Background: This paper reports the development of a co-produced e-resource to support those who have experienced childhood sexual abuse through pregnancy, birth, and parenthood. These are times of major transition for any woman but can present particular challenges for those who have experienced childhood sexual abuse. Re-traumatisation during the perinatal period is common and can occur in ways that may not be anticipated by those involved. Survivors often do not disclose their abuse and the childbearing journey can be lonely. Methods: The work was conducted in collaboration with The Survivors Trust and in keeping with the Survivor’s Charter. A participatory approach was used. There were two phases: the generation of new qualitative data and development of the resource. To encourage participation from this hidden population, data were collected by a variety of means including focus groups, telephone interviews and an on-line survey. Survivors who had children and those who hoped to one day participated. Resource development was facilitated by two workshops and email feedback. Results: Overall, 37 women participated, all of whom were positive about development of the resource. Although many issues identified during data collection were specific to the participants’ history of abuse other areas of concern would be relevant for any woman contemplating the journey to parenthood. Women often assumed that they were alone in their concerns and were reassured to discover that others shared their experiences. The final resource is hosted on The Survivors Trust Website and is accessible from all electronic devices. It follows the journey from deciding to have a baby, pregnancy, labour, birth, and the postnatal period through to parenthood. Links are provided to further information and sources of support. The process of developing the resource used trauma-informed principles and it speaks with women’s words in a peer-to-peer voice. Conclusions: This paper describes the development of an innovative and accessible e-resource that is based on the words and experiences of survivors of childhood sexual abuse. It recognises the importance of control and feeling safe and aims to empower those who use the resource as they embark on pregnancy, birth, and parenthood.
- Childhood sexual abuse