Postnatal Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

Discussion in 'Postnatal Support' started by Lois, Apr 7, 2009.

  1. Lois

    Lois Me, OH, Evie & Joseph

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2008
    Messages:
    1,653
    Likes Received:
    0
    Hi Everyone,

    This might seem like an odd thread but hey-ho!

    Most people nowadays are aware to keep an eye out for the symptoms of postnatal depression but there is less awareness about post traumatic stress related to traumatic birth experiences...so I wanted to bring the topic up here, in case doing so helps someone who is experiencing it but hasn't been able to work out what is happening...

    According to the Birth Trauma Association "General symptoms typically include...

    • The persistent re-experiencing of the event by way of recurrent intrusive memories, flashbacks and nightmares. A person will usually feel distressed, anxious or panicky when exposed to things which remind them of the event
    • Avoidance of anything that reminds them of the trauma (this may include talking about it). This can lead to emotional detachment or numbing.
    • Bad memories and the need to avoid any reminders of the trauma will often result in difficulties with sleeping and concentrating. Sufferers may also feel angry, irritable and be hyper vigilant (feel jumpy or on their guard all the time). These are called ‘hyperarousal’ symptoms"

    ...and women who develop postnatal post-traumatic stress may develop a strong fear of becoming pregnant again despite a desire to have more children.

    Here is a link if any of this is ringing a bell and you want to find out more... http://www.birthtraumaassociation.org.uk/

    I found the information on this site really useful following a very difficult labour and delivery with my little girl, so hope this is helpful to others.

    Lx
     
  2. angie0235

    angie0235 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 24, 2008
    Messages:
    456
    Likes Received:
    0
    Thanks Lois, really interesting x
     
  3. Happy

    Happy Mummy to Phoebe

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2008
    Messages:
    1,894
    Likes Received:
    0
    Thanks for this. I had an awful labour it lasted 36 hours and I never want ot go through anything like that again, although I can talk about it I have had the odd nightmare about what happened.
     
  4. kirstyloo82

    kirstyloo82 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2008
    Messages:
    219
    Likes Received:
    0
    thanks for this. i had a really good delivery but haemorraghed and it took a team of 15 people 2 hours to sort me out, all the while i hadnt seen my baby and thought i was dying. i am so desperate for more children but this last birth has really made me an oh think long and hard. i havent really had discussions with medical staff despite trying with mw in the hospital, community mw afterwards, hv and gp at post natal check. i havent really had answers to my questions, and have been left to get on with things on my own. i feel the need to talk about my experience with someone who can talk me throuhg it but have not found anyone who is willing to do this, without it i really dont feel i can move on. interesting
     
  5. Lois

    Lois Me, OH, Evie & Joseph

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2008
    Messages:
    1,653
    Likes Received:
    0
    Hello all,

    I'm glad that you found the information useful/interesting and I'm sorry to hear that you too had some difficult experiences.

    Happy - I empathise hugely with your long labour (mine took over 40 hours and was nothing like I hoped it would be)...the exhaustion is horrendous and having to cope with that amount of strain on your body for that long takes quite some recovery. The last thing you need when you're about to look after a newborn is 36 hours of exhausting labour! I hope that you are getting the chance to get your energy back and feel better about it all.

    Kirstyloo - again I empathise hugely, having haemmoraghed also. A lot of what happened is a mystery to me at the moment too and I'm thinking I will request a copy of my medical notes to go through in my own time at some point, perhaps the same would be helpful for you and OH?...I'm not sure I want to talk it through with one of the medical team who were involved in my labour and delivery (which is what the hospital automatically offered me after the birth) as I don't feel I can necessarily handle it. I'm really sorry that the medical people you have spoken to have been so unresponsive, that must have been really upsetting. I hope you can find someone who can help you to go through what happened to you and give you support if you do choose to have more children.

    I also hope that you all have supportive people around you and are enjoying your little ones despite the difficulties. Feel free to PM me if you ever need someone to talk to.

    Lots of love
    Lx
     
  6. babystar

    babystar Guest

    Thats a good article to read up on. Thanks
     
  7. JASMAK

    JASMAK Mom of three

    Joined:
    May 27, 2008
    Messages:
    15,207
    Likes Received:
    0
    I suffered Post tramautic stress disorder after the birth of my daughter. I went on Zoloft for a year and was much better. For me, it was an unexpected delivery with a general anesthetic. I couldn't get over that I missed my daughter's birth entirely. I blamed myself, and had a very hard time with it...would cry easily thinking about her birth. I am totally OK now, although some bonehead said something to me one day about how "I didn't miss anything". Yeah, nothing but the day my daughter was born. I wasn't the first to see her, hold her...not the second, not the third. It was HOURS later. It was hard. Please see your DR if you think you are having difficulty. My only regret was that it took me 6 months to see someone.
     
  8. Lois

    Lois Me, OH, Evie & Joseph

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2008
    Messages:
    1,653
    Likes Received:
    0
    Jasmak, I can't begin to imagine what that was like for you...you must have felt a huge amount of loss and it is such a shame that you felt guilt over something you would never have chosen to happen.

    Really glad to hear that you got some support when you went to see someone about it. I hope you and your little girl are well now.

    Lxxx
     
  9. missjacey44

    missjacey44 Jacey & Baby Tye

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2008
    Messages:
    3,448
    Likes Received:
    0
    I keep having nightmares about my tramatic birth and still cry over it. I keep wishing i could go back in time and start again, i am scared to have future children because im scared what might happen. I have been to my doctor recently and been told i have post natal depression and my doc did mention the birth being a possible reason for my depression but he didnt mention this. I would really like to request my hospital notes and read through, A doctor came round to talk to me the day after my birth in the hospital and asked if i had questions but at the time i wasnt ready and said no but now i have so many questions going through my head!

    Do they treat this the same as post natal depression or what... ?
     
  10. Lois

    Lois Me, OH, Evie & Joseph

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2008
    Messages:
    1,653
    Likes Received:
    0
    I am definitely no expert on postnatal ptsd...but apparently there is a wide lack of awareness in the medical professions that ptsd can occur following labour and birth...and although ptsd can be associated with postnatal depression, it is totally possible to have one and not the other - I for example am not experiencing depression but am experiencing all of the symptoms of postnatal ptsd. I'm not certain that there is a specific route for how postnatal ptsd is handled but my GP has been happy for me to take the lead with how I want to deal with it...and has said that she will arrange counselling at anytime if I want it.

    I can understand what you mean about keep wanting to go back and do it again - it's almost like part of your brain is still waiting for the birth that you had imagined and won't accept the traumatic experience was what you got instead. I really think that going over your medical notes at a time when you feel ready could bring a sense of closure over what took place and may allow you to move on from it in a way you haven't been able to upto now. Everyone has a right to access any of the notes that the NHS has about them at anytime (although there may be a small admin fee involved). I think the site that I have linked above has information about how to go about this if you look in the publications section. It may be a good idea to arrange to have somebody who understands the medical jargon to go through the notes with you...although personally I would like to go through mine alone first.

    It is pretty pointless, in my opinion for a doctor to come around within 24 hours of your birth to answer questions because at that point you are still in a daze and haven't had time to digest what has happened...that was my experience anyway. Obviously the medical staff on labour wards are incredibly busy though so sadly there are limitations to the aftercare that they can provide.

    It may well be worth talking to your GP again. If you are concerned that he/she may not know about postnatal ptsd and will not take it seriously then perhaps you could write to him/her before the appointment to say how you are feeling, how long it has been going on and to mention that you suspect it might be ptsd (perhaps even send them a copy of the article about it from the website link above)...that way they will have the opportunity to find out about it before they see you. Again though, I am no expert so do what feels right to you of course.

    I'm really sorry that you have had such a difficult time and hope that you can find the support that you need. There are people who you can contact via the birth trauma association who almost certainly will have more knowledge about this than I do. You will find there email addresses on the website if you want them. Feel free to pm me though if you want to.

    Lots of love
    Lxxx
     
  11. missjacey44

    missjacey44 Jacey & Baby Tye

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2008
    Messages:
    3,448
    Likes Received:
    0
    Thanks Lois. Im due to go back to my doctor next week and i will mention this. I would like to talk to somebody about what happend so maybe my doctor can arrange that and i will also ask him about getting hold of my hospital notes.

    I thought over time the feelings towards what happend would slowly go away but its only got worse and iv got more and more questions and want to know more and more about what really happend and why, If they even know why i dont know.
     
  12. UKMummy

    UKMummy Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 21, 2008
    Messages:
    294
    Likes Received:
    0
    Mm, this is very interesting. I had a pretty horrrendous time with my first child born three years ago and at the time I didn't think about it too much. My subsequent two births were dreams, which I thought would help try and get over the first but in fact they have made things worse because now I feel sad that unlike child two and three, child one was not held by me until half an hour after the birth because I was numb from the mouth down with epidural and trying to get over a 28 hour labour from hell and having my insides stiched back together again after a forceps delivery. My husband held her first and she and him have a very close relationship now, which probably has nothing to do with the fact he held her first but to me it does!!!!! The only way I have managed to deal with it is that I don't remember my own birth so it can't have had an impact on me. I have a very close relationship with my Dad but he wasn't the first to hold me so me not holding my first born first hopefully didn't have an impact on her.....

    It's a difficult one to come to terms with
     
  13. Lois

    Lois Me, OH, Evie & Joseph

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2008
    Messages:
    1,653
    Likes Received:
    0
    MissJacey - Good luck with your doctor's appointment, hope it goes well and leads to the answers you need. x

    UKMummy - I'm probably preaching to the converted here as you are a far more experienced mummy than I am, but here are my thoughts...
    I think way too much emphasis is placed on what we must and must not, should and should not do nowadays. When we are able to meet these "rules" it feels great because we are reassured that our children are getting what they need...but on the other hand when circumstances prevent us from meeting the "rules" it can leave us with so much guilt and worry even when we can see that our children are happy and healthy and well adjusted despite it.
    With the issue of who holds the baby first, I can believe that it is a lovely experience to be the one and that it is a good way to begin bonding but there is not a snowball's chance in hell that it has the importance that we are all being led to believe - what counts in a relationship is all the days, weeks, months and years of love and support and no doubt you have given this to your daughter by the trolley load! And besides this, you had been holding your daughter and bonding with her for 9 months before anyone else got a look in and that counts for a hell of a lot.
    I can't deny that I was disappointed not to be the first person to hold my baby when she was born, but I know it won't matter in the long run. I was held by my father first and I am much closer to my mum, whereas as some girls who were held by mum first just happen to be daddy's girls.
    All this said, I completely understand that all the logic in the world is sometimes not enough to overcome an illogical fear or concern. I'm sorry that you had such a difficult time with the birth of your eldest and I hope that you are remembering to be damn proud for going through what you did to get her here and doing what you have done to keep her happy and healthy ever since.

    Lxxx
     
  14. Shifter

    Shifter Guest

    I had planned a home birth and prepared with natal hypnotherapy. Although my labour began at home we ended up with a hospital transfer and eventual c-section. (My full birth story is in the birth stories section) I'm having a lot of trouble coming to terms with what happened, it was the complete opposite of the birth we prepared and hoped for. I don't think I have PTSD but I can definitely see signs of PND in myself, although the experience has left me dreading any future pregnancy.

    I've been advised to get a copy of my notes and to go through them with an independent MW, rather than with anyone who was involved with the birth itself. This is something I really hope to be able to do and would suggest the same for anyone else struggling to cope with a difficult birth experience.
     
  15. UKMummy

    UKMummy Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 21, 2008
    Messages:
    294
    Likes Received:
    0
    Thank you for your feedback Lois and I totally agree. I think it's all part of the massive guilt trip and worry we as Mum's have throughout our relationships with our children. If I wasn't flapping about the birth then it would probably be something else that I did or didn't do!!

    And anyway, I should be grateful that I got to hold my baby within half an hour and she was next to me the whole time. Some mothers don't even get to see or hold their babies before they're whisked off the special care etc...
     
  16. princess_bump

    princess_bump Happy Wife & Mumma!

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2008
    Messages:
    31,407
    Likes Received:
    0
    what an excellent thread! i had some sort of post-shock after maddi's birth, which led to pnd :( i had a very long (40hours) labour and emergency c-section and tbh, the aftercare was dreadful, i haemorrhage and got an infection once home. (discharged after 24hours with injections to do myself, no drugs chart and hardly any painkillers - because i have allergies they didn't want to prescribe!! too difficult apparently! :grr:) i don't think its highlighted well tbh, but it is a horrible thing, i just couldn't stop crying about everything that happened, i was so disappointed, and in shock, it took a few months, and medication and i would certainly be aware and be more confident with no 2 xx x
     
  17. Lois

    Lois Me, OH, Evie & Joseph

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2008
    Messages:
    1,653
    Likes Received:
    0
    Hi Princessbump,

    It sounds asthough you were discharged at a time when you still needed plenty of medical support, that must have been very difficult especially after such a long labour and c-section. Whilst the majority of the midwives I saw postnatally were very good, they weren't getting the time they needed to look after anyone properly and it seemed like they were discharging many of us too soon to free up the beds.

    Glad to hear you have been able to move forward after a very upsetting experience.

    Lx
     

Share This Page

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice