A blog about the trauma of childbirth has gone viral, prompting other women to share their own experiences.
It’s written by Sarah, a mum from Yorkshire, who began blogging to help cope with her feelings after the birth of her daughter, who is now almost two years old.
I had a Sh*T Birth And I Want People To Know
In the blog, she says: “Birth is not always a positive experience. And being honest about that should not be something that women are made to feel shame or guilt over.
“Expressing natural feelings of sadness or anger about a difficult birth doesn’t mean that a new mother is ungrateful for a healthy baby, the opportunity for motherhood, or anything else.”
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Speaking at the beginning of Birth Trauma Awareness Week, Sarah told BBC News: “It isn’t always about life or death – nearly losing a baby or your own life. It’s also about the way you are treated during birth.
“I think one of the reasons new mums suffer in silence is that they think they have no right to feel traumatised if they leave hospital with a healthy baby.”
It was only when her daughter was six months old, and Sarah felt she was struggling to wean her, that a health visitor spotted that things weren’t right. She told Sarah: “Your daughter’s fine – but you’re not.”
I had a Total Breakdown
Sarah says: “Telling her that was the unravelling of me. I had a total breakdown. It took me months to even have the coping strategies to do the most basic things.”
Sarah says she wishes she had known more about birth trauma before her delivery.
“No-one wants to scare ‘the pregnant woman’. People assume that if you talk about anything negative, they’ll be scared.
“It was my first child. It was hard but everyone says motherhood it’s hard – so I thought it must be me.
“I was asking myself: ‘If others are coping really well, why am I not?'”
Women commenting on her blog agree the issue needs to be discussed more.
A spokeswoman said: “The first port of call for a woman in this position is to go to their GP. We have lots of leaflets which can be printed off which explain symptoms – not all GPs know about post natal PTSD [post-traumatic stress disorder].”
But she said she wasn’t surprised the blog was being widely shared. “We constantly hear from women who have been traumatised by their birth experience. These women need help, but it’s not always there.”
Sarah says the reaction has been amazing.
“At the start it was just to get things out when I couldn’t sleep; it was cathartic. This seemed like the only way I could process things.
“I felt silenced, like there wasn’t anyone I could really share with. But people connecting with it makes me feel less alone.
“It made me feel I had my voice back. And I want it to encourage other women to raise their own voices again.”
Did you have a traumatic birth experience? We would love to share your story to help normalise all birth experiences.
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