Five NZ mothers came together through letters in the NZ Treasures Magazine in 1998. Two Mums (Narelle and Toni) wrote letters to the magazine indicating that they wanted to be in contact with other mothers who had been diagnosed with post traumatic stress disorder, in relation to childbirth. Both were clear to write that PTSD is NOT depression. Hence, letters were written, phone calls made and the five mothers met. They were highly motivated to be sure that other mothers would no longer be misdiagnosed.

TABS – Trauma And Birth Stress – was the result. TABS is a support group of mothers who have in common stressful and traumatic pregnancies or births that affected their lives negatively for months or years afterward. TABS was formed because of the need to make Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) known as a form of mental illness that can happen following childbirth, but quite distinct from the Baby Blues, Post Natal Depression (Post Partum Depression) and Post Natal Psychosis. TABS is a Charitable Trust.

More than 700 women have made contact with TABS since it began.

Information on the symptoms of PTSD is on the website.

What does it do?

TABS hosts an education and support website. The aim is to educate the community via study days and presentations.

TABS is now on to its fourth study via its website, thus giving mothers a chance to tell their stories and educate the community!

Since 1998, the four women who are Auckland-based have spoken about PTSD to over 7000 people. These presentations have been to professional and lobby organisations of various stakeholders in the maternity sector, including conferences of specialists and special interest groups.

In addition, TABS has brought women’s concerns before senior Government officials. TABS study days are approved and have been awarded points by the NZ Midwifery Council.

TABS publishes a regular newsletter, and circulates widely a pamphlet about PTSD.

How is it funded?

TABS’ income comes from grants, donations, and any payments received for our literature and presentations to health professionals.

If you would like to donate to TABS to help continue their work, please find contact details for this on their website.

How can I get their help?

You can contact TABS via the website.

How much does it cost?

There is no charge and TABS urges mothers to get professional help, as trauma will not disappear or resolve on its own! The TABS website lists names of counsellors and organisations who are able to assist for trauma.

Link to the TABS website

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder as a result of birth trauma has only recently been recognised. The TABS website works as a provider and collector of information on this issue. It contains information for health professionals as well as women and their families. The site links women with study days on Birth Trauma and contains a section on women’s personal experiences. There are details of symptoms and pathways to help as well as a section on the future, including subsequent pregnancies.


Prof Cheryl Beck (University of Connecticut) and Sue Watson (Chairperson of TABS) are pleased to announce:

“Traumatic Pregnancy and/or Childbirth – A Fathers Perspective”

Fathers are invited to participate and tell their stories.

To learn more, visit

We trust that this may be of interest to many NZ men!

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This information was compiled by the Kiwi Families team.

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