birth trauma

Post Natal Anxiety: Time to Talk

I posted recently about finally stepping into the GP’s office and walking away with a label around my neck. Post Natal Depression. It hasn’t sat well. It’s off centre, like a pendant too heavy on a delicate chain. Swinging, useless, lopsided and ugly. The wrong label. A little bit off. I couldn’t really explain it, but my heart was saying no. And then I remembered that I’d been there before. In the early days after my son was born, and they told me I had PND and I argued, and they told me over and over again that I was wrong. Back then I stuck to my guns, and those around me who knew me best agreed. Not depression, something else. Something far too complicated to deal with maybe. And so this time, too, the label doesn’t quite fit, and I’m not the only one to believe it.

With my first Think Positive counselling session behind me, I am more assured and more confident that I have not lost all sight of myself. I don’t know why a professional opinion on the state of my mental health means more than my own, but it does. We’re in agreement: post natal depression doesn’t sit right because it’s not right. I’m not depressed. I’m not.

post natal anxiety 1Post Natal Anxiety is my label now, and its of no great surprise at all. And so I am learning to talk about the things that make me anxious, and the reasons why they do. The hope is that I learn to deal with them in a different way, and re-learn how to think positively and with a clearer, more rational response.

I am at the beginning.
I cannot see the end of this tunnel.

No light, not yet. (more…)

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I Stayed Silent

When my son was born, the first few days were fairly horrific. I was only going through the motions, pretending to be a parent when inside I was dying. Inside I was crumbling, withering, cracking, splintering. I was simply unable to process what had happened- not difficult since I’d been forcibly (and without my knowledge) sent to sleep through what should have been one of the most amazing events of my life. Instead, almost seven years on and I am still suffering the after effects of this event. In one of my last posts I wrote about being diagnosed with post natal anxiety and possible depression, linking back to my son’s birth and triggered by Elsie’s stressful pregnancy. It’s all a bit of a mess. And the one question I was asked, again and again- and am still asked today- is this: Are you going to make a complaint? I didn’t. I stayed silent.

http://www.first4seriousinjury.com/types-of-serious-injury/pregnancy-birth-claims/I don’t know whether this was the right thing to do or not. I’ve written about this before, and I still am unsure about whether or not it would have made any difference. What nags at me is the fact that if I had spoken up, fewer subsequent mistakes may have been made with other women. But if I had spoken up, what would it have been like for me and my family, having to re-live it all again so publicly? Re-living it at all was bad enough, in the dead of night with my loved ones sleeping around me. The thought of doing it in a cold, stark room filled with strangers made me want to shut down completely.

So I didn’t complain. I stayed silent. And in seven years I still have not really spoken about what happened. I’ve written, here and in other places. But I have not been able to talk out loud. That needs to change. That will  change as I prepare to speak about my experiences at the Women’s Voices conference in October, and a Birth Trauma conference in December. I will find the strength from somewhere, and I will share my story. (more…)

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My Journey Has Only Just Begun

I didn't complain~ #birthtrauma :ghostwritermummy.co.uk

I’ve fallen down before, many times. And each time I’ve risen again. Maybe not quite dusted myself off, but risen none the less. Maybe on shaky legs and tentative toes, but risen none the less. Maybe slowly, but surely none the less. And as I sit here tonight, thinking over the way today has gone, I’m starting to realise that this has been here all along. It’s no surprise, not really. It’s been lurking for months, years even. It’s been waiting for me to notice it. It’s been peeping around door frames and hiding under beds, waiting. Holding its breath, biding it’s time. Waiting, just waiting, for me to accept its prescience. And now that I have? I must get up.

I must go on. I am a mother and I must go on.

But first, a rest if I may.

I was feeling so cross with myself! I was sure, so sure, that my journey was almost complete. I didn’t know it was only just beginning. That my decisions had been holding me aback, preventing me from travelling further. Instead, I’ve been going around and around and around in circles. Chasing my tail like a faithful dog, so determined to show the world how strong I am and how far I’ve come. In reality though, I’m no different from every other mum who sits with her head in her hands as she admits, at last, that she’s a little bit broken.

Post natal anxiety.

Depression.

Exhaustion.

All of those things are ME. Me, the mum who decided three weeks was long enough to take for maternity leave, before getting back to the business of proving how strong and how capable she is. Me, who refused to seek help, insisting instead that writing was her therapy and she’ll sort her own way out of it all thank you very much. Me, who truly truly believed that she was actually ok.

It seems two pregnancies in a short space of time following a traumatic birth actually is enough to tip you over. A stressful pregnancy is enough. Months and months and months of broken and disturbed sleep. A child with health issues. A busy house. All the stuff that comes with being mum.

I want to be me, too. But I don’t know who that is right now. All I know is that my journey really is only just beginning.

17 Comments

I Won’t be Silenced

Those who ask aren’t you over it by now? Those who expect you to have moved on. Those who cannot fathom how something so minor can have such an effect on you, still. Those people? Those people will never get it. Those people will never understand. Those people may never be educated otherwise. Because to those people, what you went through was nothing. No big deal. No reason to complain. Or, it was so awful, so horrid and so terrifying that you should really be mindful of scaring other women. You cannot win.

I Wont Be Silenced_ghostwritermummy.co.ukYou cannot win because birth trauma already claimed the victory. While you were sleeping, or screaming, or crying, or nothing, birth trauma was there. Seeping through your life, into your being and around your soul. and it’s a long and lonely road. Because even I fall to get it sometimes. Even I struggle to comprehend the enormity, how much my life has changed. How much I have changed. And I’m sick, and tired, of feeling like I need to explain. Or apologise. Or pretend. And I’m so, so sick and tired of feeling this way. Of being embarrassed and ashamed of who I am. (more…)

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