Birth trauma is an increasingly recognised maternal mental health issues. The importance of subjective birth experience in the development of birth trauma has been highlighted and may account for the of theoretical consistency in this area. The current study explored the subjective experience of birth trauma among first time mothers in Ireland. It aimed to disentangle the potential effects of peri-partum depression (PPD) on this experience.
Method: Seven-first-time mothers who reported a traumatic childbirth, without significant symptoms of PPD, participated in an interview about their childbirth. Data were analysed using IPA to explore the experience of birth trauma. Results: The superordinate theme derived illustrated how the individuality of mothers is discounted throughout the process of childbirth. The self is challenged and altered as a result. The degree to which this occurs may mediate the recovery process.
Conclusion: This study supports the existence of birth trauma in an Irish context and highlights the individuality of women as central to this experience. Acknowledgement of the mother throughout the process of childbirth may be protective against birth trauma