Healing once-and-for-all, does it ever happen? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 7 Old 07-04-2009, 01:56 PM - Thread Starter
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I go through stages. Sometimes, I feel relatively well and other times I don't see any possible way to get over the emotional, spiritual, personal, professional destruction that happened when I gave birth.

I see a therapist, I have you all, I have a supportive accupuncturist, I processed as well as I could with my unsupportive doula. I'm writing an article on resources for healing birth trauma. What else is there?

Part of my journey has been coping with an alcoholic DH. I(He is in rehab now)I found that everything that happened to me was directly tied to my codepencency issues (never, ever asking for help, always caring for others) My husband actually was crying and asking me to help him during the birth, which was the moment I broke and the cascade of interventions began. How do I even begin to address this with him? I knew he would be of no help, but I had no idea he would be a hindrance during the birth and I've always wanted to blame my doula for being completely unresponsive- at one point she went out for a smoke(!) and didn't ever touch, guide or really say anything to me during the 18 hours I was in the hospital. (My daughter was posterior and I labored for 4 days)

My DH does blame himself. but I've never really wanted to lay the blame on him, I guess I chose to blame myself and doula.

How do I heal the lack of support, the abandonment?

I was totally convinced if I could just have another chance at birth, I knew how to get the support I needed. That blew up in my face and after 20 months of trying to concieve, I have been told I might have endometriosis and my OB recommends clomid, endometrial biopsy and hysterosalpingogram.

I'm stuck. I used to love birth and wanted to be a midwife- I now HATE looking at pregnant women. I know I'm all over the place in this post- just rambling and hoping for guidance from anyone who feels they've come to some sort of peace.
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#2 of 7 Old 07-13-2009, 03:45 AM
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It sounds like you've done a lot of work/thinking/feeling/processing already...this is such a complicated situation! So many little threads all woven together into a knot. I can imagine you are feeling exhausted trying to live with this daily, attempting to move past it but not being able to.

Hugs!! You seem strong and wise in what you've done so far to help yourself.

In your work with therapists did you work with anyone specially trained to work with birth trauma, or ptsd? To me, it sounds like you might have some PTSD, and when you're trying to function in life when you're also running a fight/flight coping pattern in your system, its gonna be hard to think well about what to do, and especially how to address this issue with your DH...

Yes, healing can happen once and for all, I've helped people with issues similar and its possible. Start slowly, work with the ptsd from the birth, and any issues that originated prior to the birth before tackling the issues that relate to how you feel about DH now. Maybe try some body work, or energy work to help release the trauma physically from your body?

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#3 of 7 Old 07-26-2009, 09:58 AM
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I am so sorry that this truama is carrying on for you but I do understand. I'm in a similar boat and so much of what you wrote is really hitting home to me personally. I don't know if I can offer you advice as to how to find peace, exactly, because I'm not really there myself yet. But it sounds like we're on the same kind of road, so sharing notes might help.

I am also seeing a counselor for PTSD. I was lucky enough to find a very experienced psychiatrist who doesn't see a lot of patients for "talk therapy" but she took me on because she used to deliver babies in her family practice. It's so great to have a therapist who knows all the technical in's and out's of birth and is natural-minded. It's helping but even with the picture-perfect therapist, it's taking time to get to the heart of it all. All the layers of betrayal and violation take a lot of time to peel off, I think.

Also, my husband and I are seeing a marital counselor in the same practice. Is there any chance your husband might go to do some couples' work with you? My DH is not an alcoholic but he is the child of a severe one and grew up in an abusive, scary home. He was like a deer in headlights during my 30 hour labor, all of it at the hospital. I never realized how frozen he becomes in the face of conflict or how unable he was to stand up for me, protect me, advocate for me. What he grew up in programmed him not to. He always had to watch his mom being terrorized and sometimes physically abused and could never do a thing about it - he learned it was safer not to.

After my son was born, immediately after getting home, he became very abusive - not hitting me but I wa afraid he would. Screaming, yelling, terrorizing me when I was physically and emotionaly devastated already. Boy have we had some work to do - we were in TROUBLE for a while. But, despite him being a real manly-man and not at all the talking type, he goes with me to counselling and he gives it a good effort and it's helping. We both want to be the best parents we can for our son and we do love eachother. There have been some very lively sessions involving me screaming and swearing right in front of our counsellor. But that what it's taken to get past some of my deep, dark anger for him about his lack of support during my son's birth and his behavior afterward. It has been unpleasant for both of us, but the only way to the other side of it. It's really helping, so I strongly suggest it if your DH can rein his ego in enough to go. As moms surviving birth trauma, we have to eat a lot of crow. They can eat a little, too.

What you relayed about you Doula is wretched. She sounds like someone who's in it for herself and to bolster her ego rather than someone who actually wants to help women. Shame, shame, SHAME on her! Did you confront her at all afterward? Write her a letter? Is there any governing board of professional regulation overseing her where you live? Is there a professional association she belongs to that you could report her to? I had a midwife in a birthing center setting who was unbelievably inexperienced who let my birth get WAY out of controll. (I was in labor - water broken - for 28+ hours with an asynclitic baby, and android pelvis and no progress after 6 hours of pushing when fully dialated and she didn't see fit to lay down her ego and call the OB) She was the one I trusted who totally violated me, perhaps similar to your Doula. It took a lot of processing, but I finally decided I had to file a complaint against her with the board of nursing in my state, which I am doing now. It's hard, because it keeps re-opening the wound for me but I am convinced this is what I need to do to feel better about it in the long run. I have no idea what will come of it but this is what I figure: nobody protected me from her, the best I can do is protect others from her. I don't know if you had experiences with the Dr.s that cared for you that contribute to your trauma, but I think it's high time that medical professionals who are careless and cause this kind of suffering in women be held accountable.

Another thing that has helped me is seeing a hypnotherapist. She is wonderful and we did hypnobirthing classes with her when I was pregnant. Unfortunately you can't hypnobirth your way through being abused with Pitocin (at least I couldn't) but I knew that her relaxation methods were very, very effective for me. I don't know where you live but if you emailed her she may be able to connect you with someone near you. Her website is www.wellspringhypno.com and her name is Carolyn. She is wonderful.

Some days I'll be fine and I have to think about something that really brings it back for me, like questions in the investigation of my midwife or someone else's bireth story (good or bad) and I fall apart. Here's a hoakey little thing I use sometimes that an old boss gave me: I take some deep breaths and say to myself "wash it from your soul. for this one day, just wash all this from your soul". Like I said, hoakey, but honestly....it works for me. Sometimes I just need to lay it down and walk away from it internally. I know it will be there tomorrow, but it might not bother me as much tomorrow.

The piece about seeing pregnat women and hating it, I can relate to that, too. I always thought I wanted more than one child, now I don't know. It's not just because I'll have to have a c/s next time, it's because of all the stuff with my DH, too. I'll have to be in a better place with him before I can successfully mother another infant child. But when I see pregnant women, or hear about other moms' glowing, beautiful birth stories, I can't help being reminded of the hopes I had and how they were dashed into pieces by careless people.

My sister in law has been trying to concieve for three years and has bad endo. Her road has been really long but she has recieved an IVF scholarship from an organization called INCIID that helps infertile couples (not that you're in that boat) get pregnant. She's been matched with the SHER Institute in NYC. I guess what I mean to say is that even if the endo situation gets worse for you, there is still hope. Dr. Sher of the SHER Institue told her a lot of interesting informaiton about women with endo getting pregnant. I can tell you more about it if it would be at all helpful.

I think I might be rambling now myself. On a given week I probably still have at least two crappy days because of all the carry over stuff I still deal with emotionally but it is getting better slowly. My cousin always says of pregnacy and birth: nine months in, nine months out. I triple that for the traumatized. As for healing once and for all, I think it's important that we fiure out how. My mom had a horrible birth with me which I never knew until I had my son. I have been able to see though, that she still carries a lot of it with her in an unhealthy way and never found peace / resolution. I don't want to be like that 30 years from now.

I hope things are going okay for you. Maybe it would be helpful to both of us to chat more about it. Feel free to PM me also if you want.

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#4 of 7 Old 08-05-2009, 10:00 AM
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I can comiserate on the doula thing. I had an acquiantence/new friend "act as" our doula with my first. SHe was studying birth etc, and we clicked. Being four months pregnant she sat ina chair and we talked about how awful our mothers were. UGH! that was dumb.... we I gave into an epi she went home and didn't come see us the next day or anything ( I don't remember)... I gave her the expensive gift anyway, I satyed in touch and she helped me deal with the trauma some... I was very lonely with few friends.

Anyway she abandoned me when I "failed" and it plays a big part of my overall traumatic birth.

This time I have hired a professional doula, who come highly recommended... and I'm still nervous about it.

Tea drinking Momma::: Grady 8/06 and : Coralynn 8/09
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#5 of 7 Old 08-06-2009, 06:21 PM - Thread Starter
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Good luck Gradysmom- with the new doula, and thanks for your post!
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#6 of 7 Old 08-07-2009, 02:03 PM
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I think healing trauma can be a long process for some. I have been working on it for four years myself and am not completely healed. I am finally at a point where I feel I can move forward with my life though, and the trauma is not affecting me to a great degree anymore (but does come up still if triggered). Is your therapist skilled with working with trauma? Trauma is very different then depression and must be addressed and treated differently. Finding a therapist who is skilled in this area may be an avenue to pursue. I am interested to read your article when you finish it. That is a great way to deal with these issues in my opinion.

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#7 of 7 Old 08-10-2009, 10:58 PM
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I'm sorry you're having such trouble. I can relate completely on the alcoholic H not being supportive part. I think healing ourselves of co-dependency issues and accepting our addicts for who they are would go a long way to healing our birth trauma.

Praying for you mamma.
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