184: Personal Journey of Birth and Adoption as an Adult Sexual Assault Survivor


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By Katayune Kaeni, Psy.D. and Katayune Kaeni. Discovered by Player FM and our community — copyright is owned by the publisher, not Player FM, and audio is streamed directly from their servers. Hit the Subscribe button to track updates in Player FM, or paste the feed URL into other podcast apps.

In many ways, our life experiences around reproduction impact us and our mental health significantly. Today’s show focuses on the story of adult sexual trauma and how our guest was affected as she became a mother. **The nature of this topic of sexual trauma and differing birth experiences prompt a sensitivity warning for some listeners. Use your judgment in listening now or at a later time.

Emily Finomore is a mother and clinician who couldn’t find information on what to expect with a pregnancy and childbirth experience after adult sexual trauma. Emily wants people to know that each person’s birth experience can be different and yet bring healing. Emily is a child and adolescent therapist as well as outpatient clinic manager for WVU Medicine in Behavioral Medicine. Her previous work includes more than ten years working in various capacities in child welfare systems, clinical work in family treatment drug court, implementing a large scale research project at the Air Force Academy, and working in private practice. Her area of clinical focus is complex developmental trauma. In an effort to support communities in West Virginia as they work to meet the challenging needs of these children, Emily has trained frontline staff, educators, behavioral health professionals, and families on understanding the neurodevelopmental effects of complex trauma and appropriate interventions to support regulation and healing. Emily is the parent of five children, through both biology and adoption. She shares her story in an effort and with the hope that you know that you’re not alone in your experience.

Show Highlights:

  • Emily’s story of sexual assault as a college student and becoming a mom for the first time a few years later
  • Emily’s various birth experiences with her four biological children and one adopted child
  • How parenting taught Emily how little control she has over life events
  • Why Emily thought that a natural birth experience with her first child would bring healing
  • How her second pregnancy came quickly after her first child and led to a planned induction
  • How the epidural allowed her to stay present, focused, and joyful
  • How Emily’s third child was adopted from foster care: “the longest and hardest labor of all”
  • How the journey to adopt her daughter brought up trauma triggers for Emily
  • A move to Colorado allowed Emily to consider more natural birth options for her fourth child, using a certified nurse-midwife in the hospital
  • How having birth photography for the first time played an important role in Emily’s trauma response
  • How a surprise pregnancy brought a fifth child and the opportunity to use a birth center and have all her children present with her
  • How important relationship and connection were in the childbirth space
  • The great need for resources in helping people find trauma-informed care providers
  • Emily’s suggestions for other trauma survivors regarding communicating with your spouse and engaging with your clinician
  • Hopeful messages from Emily: “There are many ways to find healing, one of which is becoming a parent. Birth is the start of your parenthood journey, and I’m continuing to heal and grow. Sharing my experiences with others helps my healing, and I’m grateful for all the pieces.”

Resources mentioned:

Email Emily: emilyfinomore@gmail.com

212 episodes