, and it was an incredibly healing experience. If Berkeley is not an option for your friend, perhaps Natashia would be able to refer her to someone in SF. I would also be happy to ask her if your friend does not feel comfortable reaching out.

    EMDR therapy with Wendy Sue Horn. I went to her for this exact issue and was "cured" really quickly. Wendy Sue is wonderful and totally gets it, and EMDR as a modality is very well suited for this sort of thing.  Wendy Sue can explain how it works and also do plenty of talk therapy to help.

    Rachel Yellin, based in SF, specializes in birth and pregnancy and her modality is depth hypnosis therapy. I don't have experience with her as a therapist but I did take her hypnobirthing childbirth education class. She talked a lot about helping women recover from earlier birth trauma through depth hypnosis sessions. 

    I think that anxiety from birth trauma is a perfectly legitimate reason to do a planned C section. Nine months of anxiety definitely is not good for her and is probably not good for the baby either. Something like 30% of US births are by C section. It's a common and safe procedure, and I don't think that PTSD is any less valid a reason for it than physical reasons. Even if she doesn't follow through with it, it may relieve your friend's anxiety to seriously consider it as an option.

    I highly recommend Yeshi Neumann, a CNM in San Francisco who offers counseling and group sessions for women to heal from traumatic or difficult birth experiences. I had a traumatic birth with my first child and attended a 3-hour group session with Yeshi that was incredibly helpful, insightful, and transformative. I believe it helped me prepare for my second birth, a successful VBAC. I highly recommend contacting Yeshi. http://www.mindfulfamilycircles.com/healing-counsel.html

Parent Reviews

I had a medically (and emotionally) traumatic first pregnancy and cannot recommend enough seeing a therapist to help shift your mindset from "constant panic!! Everything is going wrong!!" to "I am in distress, but not danger". I have been seeing Dr. Donna Rothert (https://donnarothert.com/) since my first pregnancy 3.5 years ago and she has been SO helpful in addressing all fears related to traumatic pregnancies. She helped me after the birth of my first child and through the birth of my second child this past summer. I hope you have a smoother go with L&D this time around! 

Congratulations on second pregnancy. I was in similar state (lots of anxiety) and used Rachel Yellin and a birth doula. I can’t recommend Meleah enough as a birth doula. She made my experience soo much better leading up to and on the day and has been a wonderful resource postpartum as well. I just kept repeating during my labor “this is so much better than the last time”. Im so glad I spent the money. I didnt have a birth doula for my first birth. You can reach her at meleah [at] innerstrengthbirth.com
 

Hello, 

Sorry to hear you had such a challenging labor & delivery. I can relate!

Two answers to your question:

  • I was incredibly impressed with Gena McCarthy (genamccarthy3 [at] gmail.com) who specializes specifically in birth trauma. I worked with her for 1-2 months, and she was really helpful in enabling me to work through some of my birth trauma. I imagine it'll be over zoom, but that was effective for me.
  • I also really liked the book Mindful Birthing by Nancy Bardake when it come to prepping for birth. It's mostly about how you can use meditation and a mindfulness practice in labor. They also do a birth class you can consider, which I didn't do but have heard good things about.

Best of luck!

Dear Mama, Having been in your shoes, I can 100% recommend that you check out a type of therapy called EMDR. It helps people to address and process both trauma and Trauma. I've been working with Dr. Christina Narensky for nearly 2 years now (on issues beyond the partial placental abruption I experienced with my first birth) and would recommend her to anyone. She sees patients in person, in Alameda, or does tele-health as well. Reach her at dr [dot] christinanarensky [at] gmail [dot] com. Wishing you success and also a smooth 2nd birth!

I would highly recommend my therapist, Molly Nourmand. She specializes in postpartum transitions, including birth trauma, and I’ve found her to be an invaluable support during the prenatal and postpartum periods.

https://www.mollynourmand.com

I had a very similar experience with my first birth. Even going into the building where my first was born (and where I ended up having my 2nd) would make my heart race, so I knew needed some help when I got pregnant with my 2nd. I worked with Rachel Yellin both with her audio recorded pre/during/post-birth guided meditations, and I did a 5 session depth practice with her (https://rachelyellin.com/coaching-and-depth-hypnosis-therapy/depth-hypno...) and it was immensely helpful. 

I also did Kari Marble's prenatal yoga and honestly, that helped a lot as well. She has zoom offerings (https://www.welcomeom.com/prenatal-yoga.html). 

Hope that helps even a little bit. 

Hi, so sorry to hear of your challenging first birth and the anxiety you’re experiencing as your second approaches. I had a semi-traumatic birth experience a few years ago and worked with therapist/psychologist Maria St. John to process and heal from it, and she was amazingly supportive and very experienced in pregnancy/postpartum/mothering-related challenges. She’s based in Oakland and doing mainly Telehealth now. Here’s her website: mariaseymourstjohn.com

Feel free to message me if you have any questions. Good luck!