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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.

Get Help

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.

Share your comments below

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  • Even the most perfect birth can leave a woman traumatised. Its an incredibly hard thing to do.

    Reply

  • no one has the right to tell you how to feel, just because your story is different to mine doesn’t make your feelings any less valid

    Reply

  • Yeah, the medical system doesn’t want to know. I talk about my three highly traumatic births, but pick my moments. Not at a baby shower, for example!

    Reply

  • I had a traumatic birth with my first child and will often speak about it however I don’t want to scare pregnant women either!

    Reply

  • I talked quite freely about my births. I was lucky to have relatively easy, minimally invasive births……maybe that’s why it was easy to talk about

    Reply

  • Why do people feel silenced? Every birth is beautiful no matter what happened / went wrong because a little person is coming into the world!

    Reply

  • It’s sad when people feel silenced, like there is no one to share with. Get out there, share your story with partner, family, a dear friend, a blog, health nurse or GP. It’ll feel good.

    Reply

  • My Son’s birth did not go according to plan. I had a C-section and felt like I had no choice. Turns out it was a good call, but it took me months of processing to get over it. I wouldn’t call it traumatic, but there was still some processing to do. I can’t imagine what it would have been like if I was traumatized!

    Reply

  • i think that it is great to talk about your experience and seek help if you need to. We all cope differently in this situation and maybe your labour doesn’t go to plan so it can be a little harder to accept

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  • Each birth Is different and so are the mother’s reactions. There isn’t a one size fits all here. GP’s nurses and other medical professionals are there to help if need be.

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  • Those who have experiences should not be afraid to seek advice and build confidence to help them cope.

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  • The birth of my daughter was rather traumatic. I certainly think that sharing our feelings and emotions (whether it is from a traumatic birth or any other experience that causes us hurt) is important.

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  • Luckily I didn’t have a traumatic birth experience. Even if my daughter was born with forceps.

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  • I was not thrilled with any of my three and they were nothing like you are led to believe but I don’t feel traumatised. Although unpleasant and lots went wrong and the crash cart and emergency rooms were almost needed I came through ok. Anyone feeling traumatised should certainly seek help.

    Reply

  • Traumatic but I recovered and did not need to share it but I would suggest that anyone that has ongoing trauma does indeed seek support or counselling if needed. No need to suffer when there are supports in place that can be used and help.


    • I did not share the trauma because everyone will have a different birth experience.

    Reply

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