This week I’m proudly supporting PND Awareness Week with PANDAS.
Today’s guest post is written by Claire North and her experience of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
The 2nd August 2014 was the start of a very exciting new venture for me and my husband as I was taken into hospital to be induced with our first baby. We had waited patiently for 38 weeks and the time had finally come.
My labour induction started like most, pessaries and a hormone drip to get baby on the move, eventually after 6 hours my waters were broken and from then on things started to progress pretty quickly, after getting to around 5cm dilated I could see the midwife rush around, she quickly dropped the bed and asked me to lay on my side!
She pushed the emergency button and a load of midwives started running in, I could see the colour drain from my husband and mam’s face and I knew something was wrong immediately.
I was told that my babies heart rate had dropped and so I was being taken to emergency theatre to be monitored.
On arrival to theatre it was all systems go, the midwives and doctors were rushing around and prepping tools ready to deliver my baby by Caesarean section.
I lay there wondering if my baby would be alive when he was born and my eyes were pouring with tears. Some tests to check the epidural was working took place and things went from bad to worse when I was told I would have to go under general anaesthetic in order for my baby to be born!
Because of this my husband wasn’t allowed to be present for the birth, I sobbed!
I was so worried and scared, would I wake up from surgery? Would I wake up to my baby having died?………..
I came round a few hours later, I remember I was in so much pain but it soon disappeared when I was handed a beautiful healthy baby boy!
He was perfect!
Life was great, sure I had the regular baby blues but nothing out of the ordinary or so I thought. I would wake in the night from terrible nightmares and repetitions of my birth, I’d have dreams that my baby boy had died.
I told myself that I didn’t deserve this baby and that he would die.
I became over protective of him, I wouldn’t let anyone else take care of him because to me I couldn’t trust them to take care of him properly.
On odd occasions when I did have to leave him with my husband I would be stressed, constantly texting and I would rush home to see that he was safe.
I would get anxious when meeting with friends and would decide on if I was going depending on how safe it was, example. Was it near a lake where my baby’s pushchair could roll in, was it raining making the roads bad and higher risk of a car crash…basically extreme thoughts! I struggled on by myself and hid it from my family and friends for almost 1 year.
The turning point for me came after a huge breakdown.
My little boy had been sleeping through the night for some time and yet I found myself waking more and more to check my baby was still breathing….except he was no longer a baby!
He was a toddler!
My husband began questioning why I was waking to check him and I broke down, I knew it was because I was due to return to work!
I was going to have to leave my boy with someone else whilst I was working and I couldn’t bare the thought.
My husband rang the doctors and took me down to the surgery straight away, I was scared, I thought I would be judged, the doctor would think I wasn’t capable of looking after a child and my husband would think I was a failure…. I was so wrong!
The doctor was very supportive, they called Talking Matters and made an appointment for someone to call me.
The next day I received a call from them and talked about all my feelings and thoughts and the lady listened, she didn’t judge, she assured me and more importantly told me that someone could help me!
Help me stop these terrible nightmares/flashbacks/extreme thoughts, it was the first time in almost a year where I felt a little relief and that I wasn’t alone.
Two weeks after my telephone appointment I met with my counsellor, she was amazing! She taught me coping mechanisms, calming strategies and more importantly how to take time for myself and listen to my own needs!
For so long I had tunnel vision and it was baby baby baby!! Over time I began to start doing things for myself, I started going out more and enjoyed it, knowing that my little boy was safe and sound at home.
I guess the reason it took me so long to admit I had a problem was because there wasn’t a lot of awareness at the time and I was scared.
I can’t say that it’s an overnight fix and that after one chat with a counsellor everything will be better but I can tell you that you aren’t alone.
And you ARE DOING AN AMAZING JOB!
Thanks to Claire North for sharing her story.
If you’ve read this and feel that you’re experiencing what Claire went through – please – speak up.
You are not alone.
There is help and support out there.
Love Missuswolf xxx
Images from PANDAS and UnSplash