Amy, thank you for sharing your story with us. Your aftercare sounds very similar to mine: flippant, basic and uncaring. Looking back, what do you wish the midwife who answered your call had said/done?
It was very uncaring, and it didn’t need to be! When I had my second the aftercare was amazing and it’s crazy what a difference that can make. With my first I was just left alone and scared. I wish the midwife had just been kind – asked if I was okay, or if I needed to talk. Someone to talk to would have helped a lot.
How did it feel to be put on medication for PTSD?
It was a relief because it really did help. I didn’t think it would but it helped keep me calm while I worked through the underlying problems – and helped me sleep!
Did your therapy help?
Yes, although I only had a few sessions. It helped more being told why I felt the way I did, and that there was light at the end of the tunnel – that I wouldn’t always feel that way. And also that it wasn’t my fault. I felt very much like I’d done something wrong, or failed in some way at giving birth if that makes sense? Therapy helped me realise that it was the medical professionals who ha failed me, and that I had done nothing wrong. Sometimes it’s just nice to hear that.
As a fellow sufferer, I know how important it is that we work together to remove the stigma, but how do you go about doing that?
Talking about it. We need to be open. I try to be honest with other Mums, especially when I talk about my labour and how I felt – not the gory details of course! But I tell them the truth, and the emotions I had, and why. I think if everyone was honest there would be less pressure to fit into a ‘perfect mum’ stereotype. When I tell people I had Post Natal PTSD they sort of pause, and don’t know what to say. I’ve definitely felt judged. It’s a bit sad, but it’s only by being open about our experiences can we help other sufferers, and stop other people being judged in the future.
Finally, how do you feel now?
I feel great now. I mean I have nightmares, I’ll be honest – and I still can’t watch medical shows, or shows about birth or pregnancy. I think those will always make me feel uncomfortable. But I can talk about my own labour, and accept how I felt. I have a wonderful, kind and supportive partner who has been with me throughout. I have two beautiful children. I’m volunteering for PANDAS which gives me a lot of purpose and drive outside of my ‘Mummy’ life. I have hard days, like any Mum, but honestly? I feel great.
Thanks again Amy for sharing this with us. If you would like to read more about Amy, please take a look at her blog: http://hgtt.wordpress.com/ or you can email her at: firstname.lastname@example.org