Counselling for trauma or loss during pregnancy or birth includes miscarriages, terminations, still births and neo natal deaths. In my work as a counsellor for the Petals Charity I address: loss, grief, anxiety and trauma working with individuals and couples. Any event where we have felt totally helpless, powerless and paralysed to act can leave us traumatised. I help clients to digest what has happened to them and explain the impact of trauma on the mind, body and brain. Clients learn that a lot of their physical symptoms are due to the body’s autonomic nervous system rather than something we consciously choose to do. I help clients to self-regulate – meaning being able to do this for yourself – to keep one’s thinking brain online and one’s ‘calming system’ (parasympathetic nervous system) activated. Regaining a sense of control is an important aspect of this work.
Petals was set up as a charity in 2011 by a group of healthcare professionals working in maternity care, alongside women who had experienced first-hand the loss of a baby, or trauma during birth.
Petals (Pregnancy Expectations Trauma and Loss Society) provides a specialised counselling service at Addenbrookes Hospital in Cambridge, Queen Charlottes and St Mary’s Hospitals in London, the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford, and Ipswich Hospital.
The purpose of Petals is to: Raise awareness, through marketing, research and training, of the need for psychological care for parents who suffer emotional distress in pregnancy and birth. Fund a specialist counselling service for parents affected by any of the following:
• Still birth
• Neonatal death
• Trauma/depression following delivery
• Diagnosis of fetal anomalies
• Antenatal anxiety/depression
• IVF anxiety
• Fear of pregnancy/birth