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Addressing Birthing Trauma through Art Therapy

Updated: Jul 11, 2023

By Karen Flowers, Country Leader, Egypt

Creative Art Connection was founded as a part of Birth Guardians Egypt. The purpose is to bring together women who have experienced emotional trauma giving birth in a maternity care system that currently doesn’t provide many alternatives. Women find healing and peace through emotionally connecting with art, discovering inner strength and empowerment, overcoming past hurts, and connecting with a healthier future.

95% of women in Egypt will tell you that their birth experience was traumatic, and they lack the resources to address it. For this reason, we at Birth Guardians focus on a holistic approach to pregnancy and post-partum care.

Women meeting in Karen's Birth Guardian garden

Art therapy is one of the more successful approaches we have found to address the trauma of violence toward women, whether it is sexual, mental, or emotional. Karen, having studied art in university, truly understands the benefit of using art to connect to the soul. We use acrylic paints, encouraging women to let go of their fears by choosing their own colors and allowing them the freedom to do so.

Karen demonstrates the acrylic paint pouring method

The method we’re using is acrylic paint pouring, layering colors on top of each other in a cup, and then slowly pouring them out onto the canvas. As the various hues move across the canvas, the women become mesmerized by the shapes and patterns of the flowing colors. While they observe these, they can contemplate without judgment. This empowers these women to process and share about emotional hurt and trauma from the past.

A recent success story features a woman who was an OB-GYN herself, pregnant for the second time after an extremely traumatic first birth. As a teenager, she was sexually abused by a close relative and was always afraid if she told anyone she would be held responsible. She had never even shared this with her husband.

Imagine for a moment the impact on a young woman, after having suffered this abuse as a teenager, the fear and loneliness, feeling like no one cares about or even respects you. However, through art she was able to open up and share with her husband the emotional trauma she experienced. They were able to process that difficult situation together and prepare for what would become a natural birth experience, a joyful second delivery to remember.

Karen with Eyptian women doing art therapy

Our art classes, both group and private, bring results that allow these women to holistically process and begin to heal from the pain they’ve experienced. They can accept forgiveness and find freedom from a burden of responsibility for a trauma they have believed was their own fault. It is beautiful to witness women discover hope and find healing as we create art together.

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