Pregnancy Trauma [How to Manage the Stress and Symptoms]
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Pregnancy Trauma [How to Manage the Stress and Symptoms]

Okay so thank you so much. Today we have
Parijat Deshpande who’s joining us. Can you give us a little bit of a background
about your work and what you do? Yeah absolutely. So I’m a mind-body health
specialist for women who are going through a high-risk pregnancy as well as
before and after a high-risk pregnancy I teach women how to regulate their
nervous system and in order to improve their endocrine system and their immune
system so they can get pregnant and stay pregnant and bring their baby home
that’s awesome and I know we have so many things to talk about we have you
know so many overlaps and what we do and things that we’re passionate about which
is why I’m so excited to have you here I think today we wanted to talk about
trauma because it’s something that women go through for so many different reasons
and don’t realize what they can do about it sometimes they don’t even realize
that they are going through it they just think it’s a stress and they haven’t
realized what their body is actually reacting to so I thought I would bring
that up and I know there’s so many different forms of trauma and stress but
maybe we can just define for people what that actually means when you are
experiencing a trauma in this context yeah absolutely so we’ll start with what
it’s not which is it’s not in your head it’s not something you’re making up it’s
not you being overly sensitive or unable to let go of the past or anything like
that it is it is not that um the way I like to explain trauma is if imagine
driving a car most of us have you know been driving and you’re you know
everything’s going great you’re driving along everything’s fine and then from
the corner of your eye you see a car about to come into your lane and
possibly hit you right so what happens in that moment in a split-second without
even thinking about it there’s no thought that happens your brain goes
into survival mode and you grip the steering wheel and your heart rates
racing and your hands get clammy and you get out of the way and in that time you
get tunnel vision and your only goal in that moment is to avoid getting hurt by
the car accident and now in most situations what happens the car moves on
somehow you get out of that situation you swerve back into your lane and then
you have this moment of my gosh whoa what’s that oh goodness
everything’s okay and your heart rate comes back down and you start thinking
again and you can kind of see your surroundings again you loosen your grip
on your steering wheel and eventually you start hearing the music that’s been
playing on the radio the whole time and you come back down and you move on that
is the natural stress cycle that our body is designed to be able to do there
is baseline we go up to survival mode and we come back down all within the
span of several seconds to a couple of minutes and we are entirely programmed
to be able to do every part of that cycle now what trauma is is the first
half of that cycle so you’re at baseline and then you go into survival mode and
you never get the part that comes down to get you back down to baseline that
repair mode so to speak that doesn’t happen we get stuck here at the top and
there’s a lot of reasons why that happens but you can see now that it has
nothing to do with you or you creating it or you causing it or you being stuck
someplace on purpose because your body is essentially stuck
completely in there’s danger I could die any second kind of mode and that’s how
you then move on in your life and you kind of see all of life from that lens
and so that that’s what trauma is is our body getting stuck right up there
yeah and that’s such a good example and analogy because I do feel like we almost
then live our life as if we’re about to have another car accident but yeah you
go through that you never really stopped feeling like that’s your reality
especially when it’s a long term so I find you know shorter stresses we can
handle but the longer term stress is so much harder because your body’s like
when is this gonna be over yeah that and that’s the thing and I see this all the
time and I know you say this to stress is not the problem our body is designed
to be able to handle stress because there’s the assumption that the second
half of that stress cycle will happen very soon after what our bodies are not
able to handle is getting stuck up here at the top for days weeks months and
years which is where we find a lot of people
I’m often stuck when they don’t know that they’re stuck there or they don’t
know what to do about it and and that’s when we start seeing
health issues come up is when we’re up here for that that amount of time so how
do people get stuck in that top phase where they’re hyper stress and they
can’t get off down to the normalized reaction piece of that like how do they
get stuck up there yeah so since I work with women on the reproductive and
pregnancy journey I see a lot of commonalities there so for example one
of the most common ways is really tied very closely to our medical system which
is let’s say you have an emergency c-section right you’re sedated and you
have to be sedated so it’s not like we’re saying oh well we can’t do that
anymore but in it built into the system is the fact that you cannot discharge
that energy because you are now stuck here and you are sedated and therefore
your entire system is not working in a way where it can naturally release that
now for some women after they come out of the sedation it is possible that they
go through that that natural stress cycle and they can complete that which
is why not everyone who has an emergency c-section
experiences trauma but that is also by a high percentage of them do it’s not the
c-section itself it’s that they get stuck there because of that I see a lot
of my clients who are going through a high-risk pregnancy and they deliver
preterm so they’ve got the arousal the hyper arousal of oh my gosh I could lose
my baby because of the pregnancy complications then you get kind of
slammed with oh gosh I delivered preterm my baby might not survive this and then
you get slammed with I got to go to the NICU and you see your baby connected to
tubes and wires and on life-support and so that common experience of there’s
just literally no time because it’s one event after another that that your brain
perceives as dangerous and we can bring that I know you work a lot with people
who are trying to conceive and and the same thing happens even on the fertility
side you could be at the doctor’s office you’re scared because you’ve been
bleeding so you have that potential threat right already encoded your brains
already thinking there’s danger and then you get the awful news oh there’s no
heartbeat and so then that’s one more thing and then oh you’re going to need
XYZ procedure this is what’s gonna happen next and there’s no time there’s
it’s just one piled on top of another and and so then we get stuck there
because there’s just now so much arousal and there’s no kind of opportunity to
see escape of any kind which is which is what we do right in the car accident
example we have to escape we have to get out of the situation to find safety and
there’s no opportunity to do that yeah I also find and tell me if you notice this
as well I find sometimes it’s also about the lack of knowledge of what to do so
it’s like you have this stressor that comes and then you don’t know what to do
about it and then your mind goes down this whole other path where it’s like
what is wrong with me what’s happening what am i doing and then they don’t even
know how to process that emotion which of course is not their fault but it’s
like you almost take it on as your responsibility and then you’re googling
and then you’re you know and so the idea also is not only having the time but
also the tools to actually process those emotions I find well absolutely
absolutely and I think to add on to that too is the isolation that all of this
happens in right as we need in order for true healing to happen we have to do
this with safe others and so if you think of the car accident example but
complete come down after that is when you go get to work or you get back home
and you go you’re not gonna believe what happened to me today
right and it culminates with that story of being able to share that with a safe
other and in the case of infertility and loss and high-risk pregnancy all of
which I personally experienced so I’m really saying this from a place of real
understanding there’s so much isolation and there is I don’t know who to talk to
I don’t know who to tell this to and and then you add on to the messages that we
get well well you were only six weeks along so can you know it’s not that bad
or oh your baby will be fine you know he’s a 30 to weaker in the NICU okay
like there’s there’s not that supportive community necessarily for a lot of
people and and that can be a hindrance as well to actually healing from what
you’ve just been through yeah I love that you brought up the community
because I really do feel like there’s the isolation piece obviously in my work
with fertility but also right through pregnancy through postpartum whether
you’ve had high-risk or not that isolation of you know there’s no village
really anymore we’re all sort of doing this on our own we don’t necessarily
have a team or or a village to call upon and then we go through our own emotions
whether it’s postpartum stuff whether it’s exhaustion whether it’s breast
feeding problems what-have-you and there really isn’t anyone that you can reach
out to there is all this expectation that you should be able to do it on your
own and that brings a whole other level of isolation which I think can be
resolved if you have as you said that safe other yeah yeah and it doesn’t have
to be that many people it can just be one yeah
it really doesn’t you know we think of community that’d be awesome if we all
just had this big giant world village I have this vision of what it would be
like how awesome would that be but until then even if there’s just one other
person it can I mean that’s what your body needs is to know you are safe with
somebody else yeah absolutely so much of also it what I spend my time on is also
talking to the partner because a lot of times they don’t know how to support and
if they just have that message to say this is what you can do this is how you
can do it that is just super helpful in and of itself sometimes they don’t think
they have a big role but they actually have huge role to play so yeah I love
that you do that that’s so important I wanted to ask you what are some tools
and tips and tricks and things like that that you use when you counsel women on
how to deal with trauma pregnancy related fertility related because I know
you do give them a lot of tools and strategies yeah we work really deeply
with that it’s you know the crux of the work that I do so many of my clients
that come to me I would say 100 none of them have had some experience of
trauma either fertility trauma pregnancy trauma birth trauma sometimes all three
and you know the first thing and this sounds really cliche but we’ve got to
start here is acknowledging that it happened and I think that’s it sounds
really simple but it’s hard to do especially when all the messages around
you are going it’s fine now it’s time it’s okay stop being like that and and
to push past that and kind of put blinders on it and go I’m not listening
to that I’m sitting and standing in my truth and going that ectopic pregnancy
that’s still birth that preterm delivery that complication that ultrasound that
was traumatic for me and that’s it and you just you sit there and you just own
it and in doing just that alone can be so healing because what trauma tends to
do and then our outside people don’t help with that is it distorts our memory
and it and we kind of go why is it that bad maybe it’s not that bad well I know
other people who have been through so much worse and we start minimizing it
and as we know with any type of emotion anything like that the more you minimize
it the louder it gets and you were talking about breastfeeding challenges
and all of this that’s where we see health problems coming up I mean we go
down to the root it may not be a latch issue it may not be a milk production
issue go deeper into it we find that there’s actually
dysregulation in our nervous system because we’re stuck up here and so do
look just step one really truly just going there’s nothing wrong with me
this really happened is I just find to be so powerful and I think from there
you know we we work a lot where I kind of do all my deep work with my clients
and my group members is about reregulate in your nervous system I mean that’s
really where that’s what happened is it went kind of wonky but wonky in the
sense of it did exactly what it was supposed to to keep you safe in that
moment and now we’re at a place where it
doesn’t need to do that anymore and so how do we kind of get it back to
baseline how do we like like turning off the thermostat you know you needed it
high because it was minus 30 outside and now we don’t need it high anymore
because it’s springtime that kind of thing and so there are a lot of ways
that that can happen you know there’s breath work is a
powerful one it’s I do caution people when I say that because sometimes
depending on where you are on your healing journey deep breathing can
actually be triggering so you want to be very careful I don’t I don’t recommend
it as kind of a first line of tools I guess right away until you know your
body a little bit better breath work is great Yoga is great laughter is awesome
it’s kind of like turning the fuse switch on and off and just resetting
sometimes it’s so great but a lot of the work that we do really starts with
feeling safe in our bodies first because we can do all the tools and techniques
that we want but they’re all just gonna be band-aids until we start feeling safe
inside and so that’s kind of the the beginning of the work that I do yeah so
interesting that you say that because I approach everything from a more physical
perspective just because of my background and my you know expertise and
things like that but I always work with someone in mental health because of
course that you are related but so much of what I do ends up being in the mental
health realm because I do find they’re such a big connection and sometimes I
find if you put yourself in a safe space in your physical body just understanding
that your physical body is in a safe space let’s say you’re embraced in a hug
by someone you trust or something like that like it just changes that emotion
that feeling you’re able to finally let go because we often find or at least I
find with a lot of my either fertility clients or new moms they’re just feeling
so responsible for this baby who needs them or their parent who’s aging or you
know someone else where they’re trying to be responsible for that other person
they never really let their own selves relax and their own yeah needs be met
and so I find that that’s a really important piece and it’s interesting
that you find that as well yeah absolutely yeah it’s great that you say
that – because I think our world just are so so close because I started in the
mental field and I moved into
psychoneuroimmunology because I went mental health is not enough it’s not
covering everything it’s there’s so much in the body that’s happening here so I
love that and I think that’s just speaks to from both our perspectives if we
can’t do one or the other it’s just not enough there’s that place in the middle
that really addresses all of that and I probably see this too that when I first
start with my clients and we start really paying attention to the body my
focus is very somatic work so we don’t do any cognitive work at all and you
just noticed like for example most common like I didn’t realize my
shoulders are so high all the time you know I mean I exaggerating it here but
when you really start paying attention you go oh actually drop a lot lower and
they can go lower than that and we start noticing the shifts in our body in the
efforts that we make and I find that to be very powerful that you actually see
your body responding to something you’re doing which I think I can speak to
personally when you go through infertility and loss and high-risk
pregnancy preterm delivery there’s so much of your body that feels out of
control and to be able I think part of the healing is to recognize and really
experience I can do something and my body actually responds the way I want it
to and I find that to be really really healing yeah I think it can be really
healing and I I love that you talked about the somatic experience because
what I find is people will end up doing all the things like they want to take
all the supplements they want to eat the right foods they want to do all these
things and I don’t blame them because they are looking to control something
but at the same time that almost makes it worse because then if they don’t do
those things then they feel bad about not doing all the things and then
they’re stressed about whether they did all the right things and so you almost
have to find what the way I describe it to my clients is you want to do
something that’s going to give you the most bang for your buck so to speak but
yeah an adult for the least amount of effort but really what I mean is you
want to get to the underneath part of it exactly exactly I say the same thing
right you can do all the things but if it’s just giving you this much
improvement I don’t know that it’s worth it I’d rather you just let’s get down to
the root of it and let’s really just kind of pull out that weed and then whoa
what a difference that makes so good is there anything else you think
that for people who are listening or watching this interview is there
anything else you want to share in terms of with you all of your experience
around trauma for people might be really going through it right now I think the
only thing I’d like to share is that there’s a tremendous amount of hope and
I say that as somebody who’s personally been on this journey and somebody who’s
helped so many women who have been through the darkest of darkest things
you could possibly imagine and you know our bodies are always trying to heal
that is that is how we are built and our job is to just clear the way to allow
them to complete that natural stress cycle that got interrupted for whatever
reason that happens and I find that to be a very empowering way to think about
it is I don’t actually have to do anything that extra I just have to
figure out what my body needs give it that clear the way and it will do the
rest and so the healing process I have seen is almost like a really awesome
avalanche so without the destruction but kind of I
need a better analogy for that but essentially it builds on itself and so
you just have to get it started the first part is the hardest your body will
take over and it will start kind of everything will start falling into place
and all of a sudden things are gonna start working and clicking you’re gonna
go how did that happen and it’s all because you are following physiology
which is it’s so important to me is you know we’re not just adding band-aids and
kind of scaffolding we’re actually allowing your body to do what it’s
trying to do anyway and I find that there’s so much hope and that I hope
that for everybody listening they can hear that and really take that in for
whenever they’re ready to do the work there’s a tremendous amount of hope yeah
I really agree with the whole piece because we think that when we’re in the
medical system that you know we are we’ve done everything we can or there’s
really anything we can do and we just have to struggle through it which is not
the case because there is so much else that’s out there that we just have to
know what to do and I find the biggest piece is really knowing what your body
needs I find that so much shift you know I do acupuncture but then I also say it
doesn’t have to be acupuncture if this anything else that will allow
your body to shift maybe it’s yoga maybe it’s we know but it’s different for
everyone how they connect to their body and whatever they find as long as you
can get that shift where you’re like actually trust your body trust yourself
trust that everything will be okay you’re not in the middle of this intense
stress as soon as you feel that shift everything just falls into everything
falls into place it’s in credit and it sounds so cliche but it really does and
I can speak to somebody who’s done the work it really feels that way there’s a
click that happens you go ah I can breathe again whoa and it’s just so cool
and then it’s so clear when your body isn’t working because yeah you can tell
the difference yes yeah and you notice your tolerance is a lot lower and you go
I don’t want to feel that way again wait wait no no we’re not going down that bad
that’s so awesome yeah I find it’s really good for
motivation too and compliance like you know that the person is going to follow
through as soon as they feel that shift because they want to feel good exactly
exactly totally on the same page so good I could talk to you forever can you me
know how people can reach you or connect with you if they want to know more about
what you do or your approach absolutely and my website is the best place to go
so it’s very Josh Pandey calm I think you can see my name I’ll link it yeah
it’s just my full name com I have my podcast my blog I’ve got all my programs
that are available and on my social media links so you can connect with me
in a lot of different ways and I look forward to hearing from you that’s great
thank you so much for joining me and for providing such informative information I
think people will really benefit from it thank you so much for having me this was


  • natalie pfund

    This is so key! I had a lot of trauma from my injuries post birth. Such an important conversation- that we are not having often enough! Thank you for this!

  • Mr-Mrs Curls-n-Kinkz

    Hi thank you for your channel it seems great. I don't know where my issues fall with infertility & trauma. I have type 1 diabetes, fibromyalgia & very painful ovulation & menstrual cramps & hypersensitivity. I have had abuse through childhood & adolescence. I had a miscarriage at age 14. I didn't go to the hospital after & now I'm 27 & married for 5 years I've been trying to get pregnant since the first year of marriage. I don't know if its me or the illnesses. But my body is constantly stressed & constantly worrying about all the things i have no idea about. Where do i start? How do i get to the bottom of fertility issues with other health issues? Would i be able to get pregnant?

    It would be a massive help if you could point me anywhere tbh. I just don't know where to start with it. Thanks for this video.

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