Our brains instinctively know what our bodies need to survive and trauma occurs not in the event, but in our body's attempt at survival and the incompletion of this survival mechanism. Trauma lies not in the event, but in how the event is processed.
When parents look toward therapy for their kids, they often wonder what can be gained from "just playing." What they don't realize at first is that play therapy is anything but "just playing." Through play, I am able to see the inner world of the child I'm working with. How a child plays and what is revealed through play says so much about the child. A play therapist also uses techniques to see the whole child and affirm the child is being seen.
It is also important to remember in thinking about your own childhood traumas or a trauma experienced by your child, that children define events differently than we do as adults. I think back to an incident in my own childhood where I was playing outside and went in to the yard of a house near by to say hello to a dog in the yard. The dog jumped on my back, bigger than I was, and knocked me down. For some, this incident might have instilled a lifelong fear of dogs, but in my 5-year-old brain I defined the event as the dog giving me a hug.
When a mother gives birth, there is a sudden shift to being completely selfless. Nothing is about you anymore, it is all about the baby. When we make the shift to selfless, we often forget or don't acknowledge that recognizing our own needs is not a form of selfishness. The recognition of our own needs helps us to better recognize and acknowledge the need of the baby. While we tend to the baby, nurturing him or her--giving them love, food, comfort, and touch--we often forget to nurture ourselves. When our own needs aren't met, it makes it harder to tend to the needs of the baby. We may become easily frustrated and impatient with the baby, in turn making us frustrated with the way we are mothering.