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The topic is a little more personal today, which makes me a tad bit nervous. I know, though, that it’s something I’m going to want to talk about here so I figured I might as well get it out there.
I was diagnosed with PTSD after the birth of my son. I’m starting to work through it as the idea of having more children has crossed our minds, but I don’t know if I’m psychologically ready for that yet. Part of this has included me seeing a therapist who specializes in birth trauma, an area of therapy that is severely lacking. She uses various methods for helping women process these experiences, one of which is writing, and I plan to document what I write here (as much as I’m comfortable with, at any rate).
I don’t know how often I’ve heard, “Well at least you have a healthy baby…” since my son’s birth, but the number is too high to count and each time I’m told that, or it’s suggested to me or E that I should get over it (or surprise is shown that I haven’t “gotten over it” yet), it just makes it all the more hurtful. As if B was the only person involved in the whole experience and I didn’t matter at all. This topic is so incredibly painful for me and has been made even more so by friends and family who have been very insensitive in this area. In writing about my attempt at healing in a public place, my hope is that this allows people to see that birth is not simply a means of getting a baby into the world, but it’s also an experience for the mother that can leave very real, very powerful lasting effects.
And so, my first “assignment” is to make a list of what I lost after the birth of my son.
What I lost…
I lost the birth I had envisioned for ten months.
I lost my son’s first moments outside of me.
I lost my first sight of him.
I lost the ability to remember his birth with happiness.
I lost faith in my body.
I lost faith in myself.
I lost sanity.
I lost the ability to listen to the good birth stories of other women.
I lost a uterus with no scars.
I lost not having to wonder where my next birth will take place.
I lost faith in the midwives.
I lost sleep.
I lost a desire to have more than one baby.
I lost happiness.
I lost relationships.
I lost a feeling of acceptance from women who have had natural births with no complications.
I lost peaceful, precious first days with him.
I lost a quick recovery.
I lost not being medicated.
I lost him not being medicated.
I lost not being pressured to give him formula.
I lost a peaceful birth.
I lost the ability to say that I gave birth.
I lost knowing.
I lost a dream.