When birth trauma creeps up on you

Sometimes things in life creep up on you. You don’t see them lurking around the corner, breathing silently in the deep of the night.

Waiting

Watching

You don’t realise that all the things you’ve been saying and writing and believing are not actually true. None of it. Or some of it. It’s all so muddled you’re not actually sure any more.

And yes. Yes, sleep deprivation makes it worse. Sleep deprivation makes everything a lot worse. But sleep deprivation doesn’t change the facts.

I’ve been here before. I’ve felt this gnawing, throbbing anxiety and I’ve touched the edge of the darkness too. And after The Toddler was born, I truly believed that it was all over. Ended. But it seems that burying doesn’t make things disappear after all.

When birth trauma creeps up on you~ Ghostwritermummy.co.uk

There are many similarities between my second and my fourth pregnancy. The sickness, the uncertainty. The failed VBAC. The lying on an operating table and not wanting to be there, not feeling in control. The dark days afterwards where all you can do is cry. Look at your baby, and cry.

I love them no less. I am allowed to feel this way. I am allowed to mourn the pregnancy that was not what I’d hoped. I’m allowed to mourn the birth that I never had, and never will have. And though I know that some of you will not understand, will believe that a healthy baby means that all was ok- that is ok too. You cannot understand unless you have been inside my skin.

I did not want a knife held against me again. I did not want to lie shaking on a table in a cold, sterile room. I did not want to feel that burning white hot pain slashed across my stomach again. I did not want to be scared to sit up. I did not want to scream silently with every step I took. I did not want to look back at my pregnancy and feel such an immense sadness. I did not want birth trauma to creep up on me again.

I knew it the day I realised there were no photos of Elsie and I. More noticeably, the photo I refused to have taken when my son was born (that shot everyone has, right after birth in the hospital bed. Holding baby, smiling.) I had once again refused to have taken. That realisation broke my heart. No photos of Elsie and I. No reminder that I had done it. I had birthed her, one way or another. I had done it. And I had the photo to prove it. Four children, and only one such photo.

And while days may be bleak, I know that they will get better. My health visitor has been wonderful and despite catching me on a very bad day she seems to get it. I need time. And understanding.

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34 Comments

  1. December 21, 2014 / 7:13 am

    I’m glad that your health visitor is being so good and I hope that with time and understanding you can find some peace with it all. I won’t pretend to ‘get it’, but having previously experienced very dark days for other reasons myself, I understand how suffocating it is xx
    Hannah Budding Smiles recently posted..Toby’s Weaning Stories – Week ThreeMy Profile

    • ghostwritermummy
      Author
      December 21, 2014 / 4:23 pm

      Thanks lovely x xx x

  2. vicky
    December 21, 2014 / 7:44 am

    You convey your feelings and thoughts so beautiful. I am led in hospital looking at my rainbow baby who is 36 hours old. He was born at 36 weeks due to IUGR. I had the most traumatic birth following induction. Even now I am starting to feel cross for me and cross for my baby that it happened that way. The midwife performing my induction failed us, as of yet I am not sure what to do about it but at some point I need answers xx

    • ghostwritermummy
      Author
      December 21, 2014 / 4:22 pm

      congratulations on your rainbow baby 🙂 Elsie was also IUGR but we made it to 37 weeks. I am so sorry your induction was so traumatic. When you’re ready, do ask for a debrief so that you can try to get the answers you need. In the meantime, check out the Birth Trauma Association facebook group for support x x x

      • vicky
        December 26, 2014 / 8:37 pm

        Thank you ! Elsie is beautiful

  3. December 21, 2014 / 12:05 pm

    Massive hug.

    Following my section I have no idea how I will deal with it all next time. I am realistic to the chances and outcomes in a way I wasn’t when I started labouring with L. But those dark days, those painful steps, that mourning, it is horrid but you and I know it passes. Time is a piece of string which is as long as you need it to be. Don’t rush yourself. Be kind to yourself.

    And yes that missing photo will always be with us but we don’t need a photo to prove we’ve birthed our babies.

    Hug.
    Mummy Morkus recently posted..Traditionally does itMy Profile

    • ghostwritermummy
      Author
      December 21, 2014 / 4:20 pm

      Thanks lovely. It is horrid and I do know that it passes eventually. I like the idea that time is a piece of string. Lots of love to you x x x

  4. December 21, 2014 / 12:51 pm

    I really feel for you my lovely. Luckily, you have a good health visitor who gets it. I am sending you lots of virtual hugs. Look after yourself. xx
    Mel recently posted..My Sunday Photo – 21 December 2014My Profile

    • ghostwritermummy
      Author
      December 21, 2014 / 4:19 pm

      THanks lovely x x x

    • ghostwritermummy
      Author
      December 21, 2014 / 9:32 pm

      Thanks lovely. Hope you’re well x x x

  5. December 21, 2014 / 8:37 pm

    So glad you have a wonderful health visitor that gets it. I think that’s so so important. I hope the trauma this time is something that has closure reached more easily than last time. I remember it hit me like a tonne of bricks a bit later and it took me a while to pluck up the courage to go to my gp and tell her. Her response was “feeling a bit moody are we?” And that was it. I hope your health visitor holds your hand through this journey and you heal well through it xx
    Not my year off recently posted..Getting the resultsMy Profile

    • ghostwritermummy
      Author
      December 21, 2014 / 9:34 pm

      Oh my goodness how crushing that must have been! I had a similar experience and my GP told me that I shouldn’t be upset because I “couldn’t control my womb” which is just ridiculous!! It makes me so mad when women reach out for help and are slapped down like that x x x x

  6. December 21, 2014 / 10:28 pm

    such a touching post, I’ve never thought about C Sections before as I’ve had both of my boys naturally but this post has really made me think about it & how it can affect people. I won’t pretend to understand how you feel but you have opened my eyes xx
    Gym Bunny Mummy recently posted..The Sleep ThiefMy Profile

    • ghostwritermummy
      Author
      December 22, 2014 / 7:32 am

      I only know c section births and I’ve had 4 very different ones, all with good outcomes thankfully 🙂 Thank you for your comment, have a lovely Christmas x x x

  7. December 21, 2014 / 10:33 pm

    Oh, lovely, I am so sorry you’re feeling like this, but so glad you have a good health visitor. I didn’t realise how traumatised I’d been with my first until I had my second and thought, oh, this is how it’s supposed to be. Even though that was a section too, I had made the decision, so I felt I had taken back control. To have had the decision made for you again must be so hard. Huge hugs, take care of yourself and I hope you have a wonderful Christmas xx
    Sara (@mumturnedmom) recently posted..Silent Sunday: 21 December 2014My Profile

    • ghostwritermummy
      Author
      December 22, 2014 / 7:31 am

      Thanks lovely, hope you have a lovely Christmas too x x x

  8. December 22, 2014 / 7:15 am

    Oh darling I’m so sorry. After everything you’ve been through please be kind to yourself, give yourself the time and space to heal in every way. I know how debilitating it can be, the black days do creep up on you. I’m glad your health visitor gets it – you need that support. And love the idea of time as a piece of string too, there will be wiggly bits to get over but I hope you can eventually, one day, make peace with this. Much love to you and yours this Christmas x x
    Michelle Reeves (bodfortea) recently posted..Luckily I broke my hand yesterdayMy Profile

    • ghostwritermummy
      Author
      December 22, 2014 / 7:30 am

      Thanks lovely x x x

  9. December 22, 2014 / 9:39 am

    So sorry that you are struggling with the feelings that Elsie’s birth have brought up and really glad to hear that your health visitor is being so supportive. Sending big virtual hugs your way and hope that things start to seem less bleak for you very soon xxx
    Louise recently posted..Review: The King’s Sister – Anne O’BrienMy Profile

    • ghostwritermummy
      Author
      December 22, 2014 / 6:55 pm

      Thank you so much 🙂 x x x

  10. December 22, 2014 / 6:29 pm

    It kind of broke my heart a little when you said you never had “that” picture. I almost didn’t get mine. Giving birth is such an immense thing but afterwards you are thrown into the all-consuming-ness of a newborn and you rarely get a chance to process any feelings. Glad you are dealing with it now and that you have help. x

    • ghostwritermummy
      Author
      December 22, 2014 / 6:53 pm

      ITs funny how little things come back to you when you least expect it, ins’t it? Thank you for your lovely comment x x

  11. December 22, 2014 / 9:00 pm

    Thinking of you sweetpea and so glad you have the support of a good health visitor, so important. I felt a counsellor helped me so much after Oliver (although took me 10 months to feel strong enough to see one when I was turned away from my GP)-he really helped me deal with the trauma of OC and my crash section and helped me to heal and have another baby. Although I loved my second elective and felt in control, I know for so many such as you, this isn’t the case or what you wanted. Sending you so much love, be kind to yourself xx
    Honest mum recently posted..Doctor Care AnywhereMy Profile

  12. December 22, 2014 / 11:08 pm

    I send you a really huge hug, your pregnancies and births should have been as you wanted them to be. But of course, the best of being pregnant is the final result, the baby! The process, more or less beautiful, is something secondary, and you have four wonderful “final results”! 🙂
    Lily Lau recently posted..World’s Most Expensive Suits for MenMy Profile

  13. December 31, 2014 / 9:34 pm

    This post really resonates with me.

    As you know, we had our babies days apart. Both by caesarean – yours planned, mine a result of NHS incompetence. It was such a disappointment. I just wanted to post and say that I’m feeling it too, on a similar timeline to you. We’re both here, and we’ll both get through it. And I’m sorry that it happened this way for both of us.

    If you’d like to talk, I’m here.

    • ghostwritermummy
      Author
      January 1, 2015 / 3:21 pm

      Oh I’m so sorry your birth didn’t go the way you wanted it. I’ve had 2 emergency sections now, the second being totally horrific and a huge catalogue of errors too. Likewise- if you need to talk I’m here x x x

  14. Laura Wood
    March 20, 2015 / 9:06 pm

    It’s shit, isn’t it? I’m sorry. I have no wise words but know that you are not the only one to feel this way.

    • ghostwritermummy
      Author
      March 22, 2015 / 9:41 pm

      Yes, it really is! x x

  15. March 21, 2015 / 8:24 am

    I wish birth trauma was more recognised – there are so many of us who suffer silently, getting shot down if we do try to open up about it. Beautifully written as always xxx
    Another Bun recently posted..My Postpartum Body.My Profile

    • ghostwritermummy
      Author
      March 22, 2015 / 9:19 pm

      I wish it was too. I really hope more of us start to open up about it so that those who can’t feel less alone x x x

  16. March 31, 2015 / 4:52 am

    Love your honesty. It’s helpful to read about birth trauma and it’s impact. So many are born all the time, and it doesn’t give enough time for many to see what a massive deal birthing is, except of course it’s happening to you. So sad you didn’t have the pregnancy and birth you want, but so brave that you’re raising awareness, and nurturing your children nonetheless … as you come to terms with what you went through to give life to so many. #MaternityMatters
    Adventures of a Novice Mum recently posted..My Sunday Photo 29Mar15My Profile

    • ghostwritermummy
      Author
      April 2, 2015 / 9:32 am

      Thank you. I think you’re right- to many it is just one day. But to some it is a day that leaves an impact forever x x x

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