I don’t dream about his birth any more. I dream instead about the feelings his birth have left me with. In my dreams I am scared and I am anxious. In my dreams I am angry and I am frustrated. In my dreams, I am alone.
Almost seven years ago he was ripped from my body and the world came tumbling down.
Nothing was the same any more. Nothing made sense. Nothing was carefree. Instead, everything changed. Everything was wrong. Everything was hard.
Trying to explain what birth trauma has done is really hard. When people believe that I should be happy that my baby came home with me I have to turn away. When people believe that what they have been through is so much worse than anything I can ever imagine I may agree, but again I have to turn away. When people are intent on disregarding my feelings, my experiences and my journey I HAVE TO TURN AWAY.
Because when my world came tumbling down, tiny pieces of me came with it. Pieces of my heart, shattered into shards that pierced my body and rattled inside my head. Day and night. I thought I was doing the right thing by caring, by throwing myself into causes and by believing what I was doing was worthwhile. In the end, what I should have been doing was looking out for me. Protecting me. Rebuilding me.
Mental health issues after birth trauma need to be spoken about. We need to gather our strength and we need to keep on fighting it. Making people see it. Making people hear us. Making our voices loud and clear. We need to do this because there is still so much silence. So much misunderstanding. So many taboos that need to be smashed.
Today, with just four sessions of counselling behind me, I know that I am still right down there at the bottom of the path. I know that there is so much I still need to do. So many hard days ahead of me. But I also know that there are so many bad days behind me too. I know that while the path ahead of me may be long, the ground already covered is rich and worthy too. I have come so far already, and I will continue.
I have yet to write up my day at the Women’s Voices conference. I have yet to put into words how inspirational and empowering it was to be amongst so many brave women. I have yet to let it all sink it. At the moment I am preparing for a presentation at a birth trauma conference, and an event at the House of Commons to raise awareness of maternal mental health. This is where my journey is taking me right now. Because when my world came tumbling down, what else was there to do but build it back up again?