This is what I want you to know about birth trauma.

I didn’t choose this. This didn’t choose me. It just happened. One moment we were fine, and the next there were tubes down my throat and wires in my body and silence screaming into the stillness of the room. One minute voices, the next nothing. One minute feet pounding on the floor and the next, only the softness of floating. One minute pushing, the next being cut open.

One minute life was normal, the next it was not. Cannot ever be again.

But it was nobody’s fault in the end. A catalogue of disasters. A string of mistakes. A collection of bad decisions. A life, paused.

And this is what I want you to know.

what I want you to know about birth

Sometimes, I might not answer your text. Most times I won’t pick up your call. Usually I won’t want to meet face to face. It isn’t you. It isn’t me. It’s just the way it is.

And this is what I want you to know. 

I can’t always feel excitement when a new pregnancy is announced. It might take me some time to congratulate you, or it might be spontaneous yet filled with sadness. I can’t always stay in the room when the conversations slides around to labour and birth and how many stitches and what medication and how many pushes and the state of your pelvic floor… I can’t always listen, or contribute to your tales. I can’t always be here, unwavering, unrelenting and unconditionally.

And this is what I want you to know.

You don’t need to pity me. Listen to me instead, and show kindness and compassion. Don’t compare your journey with mine; we’re two different people and our lives will never be the same. Don’t assume that what you have been through is more or less important. Just appreciate that I have a path behind me, and so do you. And remember we also have a path ahead of us. If you want ours to cross some day, please don’t give up. Don’t push me away. Don’t take me for granted. Don’t assume that time has healed.

And this is what I know you will never know.

How it feels to be me.

How it feels to see that room each time my eyes close.

How it feels to remember the white hot panic as the theatre doors crash open.

How it feels to look down, to see a baby by my side and want nothing more than to turn away.

But this is what you already know.

I will not give up. I will not let what’s happened be the thing that defines me. I will not give up on you, either.