Stepping out of the comfort zone

It’s not something many people like doing. I hate to be out of my comfort zone and I much prefer to tread safer waters most of the time. The thing is, life has a way of opening your eyes and presenting opportunities or situations that you just can’t refuse. That’s what happened to me yesterday.

A while ago, I signed up as a media volunteer for the Birth Trauma Association. Those who know me or know my blog will know that the Birth Trauma Association is a charity that is very close to my heart. It is a charity that has helped me through many a dark day and has allowed me to meet the most amazing of women (and men) who have been through similar situations. The members of the Facebook group are supportive and understanding. The entire charity exists to help and support women and their families like me and mine and without them, I know my life would be very different now.

The thing is, I didn’t know they existed at first. Birth Trauma was a something that I thought only had been through. That’s why it is so important to raise awareness and to educate. Becoming a media volunteer was a natural step for me after starting this blog and Maternity Matters. I wanted to share my story, with the hope of helping another person in a similar situation.

Yesterday I spoke to a producer at the BBC. I told her my story in relation to the national shortage of midwives. She told me that she wanted to send a cameraman over to interview me. And that’s where I found my comfort zone slipping away…

I’ve steered clear from vlogging. I got my children to star in my MADs Blog Awards finalist vlog. I write it so much better than I can say it. I naiively thought that being a media volunteer meant simply providing a quote for print. The idea of being on camera, speaking, sent me into a panic.

I didn’t sleep a wink. I woke early with that kind of sinking feeling you get when you know you have to do something you really would rather you didn’t have to. Yes, I speak to large groups of people for a living. But they are children. They don’t point cameras and lights in my face. They don’t present me to the nation to be judged.

Luckily, I gave myself a mental shake and reminded myself why this was so important. If the government are going to admit to the problems that the NHS have with midwife shortages and the impact this is having on women like me, then doing this interview should never have been in question. I owed this to my son, to the experience we had. I owed this to the promise I made, that I would do everything I could to make sure this didn’t happen again. At least to us.

I know that serious changes need to be made so that women can feel confident in every single hopsital in England when it comes to giving birth. It shouldn’t matter where you are; every woman deserves to be cared for. If my tiny contribution in all of this makes even a tiniest difference, or rings a bell with just one person tomorrow, then I will feel it has all been worth it.

I enjoyed the experience. Talking about the birth of my children in this context and with my beautiful son playing on the floor infront of me was actually empowering. I didn’t cry. I relayed the events in a calm and even manner- something I have never been able to do before. I found that speaking about my son’s trauamtic entry into the world was therapeutic and I left for work this afternoon thinking: I did something good today.

You might not watch it. It doesn’t matter. One person will. And maybe it will make a tiny difference to that person tomorrow.

12 thoughts on “Stepping out of the comfort zone

  1. What a brilliant thing to have done. This is the good side of journalism, the ability to help people like you tell their story to help others in a similar situation. You’ve made me proud to be a journalist today. I’ll definitely be watching. x

  2. Oo well done! I’ve got shivers and chills for you reading that. And I hear I’m finally going to get to meet you on Sat! (or are you too above me now that you’re famous..?)

  3. Might not watch it? I’ve got my V+ box set to record the entire BBC Breakfast, as well at the lunchtime and evening news! I may even set it for ten o clock too, just in case ;-). Very proud of you, missus xx

  4. I have watched your BBC News report and to be honest I am extremely interested to know what trauma you actually went through? Not having the correct cot and having to press the buzzer for a midwife isnt nice but is it traumatic?
    Sadly you say there was no care. But the nurses and doctors who brought your baby into the world in theatre cared for you. This isnt a production line its emergency medicine and is only performed when necessary by your medical professional.
    What would have happenned if you had not had a caesarian section? Have you every considered that?
    Sadly if I was a midwife in the hospital you gave birth I would feel low after seeing your report. Are you sure they didnt really care as when I had my child I found the midwifery team to be extremely caring. How can you do that job if you dont care?

    • Ok so I’m assuming I need to explain things a little here. Yes, you saw my BBC report, but you only saw 15 seconds, or possibly 2 minutes from a 30 minute interview. No, not having the correct cot was NOT traumatic, it was a pain to be honest but I am not saying that it was traumatic. The cot thing was in response to a question about the after care I received, what happened when I was put back on the ward. I said that there was no care in regards to the way that the hopsital discharged me early and with no pain relief. I did NOT say that the midwives did not provide care. That is simply not the case. The midwives were fantastic. Unfortunately that was not included in the small part you saw.
      If its ok, I slightly resent your question of whether or not I have ever considered what would have happened if I did not have an emergency section. Do you not think that hardly a day goes by without me thanking my lucky stars that they saved my son’s life? I have had two emergency sections and I know that each time they were absolutely necessary to save the lives of my babies. The sections alone were NOT the reasons for my trauma. I have written about the reasons why I felt my son’s birth was traumatic. I don’t feel I need to explain them all again. It might be worth pointing out that trauma is in the eye of the beholder. One person’s walk in the park may be another person’s hell. As only my husband and I are aware of what happened and how we felt about it I think it is really unfair to imply that I am not allowed to feel upset about it all. I do appreciate you asking how I felt the birth was traumatic, however, as I don’t think the clip that was broadcast paints the whole picture. I assume you were aware that TV is edited a lot.
      Finally, thanks for your comments, however upsetting I may have found them. Yes, the midwives at the hospital may be feeling a little low today but I sincerely hope they haven’t been feeling as utterly low as I have for the last 18 months or so.

    • If you read several other posts that have been written to explain both her children’s birth stories then you will understand the trauma that she underwent. It was fairly obvious from the BBC report that it had been edited in places and that many of the main points had been missed out.

      Having undergone a horrendous labour where wrong decisions were made from start to finish and the staff did not listen to what I was saying, I find GWM’s support through her own experiences a huge comfort.

  5. Many thanks for your reply. What appears to be lessons that need to learnt is that the TV edits stories as they wish and sadly its made you look like you are nit picking over silly things like the cot. You said you had no care but didnt qualify it with a reason why.

    I just hope the NHS trust in question agreed to your interview as if not you may need legal assistance. I work in this field and may be able to link you to a good solicitor in your area.

    • I have pondered all day whether or not to respond, and usually don’t give things like this the time of day, but I feel obligated to add a comment here for Sarah or I fear you will continue to leave inappropriate, ill-founded comments on the sites of other people who suffer all manner of birth related trauma. Who knows, maybe personal attacks whist you hide behind relative anonymity is something you get a kick out of. Regardless, I wish to extend two points of view before I leave you to the rest of your life.

      Firstly, whatever your definition of “trauma” is, and our interpretation of this is largely irrelevant. You are in no way qualified to tell us how to feel or how to deal with it. Do you honestly think ghostwritermummy would have gone to all this trouble, effort and personal exposure if all we had experienced was the wrong cot? Seriously, think about that for a second.

      My second point is that I should have to seriously question someone’s moral compass when they add personal comments on a site they have not bothered to read and understand. And to add comments anonymously as you have done is nothing short of cowardly.

      This report could generate some really interesting discussions and debates, and I genuinely hope that it does. Just probably not involving you.

  6. I’m assuming that Sarah is the kind of person that would say “what exactly have you got to be depressed about?” to women with post natal depression. I’ts pure ignorance. I thought you made your points in the interview extremely well, with diplomacy and grace. Women have to face enough bitching in life – what a sad shame that the ‘sarah’s’ of this world let the sex and motherhood down by nit-picking one womans brave story and completely valid comments. Things absolutely do need to improve in terms of mid-wife staffing AND CARE!

    Well done to GWM for speaking out so succinctly. Please remember – you have helped far, far more women than you have “offended.”

    P.S Call it a hunch – but I’m prety sure the BBC have had a little bit of practice with news interviews. I think they’ll have the legalities covered! ;-D xxx

  7. You know nothing about me, or the things I have suffered.
    Sometimes you should be thankful for what you have and other people have not.

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