PTSD – Being a mother after the birth

I suffered during Master D’s birth. Suffered a lot. I had an emergency c-section. I felt them cutting me open. A post for another time.

After his birth, I had nightmares. I dreaded going to sleep. I would wake up crying, or screaming. I would relive the pain. I felt the burning. Felt the cutting. I was jumpy. The phone would ring, and I would literally jump, and burst into tears. I hated seeing people. Crowds would seem overwhelming. Even the supermarket seemed too much.

“PTSD makes you disconnected, you know that? From everything. You have to be. If you connect all day, with everything, it will fry your brain and leave you a sobbing heap.”*

I was suffering from PTSD, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, but worse, I didn’t know it.

I thought there was something wrong with me. Other people had babies, and coped, why couldn’t I?

I tried talking to my midwife. She told me that it was normal to feel ‘odd’ after having a baby. She made me feel like I was overreacting. She discharged me after the usual time, and congratulated me on being such a good mother. She left that day, and I cried. I balled.

When Master D has his 12 week immunisations done, I tried talking to the nurse there. She told me it took time to settle into life after a baby. She made me feel like I was overreacting. She told me I was clearly doing something right, as Master D was such a happy baby. I drove home that day in tears.

I tried talking to my then-husband. He listened quietly. Offered no help, no solutions, no thoughts. I felt like I was overreacting.

Everywhere I turned I felt like I was hitting a stone wall. I started doubting myself. I guess I was overreacting. I guess waking up screaming at night is normal. I guess being unable to get out of the car at the supermarket, as the idea of seeing people is just too much, is normal. I guess not eating all day, because even the thought of eating makes you feel sick, is normal. I guess loving your baby so much that you tried so hard to look normal to the outside world, is normal.

Problem was, it wasn’t. I needed help and I didn’t get it.

* Lori from Random Ramblings of a SAHM

Mrs K

Coke Zero addict, knitter, crocheter, fat, fabulous, fluffy mama.

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12 Responses

  1. B. says:

    Have you since spoken to a professional about this?  I know a little about PTSD and I know there is more to it than the "fight or flight " response.  There is also the "freeze" response in which you can not run away and you can't fight. Your brain, the part that stores memory gets *stuck* in the freeze response.  The thing is you can get out of the freeze with help.   I recommend that you *do* talk to someone who will listen to you.  Ask them if they know and work with people who are in freeze.  What you experienced is not normal and I am sorry you did not get the help you asked for.

  2. Ms Kate says:

    Thank you for your response.
    Yes, I am seeing a professional at the moment. It's actually due to her that I'm now able to talk about it. I haven't felt able too before now, since that time. It took a huge life change (separation) to get the help I needed.

  3. Miriam says:

    What an incredibly traumatising time for you. As someone who has no idea how that must be I wonder how the people in your life can help and support you in the right ways. I can imagine I might fall into 'encouragement mode' – your baby is doing so well you are doing a great job and not realise that, that could make a person suffering with PTSD feel like you thought they were over-reacting. Does that make sense? I hope you now feel there are avenues in your life to get support whenever you need it.

  4. Krystyn says:

    I see in the comments that you are getting help.  I'm so glad somebody is listening to you.  PTSD and PPD are very serious and it's scary that people ignore it.

  5. Ms Kate says:

    Miriam, thank you for your comment. You are right, looking back I'm sure people thought they were saying the right thing, I guess not knowing how bad it was, or that I really needed help. I wish there was a way I could help others going through something like this.

  6. Ms Kate says:

    Thank you, it was a pretty scary time in my life.

  7. Doreen says:

    I am so glad you are getting the help you need.  I still fight with PTSD after 10 years.  Some days, weeks and months are good and some are not.  I wish you the best:)

  8. Ms Kate says:

    Thank you Doreen. It's a rough road.

  9. MadamBipolar says:

    Surely those nurses would have seen your medical history? Instead they patronised you when you were really ill. I am so sorry this happened. Is it an issue of training? Do some health professionals not get enough? Mental health issues are so common that I can't believe they get missed so often. xxx

  10. Ms Kate says:

    To be honest I'm not sure what kind of 'hand over' they get. So I'm not sure if they did know my history, but when I talked to her, I told her what had happened to me. It was all very rushed, very much a brush-off, like i just wasn't important. I haven't really talked about it til now, it was all too raw, too fresh. It wasn't til I saw a therapist a few months ago that I started to realise what had happened to me!

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