Nursing Other

The Anniversary of Birth Trauma: failure to rescue

The article entitled “The Anniversary of Birth Trauma: Failure to Rescue” by Beck (2006) addresses the issues associated with birth trauma, such as post traumatic stress disorder, particularly as the anniversary of the trauma approaches. The article evaluated the different perspectives associated with Colaizzi’s phenomenology, which was instrumental in supporting the information provided by the study participants (Beck, 2006). For mothers who conceive or deliver their children under difficult circumstances, it has become increasingly common to report experiences of trauma and duress (Beck, 2006). Furthermore, cases involving birth trauma are also the product of a negative birth experience, in spite of the generally positive nature of this practice for many mothers (Beck, 2006). These different perspectives play an important role in determining how birth traumas impact wellbeing in different ways.

Typically, there are a number of common factors associated with birth traumas, including such events as flashbacks or bad dreams, the desire to avoid any circumstances that might lead to remembrance of the traumatic event, and sleep problems or angry outbursts (Beck, 2006). Upon review of existing literature, it was discovered that the development of post traumatic stress disorder and related symptoms is triggered by a specific event or circumstance (Beck, 2006). However, in cases involving birth trauma, the anniversary of the event often has even greater consequences because it is the anniversary of the birth of a child and the same day that a traumatic event occurred (Beck, 2006). These circumstances may lead to any number of complications that are difficult to overcome for patients who have experienced a birth trauma (Beck, 2006).

The study explored the events associated with 38 different birth trauma experiences on their anniversary dates, as research in this area is minimal (Beck, 2006). It is generally believed that each mother possesses a unique range of experiences, and that no two experiences are alike (Beck, 2006). Therefore, the study evaluated these different experiences, such as early deliveries, and how these impacted mothers and their perspectives of the birth trauma itself (Beck, 2006). In using the phenomenological perspective for this study, a number of different methods were used to record pertinent data, including interviews and writings which depicted the events surrounding these birth traumas (Beck, 2006). A number of steps were taken to identify traumatic events into different themes, whereby this information was evaluated to create a phenomenon for further discussion (Beck, 2006).

With the data collection phase, there was a rigorous process to ensure that the data would be as valid as possible and that study participants would provide truthful and accurate information for the study (Beck, 2006). This data led to a number of thematic representations for the study, including responses to seasonal events and pending birth trauma anniversaries (Beck, 2006). Some study participants did not want to acknowledge their children’s birthdays because it reminded them of the traumatic events that led to these births (Beck, 2006). During these periods, many women experienced significant increases in stress and anxiety in anticipation of these events (Beck, 2006). The study describes a number of stories of women who faced very difficult challenges on birth trauma anniversaries, whereby coping with these events did not improve significantly from one year to the next (Beck, 2006). In many cases, study participants were concerned with their reactions to birth traumas and what might happen on subsequent anniversaries/birthdays (Beck, 2006). A number of women also experienced other problems as a result of these events that interfered with their daily lives in one way or another (Beck, 2006). These events demonstrated that birth traumas are a dramatic and challenging experience for many women and that it is often very difficult to overcome these challenges without significant support and therapeutic interventions.

Although many of these events cannot be stopped or even controlled, it is often the case that they are better managed and tolerated when therapeutic interventions and an open dialogue is established. These efforts require a comprehensive understanding of the events from the woman’s perspective to optimize understanding and treatment. This article is strong in that it distinguishes between different themes associated with birth trauma which many women experience, thereby raising questions regarding therapeutic interventions and other support mechanisms. It is important for women to share their experiences and to consider other factors which are influential in how they live their lives post-birth trauma. At the same time, clinicians and other professionals should be aware of the challenges and events associated with birth traumas so that the needs of their patients are met more effectively.

The article also considers an event that is not often discussed, the anniversary date of the birth trauma. This is an important date for a number of reasons and provides a basis for exploring the emotional impact of these events. Women who have experienced birth traumas should have some type of outlet to discuss these experiences in an open and honest manner so that they are able to better manage these outcomes. Women under these conditions may experience increased levels of stress or other problems that may lead them to poor decision-making or other concerns. Therefore, those within their support systems should pay attention to any signs of distress so that an active discussion is introduced to allow the coping mechanism to be realized. The efforts made to discuss these challenges in an open and honest manner will be effective for women in sharing their grief and stress regarding the birth trauma.

For women whose children’s birthdays are also the anniversary of the traumatic events, it is not surprising that they are likely to experience some degree of grief and stress regarding these experiences. The article is successful in providing important information regarding women facing these circumstances and how they must learn to better cope to get through these problems more effectively. The emotional turmoil that these women experience is often too great to bear and requires an additional element of care and compassion around these anniversary periods. This type of argument makes sense and the recommendations are appropriate for these women. It is expected that there must be additional factors in place that will encourage women to share their traumatic experiences with others so that they will receive a fresh and supportive perspective to better cope with these conditions.

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is a complex phenomenon which requires a detailed analysis of the conditions leading up to these events, as well as an opportunity to explore the different elements which take place when different events trigger increased stress and emotional responses. It is important for women who have experienced birth traumas to recognize that they are not alone and that they have significant support from their peers and other professional resources to improve their response efforts. When specific events trigger bad memories or other traumatic experiences associated with these birth traumas, such as anniversaries, it is very important for these women to have a widespread support system to enable them to better cope in a caring and nurturing environment. This will enable these women to share the issues that are troubling them with others and to be proactive in managing their own grief and recovery. Therefore, the article in question is highly effective in providing the type of resources and study-based approaches to managing women who have experienced birth traumas in one form or another. With this perspective in mind, these women will be able to better grasp the reasons behind these events and how to improve their coping as each anniversary passes, as well as the management of other important triggers which may lead to increased stress and anxiety over these events.


Beck, C.T. (2006). The anniversary of birth trauma: failure to rescue. Nursing Research,

            55(6), 381-390.

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