Trauma and Seeking Help in the Fight Against COVID-19

We took inventory of our most recent blog entries and noticed that they have one thing in common — COVID-19. This is no accident and certainly isn’t by chance. This virus has invaded our daily lives and there is no turning away no matter how hard we may try. We deliberately took the approach to focus on self-care, mental health and wellness these past few weeks. This particular post has sat in “draft” status for over 10 days as it is a painful one to tackle.

Our hearts go out to the entire world as we are all figuring out how to navigate this new normal that does not appear to be subsiding in the near future. To those that have lost loved ones; to those on the front lines; to those battling symptoms in isolation; to those who are asymptomatic with no insight about the battle ahead of them; to the essential workers; to family members awaiting to hear news about their loved one’s prognosis; to birthing parents who were forced to give birth alone without support — We speak your name.

In the midst of the unknown there are is one thing that is certain – trauma. The American Psychological Association (APA) defines trauma as “an emotional response to a terrible event.” COVID-19 definitely qualifies as a terrible event. Shock and denial are natural responses given the magnitude of what is taking place. Exposure to trauma debilitates ones adaptive abilities following the event that the nervous system has deemed to be threatening. One may discover that they are experiencing nightmares following the traumatic event. Some may struggle to process their thoughts. Sleeping, eating and movement may be impacted in some people. Others may discover that their interpersonal relationships are negatively impacted. Everyone experiences trauma differently and responses can vary across individuals.

We would be remiss if we did not address COVID-19 and its impact on the birthing process. Regular stress associated with pregnancy and birth is normal and this virus adds an additional layer of stress. Birthing alone without the support of a partner or doula likely was not in the birth plan nor was being separated from one’s newborn or having to delay breast / chestfeeding. Giving birth in a hospital where others are being treated for COVID-19 can be an unpleasant experience for some. Navigating birth under such conditions can have a profound impact on the birthing parent and family in the days, weeks, months and sometimes years following birth.

It is imperative that one refrains from attempting to self-diagnose or suffer in silence. Help is available. We encourage you to seek mental health care with a licensed mental health professional sooner than later to assist you with navigating through the experience. We recommend that those needing postpartum support search for mental health professionals with a specialization in perinatal mood and anxiety disorders (PMADs) through Postpartum Support International. Most mental health professionals have moved their services to virtual formats given the current state of the nation which has made mental health care easily accessible. Psychology Today is an option where one can search to view profiles of mental health providers based upon personal preference (location, specialty, insurance type etc.). S.N. Turner and Associates has created a free, self-guided course titled, “Is Counseling Really For Me?” to answer common questions related to counseling including the differences between the various types of mental health providers. Be sure to refer to our March 20, 2020 blog entry for information related to COVID-19 and breast / chestfeeding.

Continue to take care of yourselves. Surely, we will get through this together… together, we can!

Until Next Time,

💙 Salimah

Peace, Love & Breastmilk

The Maziwa Tribe blog does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Content from Maziwa Tribe’s blog is not intended to be used for medical diagnosis or treatment. The information provided on this blog is intended for general consumer understanding. The information provided is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Please contact your family doctor or other medical professional to obtain medical advice.

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