chapter  Chapter 3
What we already know about the impact of CSA on childbearing
WithLis Garratt, Mavis Kirkham
Pages 15

In her preface to Simkin and Klaus’s book When Survivors Give Birth, Blume describes the abused woman’s body, and in particular its sexual parts, as ‘the battlefield on which incest is played out’ 1 (p. xxii). Like any other theatre of war, the resulting devastation of abuse lingers on long after hostilities cease, causing long-term suffering and hardship. The survivor of sexual abuse carries within her body, mind and emotions the consequences of the conflict and is unable to escape her personal war zone. Research in the area of post-traumatic stress disorder indicates that when an individual is confronted with reminders of their original trauma psychophysiological and neuroendocrine responses occur, indicating that they have been conditioned to respond as if they were re-experiencing the event. 2 In other words, the body continues to act as if it were being traumatised even though the original trauma may have occurred many years previously. 3 This phenomenon is evident in the birth story of Rose, who found herself, while giving birth, experiencing vivid flashbacks to her horrific abuse. 4 She described the memories of her abuse as being ‘locked’ into her birthing muscles.