Healing the past by nurturing the future - Play Nourish Thrive

Healing the past by nurturing the future

TW: Childhood trauma

This is a challenging topic.

Usually left for hushed conversations between new parents and their most trusted loved ones.

Worldwide, between 25-50% of children experience maltreatment/trauma.(1) Trauma can have a profound impact on physical, social, and emotional well-being, long into adulthood.(2,3)

For parents, unresolved trauma can lead to conflicting feelings and disrupted parent-child bonding.(4) This trauma might be triggered by a range of experiences in pregnancy, birth and the demands of early parenting (5), including:

🔗 Breastfeeding
🔗 Birth trauma
🔗 Fussing/crying baby
🔗 Medical procedures/examinations
🔗 Sleep deprivation
🔗 Societal expectations

For many reading this, it might seem incomprehensible that a new parent may be triggered by the birth and care of a much wanted, much loved new baby.

However, this post is for those whose negative feelings around parenthood may have been exacerbated by past trauma.

You are not alone, nor is history doomed to repeat itself.

It is completely reasonable that you may feel triggered by the intimacy & vulnerability, the complete giving up of oneself for the well-being of another, and the expectations of doing this with a joyful smile always plastered on your face.(5)

Pregnancy, birth, and early parenting can however be an opportunity for healing. One longitudinal study found that those who had experienced high rates of childhood maltreatment found parenthood a ‘turning’ point.(6) Further, most parents who had experienced past trauma exhibit resilience, as well as providing safe and loving care for their children.(7) Protective factors(8) include:

🌿 Emotional investment & motivation for a positive bond with the baby 
🌿 Emotional support from loved ones
🌿 A focus on perinatal wellness

If this post brings up anything for you, please contact Lifeline Australia on 13 11 14. Or alternatively, contact Gidget Foundation Australia on 1300 851 758 or PANDA’s National Perinatal Mental Health Helpline on 1300 726 306. Your health and well-being matters!❤

Quote from Dr Chamberlain about healingWhere to get support


(1)    World Health Organisation. 2016. who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs150/en/.
(2)    McCrory et al; 2010. J Child Psychol Psychiatry
(3)    De Bellis et al. 2010. Child Adolesc Psychiatr Clin N Am.
(4)    Amos et al. 2011. J Trauma Dissociation
(5)    Chamberlain et al. 2019 PLOS One
(6)    Dierkhising et al. 2013. Eur J Psychotraumatol
(7)    Bartlett et al. 2015. Child Abuse Negl
(8)    Sexton et al. 2015. J Affect Disord

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