... as a traumatic birth experience survivor. I was induced, and it was all downhill from there!

I saw the film just this morning [Showtime on demand], and it has literally begun to change my life. I've always heard people say that about songs, movies, books... and now, I get it.

It's been over 15 months since I gave birth to my daughter, and I've been dealing with the pain, confusion, guilt, anger... mental and physical chaos, ever since. I'm on two anti-depressants, something I never needed before, I have trouble sleeping, the whole nine. I haven't even lost the baby weight yet. Any of it.

After months of feeling helpless, hopeless, and just plain sad, I now feel: empowered, angry, and determined!

I'm writing myself a book, to help the pain I've been trying to hide from these past months, just to get it all out of me! I'm tired of my daughter's birth, which was supposed to be a cherished memory, coming to me in flashback form, like I've been through a war.

The birth experience should be something natural that you are doing, not something that is being done TO you!

Thank you so very much for the work you are doing for mothers and babies.

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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.
Thank you so very much. :)

Saara said:
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!
Thank you. It's so nice to know I am not alone.


Rebecca Richardson said:
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!
Patricia...

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
I will look into ICAN. I had no idea there were support groups for this. Fantastic.

Yes, I am definitely getting more "activistish" with each passing hour. I'm actually starting an online Human Services degree program, as well as a weekend Medical Assisting course. I had been laughing at myself, because the two didn't seem at all related; however, now I'm thinking the combo could turn out to be a very good thing for me. :-)

Thank you so very much for your work, and your comfort, Abby.

Blessings,
Patricia

Abby Epstein said:
Patricia...

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
Patricia,
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.
Thank you very much for your reply. I live in the Sacramento/Folsom area of California.

My husband is a Therapist (and is actually trained in dealing with PTSD), so I can have him look into what/who is available in our area. I think he has kind of an "in." ;-)

I really appreciate your time and caring.

Blessings,
Patricia/Patty



Dr. Jessica Zucker said:
Patricia,
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
Thank you. I think so, too. :-)

God bless you,
Patricia/Patty

Alice Trask said:
God Bless you Sweetheart. You're in the right place for support.
Patricia,

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
Hi Pam,

I understand where you're coming from, I used to get the "mine sucked too... oh well," "just be thankful," or even "get over it!" answer 99% of the time. After watching this film, however, I feel more... justified, I guess you could say, and I'm growing less afraid to speak up.

Thank you so much for sharing your story and feelings with me. I think the biggest part of this healing process is knowing you are not alone.

Patricia




PKC said:
Patricia,

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

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