PTSD After Childbirth | Birth Trauma | MOTHERHOOD
‘How my experience of birth trauma changed me forever’
To mark World Mental Health Day, vlogger and author Vicki Psarias AKA Honest Mum speaks about how a difficult childbirth transformed her life
My son was born in 2010 and the life changing circumstances of his birth are something I’ve revisited over the years on my blog Honest Mum, such was the impact on my life.
Oliver is now 7, my bambi eyed firstborn son, a boy that if I’m honest, I only got to properly enjoy when he turned 10 months old. His was a deeply traumatic birth, a post induction and a crash section, or emergency as it’s more commonly known ( although ‘crash’ is far more accurate a description of that manic rush to theatre in deep panic, the not knowing, the overwhelming sense of, ‘this isn’t how it was meant to be’, the loss of control, the trauma… The pain). Following his birth, I felt I was drowning rather than living through the movie-like promise of motherhood I’d been fed my whole life
It took me five years to finally find the courage to write about my experience of birth trauma, to be able to process and share the pain from a place of renewed strength and understanding. Perhaps not surprisingly, the post became one of my most-read with thousands of women admitting it struck a cord with them too.
I was diagnosed with the pregnancy liver condition ICP at 8 months pregnant, a mostly baffling pregnancy condition in dire need of further research, which meant constant blood tests, ambiguous advice and overwhelming worry towards the end of my pregnancy. I still mourn that lost first year of his life, the one I felt I should have relished, the one I thought I’d prepared for. I mourn that stolen time, where I operated in survival mode, an empty shell of a mother who should have felt more joy.
I was scared to admit how dark those times felt or how alone and lonely I was, I’m not sure I’ve ever felt worse than after his birth, particularly when my husband returned to work following his two weeks of leave.
I could barely walk post-op, let alone think or ask for help, a colicky baby attached to me 24/7 who’d often cry for 6 hours straight and hated sleep, meant I had no time to inhale, to pause or ask for help.
Understandably, but frustratingly, I found myself in a body I no longer recognised, bruised from surgery, wobbly from pregnancy, tired and aching.
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