Post-traumatic stress disorder. I recognize well what you're talking about - went through it, too. >>big hugs to you, Patricia. The pain & anger will subside. As I stated in another post, one book that I found very helpful is called "The Hidden Feelings of Motherhood: Coping with Stress, Depression, and Burnout" by Kathleen Kendall-Tackett. She talks a lot about trauma in birth & depression, the medical model of birth....
It wasn't your fault.
I really can relate to this. My son was a planned home birth but was born by cesarean after a very long, traumatic labor with snowballing interventions. My physical healing didn't take nearly as long as everything else, and sometimes I still struggle with those negative, disappointed, nagging feelings. I'm preparing for my second birth though, and have every reason to believe this time it will be better!
Hang in there. While it's true that a birth shapes a lot of things, it can be overcome. Don't dwell on what happened to you before, but use it to better shape your next birth experience. Good luck!
We really feel for you. Have you looked into finding a local ICAN chapter in your area? We have heard a lot of great feedback from women in your situation who attended ICAN meetings and became involved in helping other women heal from PTSD. There are also therapists who specialize in treating women with post-partum PTSD. We know of a good one and will ask her to comment on your story as well. You should start a group on the site for women recovering from traumatic birth experiences so that we can also help provide you with resources. You will recover and be stronger for it. You may even end up becoming a birth activist! xxAbby & Ricki
Abby mentioned me in her response to you regarding PTSD and psychotherapy. I specialize my psychotherapy practice in working with women and their developing families- preconception through post-partum. I'm wondering if you have had the opportunity to work with someone who specializes in traumatic birth issues in an effort to process, understand, and make meaning of the birth experience you and your daughter went through 15 months ago. In my experience, the more one investigates these kinds of traumas in a mindful way at whatever pace feels comfortable, the freer mothers are to be present with their babies- which invariably impacts attachment/bonding and the health of their burgeoning relationship. It sounds like the trauma left you feeling quite distant from your body and perhaps holding on to the "baby weight" is interconnected. Psychic and bodily trauma can very easily be transmitted generationally- meaning that daughters may begin to intuit or outright see/feel the mothers dis-ease within her body especially if these struggles fester. Your sharing of your birth story gives me the sense that you are open to healing and learning. I'm not sure where you live but I would be happy to help you find someone to work with if you feel that might be helpful. My contact information can be found on my website: www.drjessicazucker.com
God Bless you Sweetheart. You're in the right place for support.
I just visited this site for the first time and read your email and it gave me goosebumps...it sounds a lot like how I feel. I, too, have "flashbacks" and often start crying in the middle of the night thinking about my delivery, which was almost a year ago now. I've never heard the expression "traumatic birth experience survivor" or thought of my state as post-traumatic stress, but that's how I feel. The hardest part is having those feelings unvalidated. Even friends who had their own unpleasant birth experiences told me, "Well, join the club...we all have our labour stories" and didn't want to hear anything more about it. When I tried to talk to family members they told me I should just be grateful that everyone came through it healthily. So I have felt that all the anger and sadness I have been feeling are wrong. I try to be grateful, but I don't know how to move past these negative feelings and just enjoy my baby. Instead I keep obsessing about that 24 hour period a year ago! Anyway, visiting this site and seeing your story might be a start. Thank you. --Pam