This article originally appeared in Postpartum Progress.
Cristi Motto Comes of Motherhood Unadorned are over at Postpartum Progress today talking about past sexual abuse and how it can affect the emotions of pregnancy, birth and postpartum.
As I teen, I experienced a date rape. It was a one time incident, but it rocked my mental health in ways I never knew possible. In fact, its the event that brought my chronic mental illness to the surface. It affected my self image and sexuality in ways I don’t care to admit.
I never considered that one time thing could have also impacted me during the process of getting pregnant, birthing my children, and the subsequent postpartum depression and anxiety that resulted. But after recently discussing it during the #sexabusechat on Twitter (Tuesdays at 9pm ET/6pm PT) , I started to think about it in a different light.
These kinds of sexual assaults are so common, and I’m willing to bet a lot of you are shaking your heads right now because it happened to you too. I spoke about it once at a retreat and afterward several women came up to tell me they had lived through it too.
I’m also quite sure a few more of you have also experienced more long-term childhood sexual abuse. Its sadly way too common, and when you’ve lived through that kind of pain, it can absolutely have a lasting impact on your lifelong sexual experiences, pregnancy and motherhood.
So I reached out to Kathy Morelli, a Licensed Professional Counselor and author who focuses on Holistic Counseling for Maternal Mental Health, Family Systems and trauma from sexual abuse and medical intervention. Today she’s sharing with us how we can start to move beyond sexual abuse before and during motherhood.
So without further ado, I want to welcome Kathy to Postpartum Progress.