or Connect
Mothering › Mothering Forums › Pregnancy and Birth › Birth and Beyond › Healing Birth Trauma › We Can't Just Snap Out Of It
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

We Can't Just Snap Out Of It

post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 
I just want people to understand this about birth trauma of all varieties. Healthy baby or no we can't just snap out of it and we can't stop our internal fight because if we were to stop the fight we'd lose the battle and become something we don't want- we'd sink deeper.

I know traumas (among other mental disorders) are hard to "get" but they are what they are. It's not as simple as just going and hugging our healthy babes or being thankful they/we are alive. How I wish it were! I wish the nightmares and the flashbacks and the anger and depression would just stop and go away so I could enjoy my family and my life. But I guess if it were that simple it wouldn't have been a trauma at all.

Birth trauma is not a bandwagon you jump on and off of. It's real and it's painful and it rips you to shreds no matter the particulars of your story. We're not all here because it's fun. We're not all here because our birth wasn't absolutely perfect. We're not all here because one itty bitty particular of our birth plan wasn't followed. We're here because all of us went through something horrible that no mother should have to go through. Could it be worse? It can always be worse. That's just no excuse for dismissing us or what happened to us.

I'm sorry but I just had to really get that out. I'm sick of hearing "just be thankful Olive is healthy". By God I am thankful!!! But that just doesn't excuse or erase what happened to me. It just doesn't.
post #2 of 19
Thank you, Maggie. You said what I've always felt, and said it well. Sometimes, I think people have the idea that I like feeling this way, or that I'm just wallowing or something...or that I must not love my babies if I hate the way they came into the world. It drives me batty.

Then, there's the other side of it now. Because I'm scheduling baby-under-construction as another cesarean, people think I'm just over it now. I'm not - not at all. I'm terrified. My reasons for scheduling are many and complicated...but I don't necessarily think it's right and I don't feel any better about it than I have the last four times...


I'm sorry you get this crap. I'm sorry anybody does. I honestly think the whole "you should be grateful" and "at least you have a healthy baby" stuff makes it even harder to get over the trauma, because society is constantly pushing this message that we shouldn't be traumatized in the first place. We're supposed to deny it, because if we're traumatized by having our babies, then we must not be good mothers. :
post #3 of 19
I feel that one of the worst aspects of the "just get over it" perspective is that it makes it hard for women to talk about what has happened and seek support and help.
post #4 of 19
Yes.

Also that it's hard for people to understand that you can HATE how your baby came into the world but still love your baby. My DH has trouble with that, along with many others, though few of them know what we went through. If I say "The day DD was born was the worst day of my life." which it was, he'll say something like "Don't say that. She's wonderful and you know you love her." Yes, of course I love her. But the day she arrived was a travesty. I can't be happy about it no matter how I try.
post #5 of 19
Well, I do hope all those who do have healthy babies are thankful for that. As someone who was told that they needed to find a place to bury their child, I promise, it could be worse. I do understand how scaring a terrible birth can be, (I had a horrible one) the tauma that comes from losing your childbecause of that birth is much much worse. I thank the Lord every single deay that at the literal last moment my daughter spared. But she is permantely handicapped from her birth, and that haunts me everyday.
post #6 of 19
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by fairejour View Post
Well, I do hope all those who do have healthy babies are thankful for that. As someone who was told that they needed to find a place to bury their child, I promise, it could be worse. I do understand how scaring a terrible birth can be, (I had a horrible one) the tauma that comes from losing your childbecause of that birth is much much worse. I thank the Lord every single deay that at the literal last moment my daughter spared. But she is permantely handicapped from her birth, and that haunts me everyday.


I can honestly say not a one of us isn't thankful for our healthy little ones. Still doesn't negate what happened to us. We just were spared the added trauma of child loss. We experienced trauma none the less.
post #7 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by magstphil View Post


I can honestly say not a one of us isn't thankful for our healthy little ones. Still doesn't negate what happened to us. We just were spared the added trauma of child loss. We experienced trauma none the less.
Exactly. Besides all that's been mentioned, I'm tired of people down playing my pain. Like comparing horror stories. Like telling a woman who was raped, "well at least you weren't killed like my sister was. You should count your lucky stars.... (in other words, "suck it up and snap out of it"). Or saying, "well at least you lost your babe at 7 weeks pregnant instead of losing him at 6 months of age like me...." That's not fair. Trauma is trauma.

I am truly blessed for my daughter. Still, the day she was born was the worst day of my life. Most people don't understand that.
post #8 of 19
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by MayBaby2007 View Post
Exactly. Besides all that's been mentioned, I'm tired of people down playing my pain. Like comparing horror stories. Like telling a woman who was raped, "well at least you weren't killed like my sister was. You should count your lucky stars.... (in other words, "suck it up and snap out of it"). Or saying, "well at least you lost your babe at 7 weeks pregnant instead of losing him at 6 months of age like me...." That's not fair. Trauma is trauma.


I also get told "at least you had a vaginal birth". And how do you respond to stuff like that? I don't want to hurt them because they are obviously feeling pain too which is why they lash out.
post #9 of 19

.


Edited by maotmsmi - 5/21/11 at 12:31pm
post #10 of 19
Thread Starter 
I agree Krista. When I told some friends I wasn't fighting the doc on his instance of a c-section for a breech twin they both came down on me with "how could you want a c-section?". But of course they did because a c-section was THEIR trauma. My trauma was different.

And honest to goodness I don't want to give birth at all vaginal, c-section, natural, drugged up, whatever. I don't want to do any of it. If only the myth of the stork were real....
post #11 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by fairejour View Post
Well, I do hope all those who do have healthy babies are thankful for that. As someone who was told that they needed to find a place to bury their child, I promise, it could be worse. I do understand how scaring a terrible birth can be, (I had a horrible one) the tauma that comes from losing your childbecause of that birth is much much worse. I thank the Lord every single deay that at the literal last moment my daughter spared. But she is permantely handicapped from her birth, and that haunts me everyday.
I lost my last baby. When I finally held him in my arms, he was cold, and had a flat, square bum from sitting in a morgue drawer. I'm more traumatized by my previous births after that loss, not less. The birth trauma and the loss of my son have caused cumulative emotional and psychological damage...it's not one replacing the other, it's one adding to the other.

I will never in my life tell anyone they should be thankful for their experiences when I don't know what they've endured to get there. I've had birth trauma ("emergency" c-section), secondary infertility, miscarriages, more birth trauma (more c-sections), a stillbirth after a long labour and another emergency c-section...and I know there are women who've had it worse than I have. That doesn't make my pain and my trauma less valid. It also doesn't mean that I get to shrug off the trauma and pain of those who haven't had it worse than me.
post #12 of 19
sorry to ask if this is a dumb question - but it seems to me that birth trauma could be connected or exacerbated by PPD - would it be appropriate to be screened for both? i know ppd has some treatment options that might help with the trauma.
post #13 of 19
The whole "at least you didn't [fill in the blank]" is so stupid and undermining. I'm sure we all know what could have gone even more wrong and sure, we're glad that didn't happen. But that doesn't mean you cannot mourn for what did happen. If we go by that reasoning, then really, don't we just have to have an election to find the woman in the world who has experienced the most horrible birth trauma ever, and let her be the only one who's allowed to mourn it?
post #14 of 19
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by hollycat View Post
sorry to ask if this is a dumb question - but it seems to me that birth trauma could be connected or exacerbated by PPD - would it be appropriate to be screened for both? i know ppd has some treatment options that might help with the trauma.
Birth trauma is in closer relation to PTSD than PPD. Treatment for PPD would not be adequate for most.

And : to the above.
post #15 of 19
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Storm Bride View Post
I lost my last baby. When I finally held him in my arms, he was cold, and had a flat, square bum from sitting in a morgue drawer. I'm more traumatized by my previous births after that loss, not less. The birth trauma and the loss of my son have caused cumulative emotional and psychological damage...it's not one replacing the other, it's one adding to the other.

I will never in my life tell anyone they should be thankful for their experiences when I don't know what they've endured to get there. I've had birth trauma ("emergency" c-section), secondary infertility, miscarriages, more birth trauma (more c-sections), a stillbirth after a long labour and another emergency c-section...and I know there are women who've had it worse than I have. That doesn't make my pain and my trauma less valid. It also doesn't mean that I get to shrug off the trauma and pain of those who haven't had it worse than me.
I'm so sorry, Lisa. I mean that.
post #16 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by MommytoC View Post
Trauma is trauma is trauma. I don't care how someone was traumatized. If someone was traumatized, then he or she was traumatized. There can be little traumas and there can be traumas with a humongous capital T. They each carry their own weight and significance for the affected person. Some traumas may be easier to handle than others, or maybe someone is more equipped to handle *that*type*of*trauma* than another, but is not equipped to handle another type.

<snip>

But I'd never dream of telling someone who feels traumatized that at least they got something I didn't...we're told all too often that birth is beautiful and sacred. But for so many of us it isn't and for some of us it might never be. It doesn't do to try to make our own traumas out to be bigger than someone else's as we can't really walk in that person's shoes. What it comes down to is something that should have been a positive experience went awry and became an awful experience. I don't care about the degree to which it was awful for someone else --- that it was awful for that person is enough for me to respect his/her feelings.
this is a great, great point. trauma is subjective. a lot of what makes something traumatic for someone has to do with their PAST, their history; trauma is cumulative.

for me, i had a medical history of acute, undealt with trauma. my birth (at which the doctors LITERALLY reopened my old scar from my childhood) reactivated that trauma.

it doesn't cut it to say what happened to me was "just a c-section." believe me, i heard that every day for months--"well, i had a c-section, too."

even my own mother told me that while i was still in the hospital and breaking down sobbing all the time.

i told her, "yes, mom, but you didn't have MY c-section. and you aren't me."

that's really the point. none of us can judge the severity of another person's trauma. i understand if you lost a baby, you might think i should've just thanked my lucky stars for a healthy one. i totally get that--but it doesn't do ANYTHING to diminish my birth trauma. not one single thing. because i had my experience, not yours. and vice versa.
post #17 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by readytobedone View Post
none of us can judge the severity of another person's trauma. i understand if you lost a baby, you might think i should've just thanked my lucky stars for a healthy one. i totally get that--but it doesn't do ANYTHING to diminish my birth trauma.
FWIW, I understand why women feel that way, too...but I don't. Trauma is trauma.

I completely agree with what OGirlieMama said here:
Quote:
If we go by that reasoning, then really, don't we just have to have an election to find the woman in the world who has experienced the most horrible birth trauma ever, and let her be the only one who's allowed to mourn it?
Nobody would think we should do that, but the "compare the pain" game just keeps going and going and going and going, like an evil, soul-sucking Energizer Bunny.

Oh, and if we want the laundry list...no diagnoses, but I've had PTSD and PPD, to a significant degree. The PTSD, at least, is directly attributable to the c-sections. I personally think the PPD is also because of them, but I don't talk about it much, anymore, because I've one (or more) too many comments of the "well, you could have had PPD, anyway" ilk. Yes, I could have. The point is that I did and that I know it was related to my sections. If the sections didn't cause it, they exacerbated it, at the very least. (If nothing else, I know that my first bout of PPD was triggered at the hospital...by my inability to even get out of bed for the first two days, which made me completely unable to care for my son. Starting life as a new mother feeling so utterly helpless was very detrimental, psychologically.)


ETA: I think screening is probably a good idea. That said...I'll lie. I don't trust doctors and nurses, and won't give them another weapon to use against me. I've learned that the hard way.
post #18 of 19
There will unfortunatly always be someone who thinks they can dictate what others feel. Sometimes that is based on their experiences and sometimes based on how they think things work. I'm sorry that all of you have had to go through so much.
post #19 of 19
I don't even bother telling people how traumatic my birth experience was.
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Healing Birth Trauma
Mothering › Mothering Forums › Pregnancy and Birth › Birth and Beyond › Healing Birth Trauma › We Can't Just Snap Out Of It