by Ibone Olza, MD, PhD
I met Cheryl Beck in 2010 in Pittsburgh, at the Marcé International Conference. I had been reading her groundbreaking and brave research on birth trauma for years. One of her publications begins with this potent sentence:
“My child was conceived in love and born by rape.”
The Anniversary of Birth Trauma: Failure to Rescue. Beck, Cheryl Tatano. 2006. Nursing Research. 55(6):381-390,
Cheryl is an obstetric nurse (the midwife equivalent in the USA) and one of her first studies, back in the eighties, was a beautiful paper about parturients’ temporal experiences during the phases of labor[i]. She has dedicated her life to research on birth trauma. The quality of her work doing (precisely) qualitative research – that is, centered on mothers´ experiences – has won her numerous awards, next of which will be the Marcé International Society Medal for her contribution to Perinatal Mental Health research which she is due to receive in October 2020.
I say her papers are brave because I feel it is so, and I am not exaggerating. Cheryl has been a pioneer in making the consequences of birth trauma visible to the healthcare community. There are consequences for mothers, for breastfeeding, for partner relationships, for fertility, for facing the next birth (many choose a home birth to avoid a repetition of the traumatic circumstances). There are also consequences for birth attendants, who may feel guilty of being accomplices to mistreatment and obstetric violence, a fear of recognizing and naming it.
There is also a beautiful side, the post-traumatic growth: “I Was Broken, Now I Am Unbreakable” is the title of another of her studies.
I always cite her as an example to follow in research.
Despite her potent and overwhelming research, in person Cheryl is a delicate, respectful communicator, explaining her work without harming or offending anyone, always speaking with empathy and care as the center of her discourse. For me, she is a true master. She once told me something beautiful which I have kept in my heart as a treasure: “you have the soul of a nurse.”
I am overjoyed that she will be joining us in Madrid next March, to offer this wonderful course at our institute:
Onsite and online
Specialized training course in:
Birth and Trauma. Research, clinical aspects and treatment.
Understanding, treating and preventing birth trauma in
Women and healthcare professionals.
Cheryl Beck and Ibone Olza
March 26-27, 2020
English with consecutive translation into Spanish.
More and more, we are gaining fundamental knowledge about perinatal psychological aspects, and the great impact of perinatality on the mother-infant bond, the development of the child and long-term physical, psychological and emotional health.
Research in the field of perinatal psychiatric disorders is showing us that there is a phenomenon that impacts on a significant amount of mothers, and that may confound or activate other psychiatric difficulties: post-traumatic stress disorder of obstetrical origin.
Post-traumatic stress disorder was first described in war veterans. Nowadays it is known that events during childbirth, specially feelings of defenselessness, fear of death (own death or infant´s) horror, as well as the crudeness of some medical interventions, may create a full post-traumatic stress disorder in mothers, their partners, and even in the healthcare providers that attend the birth. If it goes unidentified and untreated, it may generate long term negative effects on physical and mental health.
Cheryl Beck is an international renowned researcher in the field of birth and trauma, author of numerous scientific articles and books, like Traumatic Childbirth. In 2020 she is due to receive the Marcé International Society Medal for her contribution to Perinatal Mental Health research.
DAY 1. TRAUMA IN BIRTHING WOMEN AND ITS CONSECUENCES
Methodological aspects of qualitative research in birth. Cheryl Beck
– Concept, history and methodology of research Cheryl Beck
– Metaphoric analysis of PTSD after birth. Cheryl Beck
– Analyzing how mothers are treated at birthing facilities. Cheryl Beck
– Obstetric violence and birth trauma. Ibone Olza
Consequences of traumatic birth. Cheryl Beck
– Impact on breastfeeding and mother-infant relationship. Cheryl Beck
– The birth after traumatic birth. Cheryl Beck
– Anniversary of traumatic birth. Cheryl Beck
Integrative and psychotherapeutic treatment of birth trauma sequels in mothers, infants and families. Ibone Olza
Day 2: BIRTH AND TRAUMA IN HEALTHCARE PROFESSIONALS
Traumatic birth and middle range theory: the domino effect. Cheryl Beck
Secondary traumatic stress in healthcare professionals attending births and neonatal intensive care units. Cheryl Beck
Growth of vicarious post-traumatic stress in perinatal healthcare providers. Cheryl Beck
Prevention and management of post-traumatic stress impact in perinatal healthcare providers. Ibone Olza
Midwives, obstetricians, nurses, psychologists, psychiatrists, physiotherapists, IBCLCs and any healthcare provider who is supporting mothers in the perinatal stage.
[i] Beck, C. T. (1983). Parturients’ temporal experiences during the phases of labor. Western Journal of Nursing Research, 5, 283-295.