Trauma

PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder)

PTSD from a traumatic miscarriage is resolved with EFT

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Hi Everyone,

In her well written article, Marcia Platt says, "More than 25% of pregnancies end in miscarriage and this unnoticed yet sizable minority of women and their partners may never reach resolution of this loss."

Hugs, Gary


By Marcia Platt, LCSW

Dear Gary,

All too often the emotional sequelae of miscarriage go unacknowledged.  Unlike cultural and religious rituals given to the death of a loved one, miscarriage is kind of a “no man’s land."  Well-meaning family and friends can tend to minimize this loss by saying things like “Oh, don’t worry, you’ll try again … These things happen … It’s probably for the best”.  But it doesn’t begin to address the degree of loss and grief a woman or man may experience during this time.  More than 25% of pregnancies end in miscarriage and this unnoticed yet sizable minority of women and their partners may never reach resolution of this loss.

“Trish”, age 36, was referred to me by a colleague 3 months after she had suffered a miscarriage 3 ½ months into her first pregnancy.  Two days before Christmas Trish had begun having cramps and bleeding during the night and in the morning went to an OB who was covering for her usual doctor.  He did a sonogram and said, with no preamble, “The fetus is dead, I don’t hear anything.  You’ll need a D&C and I can do it later in my office.  It’s no big deal”. 

Trish left the office with her husband, both in shock, and walked around in a daze for several hours trying to absorb this news and returned to the doctor that afternoon.  (Note - a D&C is usually done in hospital with anesthesia.)

She felt that the doctor and his staff wanted to leave early for the holiday and were rushing her.  This painful procedure was done without any preparation or medication.  The entire experience went from bad to worse as the physician mishandled the procedure and everything involved with it.  Trish and her husband both felt and observed things they NEVER should have.  I’ll spare you the details.

Not only did Trish lose the baby, her mistreatment by an “on call” physician compounded what was already an overwhelming situation.  She was left with symptoms of severe PTSD, including inability to sleep or concentrate, inability to stop crying, recurring images of the medical procedure she endured, feelings of hopelessness and helplessness, grief and anger. 

My colleague had attempted EMDR several times with her, but Trish would immediately experience an abreaction and could go no further.  He thought EFT might be more helpful and asked if EFT might work in this case.  Of course I said “YES”!  Needless to say Trish’s level of intensity was initially beyond 10 on a scale of 0 to 10 on almost every aspect we tapped on.

Even though I don’t want to talk about this…

Even though I know I can stop at any time, it’s up to me…

Even though it’s too painful to talk about…

Even though I’m afraid I’ll be overwhelmed…

Even though I’ll never get over this grieving, I’m open to the possibility that this can change.

Even though I’ve never been able to talk about what happened, I’m open to the possibility that it can be different this time and I’m open to healing.

When her level of intensity was down to 1 or 2 out of 10, we were ready to proceed.  We used the Tell the Story Technique from the beginning of her experience.  Her level of intensity was 8 out of 10 and going VERY SLOWLY we tapped on:

Even though I thought I was “safe” after completing the first trimester…

Even though I started bleeding and had cramps…

Even though I knew something was wrong…

Even though I was scared I’d lose the baby…

Even though I couldn’t sleep…

Even though I prayed and prayed things would be all right…

Even though I was filled with dread, I honor myself for getting through this difficult time.

Her level of intensity was down to 2 out of 10 and her story continued with her level of intensity at 10 out of 10.

Even though he said “The fetus is dead”…

Even though I really didn’t understand what that meant…

Even though my mind went numb with that information…

Even though I was in a daze…

Even though the worst had happened…

Even though it wasn’t “Fair”, I accept all my feelings without judgment.

Even though this wasn’t supposed to happen, I’m open to healing this deep pain.

Even though this did happen, I’m open to the possibility of finding peace.

Her level of intensity was down to 3 out of 10 and her story continued with her level of intensity at 10 out of 10 when she spoke of the procedure itself:

Even though the pain was more than I could bear…

Even though I was screaming because the pain was so bad…

Even though I thought I would pass out…

Even though I wanted to pass out…

Even though it felt like a piece of me was being ripped apart, I acknowledge my body for being far stronger than I thought it could ever be.

Even though this happened, I choose to remember that I survived terrible pain.  I honor my body and my soul for being so strong.

Her level of intensity was down to 2 out of 10 and her story continued:

Even though I heard something crash on the floor…

Even though I saw the  contents of the (uterus) canister…

Even though it was all red and bloody…

Even though I knew what it was … it was my baby…

Even though that canister held all hopes and dreams…

Even though I believed the canister held the promise of a family, I accept myself and all my feelings.

Even though I thought it was the family I would never have, I accept myself and all my beliefs.

Even though it seemed like all my hopes and dreams had died too, I’m open to finding peace.  I’m open to healing.

We also tapped on self-esteem issues she has been dealing with her whole life.  We tapped on the following and her level of intensity started at 6 or 7 out of 10.

Even though there must be something wrong with me that I couldn’t carry this baby to term, I want to accept myself anyway.

Even though it’s probably my fault, I can’t do anything right, I’m open to forgiving myself for this belief and perhaps I can see this experience in a different light.

Even though I believe I don’t deserve to have a baby, I’m open to changing this perception and I’m to open to healing this pain.

Her level of intensity was 1 out of 10 and we reframed her experience with her level of intensity of 6 out of 10.

Even though this happened, I’m open to forgiving myself for any contribution I may have made to this event.

Even though I’ve gone through hell, I’m open to the possibility that things happen for reasons I may never understand.

Even though this was a terrible experience, I’m willing to consider that there may be some learning in here for me.

Even though this may not have been the right time for this little soul to be born into this world, I’m willing to open my heart and release this pain.

Even though this happened, I choose to believe in my dream of creating a family.

We tapped many times over: I’m open to healing, I’m open to healing, until her level of intensity reduced to 1 or 2 out of 10.

I asked Trish if there was anything else she needed to do to further her healing.  We talked about creating rituals to acknowledge her loss.  She wanted to write a letter to the baby expressing her sadness and to say “good bye”.  Trish had also seen jewelry on the internet for women who had miscarried and thought what she needed was to have a necklace made with what would have been the baby’s name.  Her level of intensity was at 4 out of 10 and we finished with:

Even though this happened, I’ve discovered just how strong I really am.

Even though this happened, the bond I share with my husband is so much stronger now.

Even though this happened, I’m ready to release my need to hold onto this particular “dream” and make space in my heart to move on.

Even though this happened, I’m ready to accept that this experience is complete for me.

Even though this happened I’m open to finding peace.  My intention is for complete healing.

Her level of intensity was 1 or 2 and after 2 hours of EFT, Trish was exhausted and relaxed. She was able to tell the “story” calmly and without tears.  Yes, she was sad, but appropriately so.

We had just one more session the following week just to check in.  PTSD symptoms were completely gone.  She felt resolved with her experience.  Trish said she wanted to hold on to some anger to motivate her to report the physician to the NJ Board of Medical Examiners.

God Bless EFT!

Post script:  After an “uneventful” pregnancy Trish gave birth to a healthy baby just one year later.  She says she is “over the moon”!

 

 

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