Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is an anxiety disorder that can occur after a person has been through a traumatic event. It is estimated in the uk alone that 20,000 women a year suffer with PTSD as the result of Birth Trauma. Below I have shared with you my experience of what it felt like suffering with the illness. I hope it raises some awareness for Parents suffering with PTSD.
For me It was like a never ending whirl wind. The flashbacks. Remembering things that you can’t explain. It makes you confused, frustrated and leaves you lost in your own mind. I’d wake screaming. I use to shout out and wake up sweating and the flashbacks continue two years on.
I had to ask my husband what happened to me, over and over again. Why did this happen?
Looking back now I never once thought, how he was dealing with it all? I mean he had to. I was in no physical or mental state to care for a baby. I couldn’t even care for myself.
When I finally bonded with my baby, things got worse.
I look back and feel nothing but guilt. A feeling I fear will never leave me. I wasn’t there for her in the beginning. I wasn’t able to give her, her first cuddle, her first kiss or even her first bath. I felt like the worst mother in the world and questioned if I was ever even meant to be a mother.
Surely it shouldn’t be this hard?
With these feelings came the anxiety, tight pains in my chest and the heavy breathing. Not wanting to take her out for fear of what might happen. I’d lay awake all night staring at the monitor imagining she would stop breathing at any time.
When I did sleep the nightmares came. What if this happened to her? What would I do? I can’t go back to that hospital. I just can’t.
I became paranoid at letting people look after her. No one was good enough. She wouldn’t be safe.
I became over protective and when I did take her out I gripped the buggy so tight my knuckles went white. I constantly looked around. I hated when people came over to the buggy. I just wanted to stay in my house and shut the world out.
When I started counselling I found it hard to open up. I felt that all medical or NHS employees were the enemy. They failed me how can they help me now. I felt nothing but hatred towards them. After being told ‘ I’m sure they didn’t mean it’ I left.
I found a private counsellor and she was amazing. I stuck to my appointments and after a few months found the courage to open up. It was my time to get my emotions off my chest, not be judged or told, ‘I’m sure they didn’t meant that to happen.’
It was my time for someone to listen and give advice if needed or asked.
I would be lost and may not be here today if it wasn’t for my husband pushing me to get help. It was the best thing I ever did.
It took me 10 months but I finally plucked the courage to take her to a baby music group. At first it was daunting, walking into a room full of new mums talking about their birth experiences. But as time had passed I made some very close friends and was able to open up to them about what happened, they have been a great support.
I found writing helped me, I wrote every thought and feeling down when I found time. I wanted it off my mind.
I look back and see how far I’ve come. It took a lot of courage to share these experiences with you. I just hope, that if you can relate, I have help you to understand that you are not alone.