I was watching tv (shocker) the other night and there was a joke about immersion therapy... I laughed, and then realized ---> I had completed my own version of immersion therapy.
After B was born and we were dealing with the fallout of an emergency hysterectomy. I continually thought about how much it sucked and how badly I wanted to hide from women who were either new mommas or newly pregnant, etc. etc. So... what did I do??? Hung out with mommas and went to hospitals and watched births. YES... after a freakish complication nearly killed me... I surrounded myself with birth.
Did it work? I think so. I still feel a bit ill when I visit the maternity ward (esp. where B was born). But not to the degree that I have heard other women discuss on the yahoo group.
When my son was 6 mos old, my bff had her first child. I remember her sitting and holding my hand and trying not to cry while I was in ICU. She helped me pump (how awkward). She dealt with the absolute fear of almost losing me while 3 months pregnant herself. I remember driving up to her birth (actually one of her false alarms) and praying for everyone involved. I prayed for the person who cleaned the equipment, the nurse who would put in the needles, every little thing. When she went in for her scheduled c-section (after 3 false alarms), I sat in the waiting room and did the same thing. I read my Bible and prayed. I think her mom thought I was a bit nuts, but I was able to stave off an anxiety attacks I may have had otherwise. I was able to see her son shortly after he was born and feel happiness OVER the sadness. The sadness was there, but the happiness at her health and the joy of that sweet boy overrode it.
When B was 16 mos old, I was so blessed as to be able to witness the birth of one of my prayer partner's second child. She invited several of us to be with her and be her support. It was an awesome experience and quite healing to see it all go right. 16 months earlier I couldn't have imagined myself doing it, but I did. I will say as a warning, I feel an intense responsibility and love for that little boy --- so to witness a birth is not something to go into lightly.
For those of you out there dealing with any kind of birth trauma --- I would highly suggest going along the same route - don't avoid it - dive right in! Maybe not attending actual births, but visiting new mommas and babyshowers, etc. If we avoid them, then they only get harder as time goes on. Pray the whole way, and have the support system I talked about earlier - and you will make it too.
***disclaimer -- I am not a professional therapist --- ask yours for advice, this is what worked for me