Processing Adverse Outcomes
Dealing with any birth that has resulted in injury or loss can feel consuming. It is important to give yourself time to grieve, space to question, and to reach out for support when you are ready. We hope the resources provided here will help you connect with supportive tools and people, and further help you process your experience in a healthy way so healing can take place over time.
Often the first phase families endure with a loss or injury during birth is shock. For some this can last weeks or even months. Eventually, most families reach a point of wondering what, how, and why this happened. This can feel like a time when few around you understand what you're going through, let alone know how to help. When you reach this point, the first thing you should know is that your questions are valid. There are four steps that you may find helpful at this point:
1. Take time to write down every detail of your experience. As painful as it might be, it's important to record your recollection in detail because your memory of what happened will change over time. If a spouse or partner attended the birth, ask him or her to write their own recollection separately, and share them together after they have been written.
2. Request a copy of all applicable records. This may include hospital records, records from your midwife, emergency personnel records, Doula records, Chiropractor records, and even records from a birth photographer if one was present.
3. Make a list of any questions you have.
4. Find supportive professionals with whom you can share your experience and ask your questions. This could be Midwives, Obstetricians, a Family Physician, a Counselor, a family member, a friend, etc. Sometimes conversations need to take place with a variety of individuals before your questions can be answered.
If, after writing your recollection and talking to several professionals to answer your questions, you feel that your care was questionable, you may want to take further action. You can visit "Questionable Care...What Should I Do?" , and "Reporting Negligence" to learn more about your options.