We’d been there for hours and the room was crowded and I could feel the strength of my resolve slipping through my fingers. I could see the people around me but their outlines were blurred and they moved so fast . It was impossible to keep up. To take it all in. I couldn’t do it. Too tired. Too scared. And then they were pushing up the bars with a BANG and rubber soles were hitting the floor with squeaks. And blurry faces were covered with masks and words were being thrown over my head and everything started to slip away. And that was the longest silence I ever heard.
As the beep beep beeps of my son’s little heart began to die away.
And only silence followed.
In the time where his heart should have filled the room, there was only silence.
And in the space where my heart should have been there was only silence. A black hole. A void. Gone. He was gone, I was sure. (more…)
My son was born six years ago. When he was four days old, I googled ‘birth was horrific‘ because I was looking for some kind of reassurance that I wasn’t alone. That what I’d been through wasn’t unique to me. That my experience didn’t make me a freak of nature. Until then I had no idea that birth could be like that. No idea that I would be scared, battered, bruised and alone. No idea that the word horrific could even be associated with what I’d been assured would be one of the most amazing life events I’d ever experience. And I discovered a new phrase. A phrase that summed up what had happened to me. A phrase that made me feel sick. A phrase that since went on to fuel me.
I’d had a traumatic birth. And so had other women. I was suffering the after effects and had many signs of PTSD already. There was a reason I was feeling this way.
When he was ten months old, I started to blog. And this blog became the sounding board for all the horrible things I was feeling. The sleepless nights. The anger. The isolation. And not long after this I signed up to be a media volunteer for the Birth Trauma Association. I wanted to tell my story so that changes could be made. So that other women knew they weren’t alone either. So that birth trauma would not be a phrase that made my skin crawl. It would empower, educate and unit instead. (more…)
It’s been pretty quite over here. It hasn’t been intentional. Sometimes the fog drops so low that I cannot make my fingers type out the words in my head. Sometimes I crave space, and time. Sometimes I simply cannot imagine writing it at all.
Time to come in, out of the dark.
Last week something pretty wonderful happened. I was shortlisted for the Seraphine Mums Voice award in the Tommy’s baby awards. I’ll be attending the ceremony in March, along with wonderful friends Jenny and Leigh. To be a finalist in these awards has made me realise that this is not over. How can it be, when so many women and their families are still suffering the same as me, still sitting in the dark?
I’ve always been honest about my experiences. I’ve written about birth trauma, HG and IUGR because I needed to. I needed to share, to lessen the load. But it’s different now. Because in sharing I found I was helping, if only in a small way.
You are not alone.
You are not going crazy.
You do deserve answers. (more…)
When I was eight years old, I got stuck in a lift in Malta. It was a really old, rusty, shuddering lift with plenty of previous ‘incidents’ under it’s belt, so it really should not have come as any great surprise. I was alone. I’d convinced my parents to let me run up to the hotel room by myself to get something- I don’t remember what- and I’d promised not to use the lift. But I really wanted to use that lift! I really wanted to prove I could do it. I was brave enough. I was prepared. I’d seen my parents jam their fingers on two buttons at once to get the lift to creak and groan it’s way to the next floor. I’d seen them step down carefully, avoiding the inner mechanisms of the lift shaft. I was more than convinced I could do it too, should the lift stop for me. Which I was sure it wouldn’t.
But it did.
Standing alone in that lift, the lights started to flicker a little before pop! All was dim and still. It was daytime, but not inside that lift. An emergency light may have come on at this point, as in my memory the light in the lift was a dull green. I quickly pressed the alarm button, and then two other buttons at the same time, expecting the lift to carry on it’s reluctant journey to the next floor. It didn’t move!
I suppose being eight years old, my perception of this situation was a little out. Immediately, I was terrified. Nobody answered my alarm call. The lift was stifling hot- air conditioning wasn’t on the agenda in Malta in the early 80s. The lift was silent and imposing. The small space around me was growing smaller by the second, and I was all alone. I started to cry, to shout for help. My finger pressed down on the alarm button again and again, but I had no way of knowing if it was even working as all I could hear was an eerie silence. The odd crack or groan from the wires that held the lift, and me, suspended in mid air. Was the lift going to fall? Would the doors open to reveal a gaping black hole of nothing? Would anyone ever come to rescue me? (more…)