Alice Watson

Title: A Liturgical Approach to the Transformation of Birth Trauma.

My work explores theologically, trauma experienced in childbirth or in the period surrounding birth. Childbirth trauma is something which is estimated to affect up to a third of people who give birth, and yet it is vastly under-researched, both within the fields of trauma studies and theology. Trauma connected to childbirth is a particularly interesting topic, as it is a trauma which is by its nature also generative, and so is a complex mix of death and life, pain and joy.  If trauma can be considered as the past not staying put, then in cases of birth trauma this seems startingly true; the source of trauma remains with the traumatised new parent, in a child who requires nurture and care, and where complex emotions such as love, fear, grief, and regret can surface. My work suggests that the Christian tradition, with its rich liturgical history, as well as images which juxtapose birthing and the cross, can assist in the incorporation and transformation of this trauma.

Supervisor: Dr Karen O’Donnell