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Old Oct 5th, 2017, 04:26 AM   1
Aurora CHK
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Seeking advice on PTSD management. 5+ chemical pregnancies, no previous children.


Hi friends.

I'm really struggling. I've been suffering PTSD symptoms particularly over the last 16 months or so since my last miscarriage.

My husband and I have always struggled to fall pregnant and never known why - all tests showed was he was mildly lower on sperm rapidity and DNA quality, and that I had some mild immune system issues and low egg count. We should have been able to catch pregnant, but rarely did/do - three natural pregnancies in 6 years of relentless trying using all advice and tricks and supplements etc etc. You probably all know the drill! When I have fallen pregnant - three natural ones (that we're aware of) but also twice through ICSI IVF - they've failed by six weeks, usually sooner. Again, no answer for this from the three consultants we've seen - maybe its egg quality, maybe its sperm quality, maybe its my immune system or blood thickness etc, but after ALL and I mean ALL the tests, there's nothing obviously wrong.

My question is this: has anybody had really good support for PTSD arising from disappointment and trauma of not being able to have a much, much, much-wanted family?

I have been struggling so much because over a period of the last few years I've been increasingly unable to bear any reference to pregnancy, babies, genetics, families, breast-feeding, children, etc etc. I haven't been able to work for the last three months because I cry all the time and have panic attacks whenever I see a pregnant or breastfeeding person.
Whenever anybody mentions anything that makes me think of pregnancy or having a family, it cuts me so deeply and makes me want to run for the hills.

I've been seeing a highly qualified and experienced psychotherapist at least weekly, sometimes more often, for the last three years but I feel that she doesn't really understand. She seems to feel that what I need to do is recognise that I want a baby 'out of a feeling of envy for others who have one' (eg that my upset relates to feeling that 'its unfair' and about me wanting to always control my life, when in fact nobody can control their life) and that I want to 'own a baby' (the desperate desire I feel she seems to think is me almost wanting the latest toy and having a tantrum about not getting it) and I think she believes if I could feel more happy and satisfied in my life that I wouldn't feel I need a baby anymore to make me feel complete.

Its got to the point that I want to talk to her about almost anything other than my feelings about my unborn children (both the actual ones I lost, and more generally the fact that I've always wanted children and now have to accept I'll probably never have any unless they're adopted - which may work out really well but not be the same and 'undo' what I've been through). She doesn't have biological children herself by the way, but I don't know if that's by choice or by accident. She is a step-mother to her husband's biological children as I understand it, although we have never talked about it.

I do believe that she genuinely cares for my wellbeing and wants to help me, and so I'm open to the idea that there is some merit in the things she says. Maybe I do want a baby 'for the wrong reasons' (my words not hers). My problem is that I want to be able to go back to work. I want to be able to talk about/be exposed to the P word and the B word without losing my shit. I don't want to be having dreams about being PG/discovering I'm losing it again, and waking up wanting to die with the pain. So I need to be able to talk about it and I just feel that these feelings are very precious and I'm very vulnerable with them, so I need to feel safe in addressing them with somebody who really knows how to handle it. I've tried myself to start desensitising myself - making myself go with best friends to 'dangerous' aisles in the supermarket, letting myself go into cafes where there are women with babies etc.

Has anybody had any good experiences with any support networks, online or in person ones? Should I maybe ask my GP to refer me to a psychiatrist? Last time I mentioned it, they gave me a number to call the midwives to see if there is a Miscarriage Support group. But I couldn't call them. I tried once. I hung up as soon as I heard the words 'Early Pregnancy Unit, how can I help? because I just can't bear to hear those words after all my early pregnancy failures. My friend then rang for me, and found out that the support group is held in the Maternity Hospital. I can't go there.

I hope this doesn't make me sound pathetic. I'm usually a strong person but I just feel this whole issue has turned me into an irrational puddle.



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Old Oct 5th, 2017, 12:02 PM   2
JDsBaby
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HI Aurora,

I empathize greatly on how you feel, I too have had hard times accepting I may never have a baby.

I spoke to my gyno and he actually had a loss councilor contact me. I've found it very helpful, I've also realized a lot of my "obsession" (my words) with having a baby stemmed from not properly grieving the losses I've had. It's still a work in progress and I'm starting to feel better.

Be kind to yourself, it's not easy seeing so many women experience what you've longed for.



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Old Oct 7th, 2017, 11:39 AM   3
Aurora CHK
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JDsBaby View Post
HI Aurora,

I empathize greatly on how you feel, I too have had hard times accepting I may never have a baby.

I spoke to my gyno and he actually had a loss councilor contact me. I've found it very helpful, I've also realized a lot of my "obsession" (my words) with having a baby stemmed from not properly grieving the losses I've had. It's still a work in progress and I'm starting to feel better.

Be kind to yourself, it's not easy seeing so many women experience what you've longed for.
Thanks so much, JDsBaby; it helps so much to have people understand. I will look out for a loss counsellor. I also spoke to my normal therapist this week and explained to her how I'd felt in the past about talking to her about it and she was really good about it, and I felt more supported.

Hope things work out in a healthy and bearable way for you xxx



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Old Oct 9th, 2017, 22:22 PM   4
coolgal141
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Hello! I am so sorry about what you are going through. Have you considered seeing a Christian counselor? Please don't blame yourself for your pregnancy losses. God always has a plan and I will suggest that you stay positive! Praying for you!



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Old Oct 10th, 2017, 03:34 AM   5
6lilpigs
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Were you ever told to try taking baby aspirin to help with the blood thickness? I have very little knowledge of it but have read stories where all it took was that and it made the difference. Good luck xxx



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Old Oct 10th, 2017, 04:57 AM   6
red_head
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From what you've described I would not immediately be thinking ptsd (I've trained as a psychotherapist although haven't practiced, and also have two degrees in psychology, plus have worked a lot in mental health). It sounds like you've got severe anxiety, and you are protecting yourself by withdrawing - aversion from your triggers. Which is a type of coping mechanism, just not a healthy one. You are doing what you can to protect yourself, but this is just heightening your sensitivity. It's a phobia - often people start off with a specific fear, but as this develops, it just gets more and more out of control and unmanageable - and less obvious triggers become swept in - for example, if you are afraid of large spiders, if unmanaged you will eventually become afraid of small ones, then other insects that remind you, then all insects, then being outside, etc. These things can spiral easily.
I would recommend finding another therapist. Honestly I think if you have seen someone for more than 6 months to a year, and you are not improving (and from what you've described things have actually worsened), then it's not working for you. I would recommend cognitive behavioural therapy, which is very good for anxiety related issues, but you may also benefit from some ongoing therapy afterwards or alongside that to address the situation you are in too. It would be worth looking for a specialist in fertility counselling rather than someone with a more broad repertoire.
Honestly, I don't think anyone really can understand how incredibly awful infertility is, and how emotionally painful miscarriage can be, until they've experienced it. Even then, it's different for everyone and while some people seem to move on easily, for others (myself included) it's something I don't think I will ever really recover from. But that's okay, as long as you can still get on with living alongside that.
And trust me when I say that I don't believe for a second you want a baby for the wrong reasons. Perhaps she's making excuses available for you, to lessen your pain (e.g if you can convince youself you don't actually want one, but just want to be like others, it won't hurt so much if you can't have one because you didn't really want it anyway). i want a child more than anything and am also facing infertility. I don't want one for any other reason except that I want to be a mother, I always have, and I think I do understand how you feel.. It does hurt when friends get pregnant or give birth, of course it does. And I am incredibly jealous! And I cry and wonder why they get to have one and I don't, and wonder if they are better than me, and secretly think I'd be a better parent, and avoid gatherings where everyone's brought their kids, etc. That's normal. But unless you've been where we are I don't think people get that. And actually, when my sister in law thought she was going to lose her baby, I cried for her, and would have done anything to help her (and thankfully all is fine).
There is nothing wrong with you. What you are experiencing is completely normal. And you will get through it, just be kind to yourself. X



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