Thursday, February 3, 2011

Never far

Harper rolls in on her ankles pretty badly when she walks, bad enough that she has kind of knock knees and trips over a bit. What does this have to do with birth trauma? I didn't realize that a simple trip to the chiropractor would trigger my PTSD.

Tannah had a LOT of osteo and a bit of chiro treatment in her first year of life to try and correct or at least make the injury she sustained in her violent birth more bearable. She rarely enjoyed these visits (though after she always had such great and restful sleep!)and often cried and screamed in my arms while being worked on. Before I addressed my birth trauma and before I acknowledged the PTSD I would have to contain myself while this was happening but I always felt like I couldn't breathe. The guilt and feeling that I had failed to protect her was like a stone in my chest.

And I would often have flashbacks while she cried-the pitch of her cry during treatment was similar to the pitch of her cry after she was born while being poked and prodded at. While I tried to hold my shit together if I closed my eyes I would often SEE the room in which she was born. It was awful. I would always go home and sob. If Luke was home (I kept all of my "failings" from him) I would run a shower and cry in there. It was a struggle to go to these appointments for me but the positive effect they had on Tannah made me go.

I had no idea that taking another child almost 6 years later would bring it all up for me again.

Today when the chiro started working on Harper she was fine, but only for so long. She suddenly crawled up on my chest, wrapped her arms around my neck and started to wail. It was like no time had passed. All of a sudden it felt hard to breathe and the rock in my chest was back. That old internal dialogue of "stop it stop it stop it you're HURTING her" and the failure, oh god that wave of crushing failure to protect my child, surged over me. After her appointment finished I hurried to the car and burst into tears. The kids were all really worried. Our trip to the park we had planned after was cut short because I just kept randomly crying or feeling short of breath. I started to replay Tannah's birth over in my head. That continued at home. Thank goodness I was able to occupy the kids so I could try and regain my composure.I got it back eventually. I feel exhausted.

It made me think of an offhand comment made on a crappy morning TV show a while ago that "birth is just one day" in the context that women need to get over themselves and just suck it up and do what is "best" for their baby and hand their birth over to an "expert".

Let me tell you for some of us it's FAR more than just one day.

Tannah will be six in a couple of months (SIX!!)and the trauma I carry from the sheer violence of her birth is never far. It's not something that upsets me every day anymore-for a long time it did, EVERY day-but it only takes something to trigger me and I'm reliving it. Those feelings of being out of control and intense failure to protect my firstborn can come bubbling up and I feel like I'm back crying in the shower at the hospital. The birth of my first child is so bittersweet and I'll never get that back. One day? Are you fucking kidding me?


loz said...

Crying hun ((hugs)) all my love to you those moments which catch us completely unaware seem to be the ones which help us heal that bit more but it is never far away. <3<3<3

Anonymous said...

ugh, its shit isn't it, the way it creeps up on you?
much love xox
ps will be 6 years for me this year too..

Rachael said...

That sucks Shae. I have pushed a lot of Finn's birth from my mind because if I think of all the shoulda woulda couldas...well. Needless to say it pisses me off that this very real trauma is inflicted often unnecessarily and it would seem with no understanding from those who are part of the machine who inflict it.

Ashwee said...

I relate to this in such a big way... Hugs! :(

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