baby

My eldest son Oliver is now 7, my bambi eyed firstborn son, a boy that if I’m honest, I only got to properly go to enjoy when he turned 10 months old.

I had a traumatic birth post induction and a crash section, or emergency as it’s more commonly known although ‘crash’ is far more accurate-that manic rush to theatre in deep panic, the not knowing, the overwhelming sense of, ‘this isn’t how it was meant to be’, the loss of control, the trauma… The pain, physical and emotional, the speed and then relief. For some.

It took me five years from starting my blog to finally find the courage to write about my experience of birth trauma, to be able to process and share the pain from a place of renewed strength and understanding.

I was diagnosed with the pregnancy liver condition ICP at 8 months pregnant, a mostly baffling pregnancy condition in dire need of further research, which meant constant blood tests, ambiguous advice and overwhelming worry towards the end of my pregnancy.

Healing of trauma arose with a house move closer to my family, starting my blog Honest Mum and CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy) which helped me regain control and happiness once more. The calm pregnancy and birth of my second son inevitably helped heal me too yet sometimes even now, I catch myself watching Oliver asleep, his spidery lashes fluttering with every breath, and I weep for that lost time. Of feeling like I was drowning at his birth, rather than the movie like promise of motherhood I’d been fed my whole life.

I still mourn that lost year of his life, the one I felt I should have relished, the one I thought I’d prepared for (the nurturer in me has always wanted to be a mum). I mourn that stolen time, where I operated in survival mode, an empty shell of a mother who should have felt more joy.

Day to day, mostly at my lowest ebb, scared to admit how dark those times felt or how alone and lonely I was, all rolled into one. I’m not sure I’ve ever felt worse, particularly when my husband two weeks on, returned to work.

I could barely walk post-op, let alone think or ask for help, a colicky baby attached to me 24/7 who’d often cry for 6 hours straight and hated sleep, meant I had no time to inhale, to pause or ask for help.

Understandably, but frustratingly, I found myself in a body I no longer recognised, bruised from surgery, wobbly from pregnancy, tired and aching.

My confidence had gone..

I know of course, you don’t need to have suffered a traumatic birth to feel as I did, that any birth, and the fog of newborn days (and months) are tough enough.

A first child will always be a shock to the system with many of us undergoing a period of mourning for our former life: the sleep, the freedom, the you that came before, because motherhood defines you when it happens, it cannot, not. Suddenly, and as Miranda in Sex and the City so eloquently put, ‘ Life comes in and things begin to change. It’s weird. It’s like suddenly there’s a giraffe in the room. Hello’. In that moment your life transforms.  Your new baby depends on you to be your best so it can survive, and thrive. You.

But what if you don’t feel strong? What if you feel weak and exhausted? What if you’ve lost all strength and self-belief? Your shoulders, weary, weighed down, crushed by the enormity of responsibility makes asking for help a near impossible feat. To admit that you need help. That you simply can’t. Not today. Not tomorrow. You need a break. A chance to take it all in.

Yet your pride prevents you for reaching out, you feel a failure, the biggest failure of all in fact, you question why motherhood, the most natural thing in the world, could feel so hard. You blame yourself, for it must be you. A million other women nailed it.

To say you don’t feel well when all around you, and by all, I mean the picture in your head you painted of this time before the birth, the stories, the many stories the media told you and re-tell of how life is meant to be with baby, means that whilst you feel like you’re free-falling, you fail to find the words to speak up, to hold your hands out and ask to be caught, and held and helped.

I have the most loving and supportive husband, Peter, and parents who would do anything for me but living in London whilst they were in Leeds meant more than a few days together was all we had. Plus I self-silenced. Not once, during the bleakest of times, my head spinning, the countdown of hours until my husband was home from work, the identity-loss, fear and lack of stimulation, did I speak up. Did I ask for help.

I didn’t articulate a word.

I feared I would just worry others, that I would be deemed an unfit mother…Furthermore whilst trying to discuss my concerns with my doctor, she told me it wasn’t PND, that I looked and seemed fine to her, yet now I know I was reeling in the aftermath of my son’s traumatic birth (PTSD) and needed love, support and therapy to heal.

Going from directing sets of hundreds to just baby and I, and a baby I loved just felt odd. I was structureless, a mile of days and weeks ahead of me, without plans or rituals. A full stop, it felt. No goals, a simple hope I’d might direct again more buried beneath a crushing fear of what my previously unstable freelance life might bring.

It didn’t help that my friends were mostly single and without babies of their own and whilst I made new mum-mates, the pressure to perform around new people, to put on a brave face and be your best self made me withdraw even more.  

Eventually I admitted defeat. The turmoil could not continue. The pretence that all was well had to STOP. I cried for help and thankfully, I found it.

Moving back to Leeds, I immersed myself in a blanket of unconditional love and care, my Mum was able to help me with the day-to-day care of my baby which meant soon enough, I started to improve.

If only I’d known opening up would help so much.

With renewed strength (oh the irony of needing to feel strong to admit weakness) I asked my new GP if I could be referred to a therapist (you can now self-refer) and I was forced to politely demand (if demanding can be polite) to see someone, as again I was brushed off initially.  

Perhaps I appeared stronger than I was. Perhaps I always did.

With the help of a therapist, a Cognitive Behavioural Therapist, we created an emotional first aid kit together, chatting in depth about my past, my fears, my goals and the tools to help me when worries took over and the trauma felt too much. I learned the skills to pause, meditate and rest my busy mind. To cope. Mostly, he asked me questions I finally faced and answered, and slowly with his help, with everyone’s help, I began to feel more like my old self.

I eventually faced up and accepted that sh** happens and moved onwards with my life. I’d gotten over, for the most part, the sadness of being cheated of the birth I’d longed for and I recovered from the melancholy of it all.

I started my blog around that time, although my first posts were lighthearted and funny, a form of escapism for me as I was far from ready to share the sadness.

My blog was a lifeline, another form of therapy if you like. It helped me rediscover my voice at a time I felt I had none and connected me to like-minded women (and men) online who simply ‘got me’ and many too who’d been through what I had.

My blog offered me a space, a platform to create and reach a like-minded audience, and later a business, an accidental career I loved.

I was a finalist in the BritMums Brilliance in Blogging Awards in the Fresh Voice category surprisingly four weeks after going live on my first post. So unexpected I danced around the living room, tears streaming down my face. My voice somehow seemed to resonate with others, my stories of our move to Leeds from London and crazy tales of my Big Fat Greek family (such as Dad and a Little Case of Chicken Pox) seemed to entertain. The voice I thought had gone, was back and that award nomination gave me the much-needed boost I to return on set, to direct again.

When Oliver turned 2, I discovered I was pregnant again, and despite the odds of developing ICP and potentially experiencing another traumatic birth, neither occurred.

Thanks to the vital care of my consultant (thank you, the NHS), my elective was tranquil, a joy I wasn’t sure I’d ever have, but did.

Big haired, almond eyed Alexander looked just like his older brother at birth and this time, I felt empowered, in control and incredibly content.

I wanted to finally write my experience down on digital paper (!) as I’d hoped to many times before but couldn’t find the words, to share the light that came after the palpable, paralysing darkness.

My concern then was that one day my son would look back on this and be saddened by it all. I worry he will now but he was loved so much (and still is) and he never knew the pain I felt in his first 10 months.

We have photos of his plump, happy face full of yogurt, his gummy grin smiling back at me, his mama, his world. We have phone videos of his contagious little laughter, walks across my favourite bridges both in London then in Bristol where we lived a while, music classes I took him to when I felt I could, photos of his first swimming lesson and holiday…and in every one, he’s staring back wide-eyed and smiling right at me. A happy child who adored his mum, and still does, my only wish is that I’d asked for help far sooner than I did. That despite being a perfectionist in my work, I wish I’d known that determined approach would not work in real life.

I’ve cried many times writing this but I know it’s time to share that troubled part of my life, to potentially help others who might well feel the same as me, all those years ago, right now, today, to offer some strength to them so they can reach out, seek help and know they’re not alone.

So that’s my story, it’s certainly not pretty but it’s honest and from my heart and I hope it might support someone struggling from a post traumatic birth themselves.

If that’s you, please know that this too shall pass, that life can and will improve, that with time and help, and love, you, like me, can heal as well.

With love,

Vicki

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179 Responses

  1. Mamma_B

    Beautifully written and honest. I too suffered from OC which meant I didn’t really get to enjoy the pregnancy. For me, I felt my baby was at risk throughout and I didnt once believe she was safe until she was safely in my arms. Have also experienced a traumatic birth both times round. One by emergency section and one that should have been but poor choices by the midwife led us in the wrong way. Your writing resonated with me for this reason and I’ve never felt strong enough to write about my experiences before but this has encouraged me to maybe consider it more seriously. I know that without an article I read about someone suffering with the itching linked to OC I probably wouldn’t have even raised my symptoms with my midwife as I had no idea about OC. If I hadn’t have done that I may not have had my little girl delivered safe and sound. So raising awareness is so important. Critical, actually. Beautifully written piece, thank you . X

    Reply
  2. Emma Peach

    Reading this brought back a lot of memories. I’ve considered writing about it on my blog but have never been able to summon up the courage. I didn’t exactly have a traumatic birth but I suffered severe pre natal depression when my waters broke at 33 weeks. I discharged myself from hospital after angry conversations with various doctors who weren’t listening to me. I was induced after 2 weeks and she was fine, just small, which made feeding difficult. To top it off she had horrendous colic and cried almost constantly for months. There was a brief respite from the crying before the tantrums kicked in and led to many embarrassing situations. It put me off having any more, although she’s 7 now and an absolute joy. I wish I’d enjoyed the baby and toddler years more but I’m grateful for what I have now.

    Emma xxx

    Reply
    • Honest Mum

      Thank you for your honesty Emma, I’m so sorry you went through a tough time too. All the things so rarely covered as we prepared for babies. Colic, sleep deprivation and trauma makes for such a hard time. Really appreciate you sharing your story too, thank you xx

      Reply
  3. Jane Allen

    It’s always great to accept when stuff happens and move forward. That is when the healing process begins. This story is touching and I love that you have shared it to encourage others.
    Jane Allen recently posted…What is the Best Recliner for Newborn?My Profile

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  4. Elizabeth (Wander Mum)

    I love your honesty Vicki and this was very important for you to put into words and will no doubt help others. I came across your film on ICP when doing a bit of a research..well done for doing that…very informative. I had no idea you suffered with it as well. I am so pleased you managed to escape it in your second pregnancy. I got it a lot later second time around but it meant the natural birth I had hoped for just wasn’t possible. But, it doesn’t matter how they come into the world…just that they are here and healthy. Thankfully, I haven’t experienced PND and I am so glad you got through that tough time in your life and things with Alexander were a lot different. It’s amazing how blogging can really help restore our voices and personality after becoming a parent. Big hugs xx

    Reply
    • Honest Mum

      Thanks Elizabeth, sorry you suffered in your subsequent pregnancy, I was certain I would too. PTS was tough but so happy I was able to get the help I needed and I do hope this helps others women, lots of love and congratulations on your beautiful baby no 2 xx

      Reply
  5. Shaney (Imummyblog)

    Vicki, I couldn’t read this without crying. As you know we have experienced similar things. It breaks my heart that you went through this. But you have come out the other side and you are brilliant and inspiring. I am so happy to have discovered your blog. I’m sure that this post alone has brought comfort and hope to many. Keep slaying girl. x

    Reply
    • Honest Mum

      Thanks so much Shaney, sorry to make you cry and that you can relate, it was a terrible time but I’ve come out the other side and hope never to feel that darkness again, thank you xx

      Reply
  6. Emma

    Thank you so much for writing this post. I did not have a traumatic birth (it wasn’t pleasant but definitely not traumatic) but Ive definitely felt lonely and a bit lost over the first year and that seems to be lifting a bit now! It’s always a relief to hear that you are not the only one experiencing this. You are a very strong person and I really admire what you do. X
    Emma recently posted…The First Year – The Memento ProjectMy Profile

    Reply
    • Honest Mum

      Hi Emma, sorry to hear that and thank you for commenting, if you do feel like you need to chat or require support, don’t be afraid to reach out to family or your GP for advice and help. I have become strong but this happened 6 years ago now. Thank you for your kind words, glad to read things are lifting for you, hormones cause so many issues and having a baby is a big deal, it affects us physically and emotionally xx

      Reply
  7. Blogfox14

    This post really resonated with me. I had a traumatic birth too. I just escaped surgery by a few seconds but had the induction, a lot more medical intervention than I had ever planned on and then a significant haemorrhage. It was scary and I don’t think there is enough recognition of the fact that a bad start like this sets you off on the wrong foot and there is a knock on effect from there… You have been very brave to put yourself through it again. My husband and I were both traumatised (he thought he might lose me) and we have chosen not to do it again. We are very happy to have grown our family by adoption instead. X

    Reply
    • Honest Mum

      Thank you for sharing your story and I am so sorry you too had a tough time. Adoption is beautiful and it is something we considered and still might consider in the future. Thank you for your comment x

      Reply
  8. Sarah James

    Saw this on Steph’s Twitter today. I just want to give you a hug Vicki, I know your post will reach many hearts & give hope & help to someone going through PTSD.
    Emotional & physical scars run so deep. It’s 30 years since my first traumatic birth, I was assured it wouldn’t happen again, it did. We almost lost our second son.
    I hadn’t realised how much heartache I’ve kept buried over the years even though my husband & best friend have kept me strong.
    I can understand your concern for Oliver but I’m sure he will be proud of his Mum, just as my boys are of me. xx
    Sarah James recently posted…Spicy Pumpkin & Cranberry ChutneyMy Profile

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  9. Steph @MisplacedBrit

    I’ve put off reading this for so long honey. I absolutely knew that I wouldn’t be able to without reliving the birth of Mr 2 all over again… It is as you say sh** happens… There’s no ‘reason’ behind it. No lesson to be learnt… It just happens. And it’s horrible.

    A heart shared so beautifully, honestly and encouragingly.
    Huge, huge, hugs to you Vicki. What you’ve achieved with your story is nothing short of incredible and I KNOW it is a story that gives others hope <3
    Steph @MisplacedBrit recently posted…Strawberry Chocolate Microwave FudgeMy Profile

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    • Honest Mum

      Thanks so much sweetpea, feel very moved reading this comment, touched by your words and so sorry you had such a tough time too. Here for you xx

      Reply
  10. Suzzy

    You truly are wonderful. Do you know, the way you’ve written these words will help to reassure other women who have been through the same experiences?

    I had what I call a traumatic birth with my son. He’s 3.5 years old and it’s only recently I’ve been willing to admit to myself I don’t feel my family is complete.

    In my case, he was overdue so induced, but the induction failed so Friday morning we were wheeled to surgery. Blink, and I would’ve missed it. It was so far from anything I would have ever hoped for in terms of his birth, that I sat beating myself up about it for s good year afterwards. I was HUGE, not like my new-found NCT friends who bounced back to their original shapes pretty quickly.
    But, 3.5 years on, meditation and yoga has helped me realise my own body strength, I’m starting to see a difference in myself and my confidence, and now we’re willing to entertain the idea of having a second child.
    I’ve still got some way to go before we actively start trying to conceive, but I’ve already spoken to my GP to ensure there IS support available unlike last time.
    Suzzy recently posted…The importance of authenticity in interiorsMy Profile

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    • Honest Mum

      Oh Suzzy I’m so sorry you had a tough time as I did, I really felt the counsellor helped me so much, he gave me an emotional first aid kit and I went on to have a happy pregnancy and elective. Thank you so much for sharing your story and I’m wishing you all the best, things can be totally different with your subsequent pregnancy, don’t let your first stop you xx

      Reply
  11. Katie / Pouting In Heels

    The best post you have ever written Vicki. Isn’t it always the way, when we speak from the heart. It takes real courage to write such a post, baring your soul is hard enough to just a few people, never mind the online world! But you’ve done a brilliant thing here, because not only have you helped yourself by writing this (I’ve no doubt it was hard but you felt it needed to be written) but also, you’ve made things ‘real’ for the thousands of women out there who have gone or are going through something similar right now. I’m so sorry you had such a rotten time of it at the beginning but you know from these experiences, does strength really grow. Well done lovely. Very well done indeed. xxx

    Reply
    • honestmum

      Thanks darling, that means a lot, most definitely the hardest post I’ve ever written but I was so incredibly touched by the emails and comments here and on social media I received from many who felt as I did, or still do that this has helped in a small way. Thank you for your kind words x

      Reply
  12. Jess Mrs Puddleducky

    What a beautiful post, a story many I suspect can relate to. I for one. I too had an emergency c section and the beginning of my sons life and my maternity leave tainted with the aftermath of a traumatic birth and the fact I couldn’t breastfeed made it even worse. I definitely had PTSD and PND, I still do. But life is great and I’m lucky to have not one but two little treasures in my life. How lucky I am x
    Jess Mrs Puddleducky recently posted…Back to School FeelingsMy Profile

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    • honestmum

      Oh Jess I am sorry to read this and hope you have support, sending you lots of love and hear if you want to talk, mean that xx

      Reply
  13. Jessica Powell

    I relate so much to this – I had to have a crash section too and it’s just something I’d never considered could happen once I’d reached full term. Afterwards I felt guilty for finding it so hard to deal with because my baby was okay and that’s supposed to be all that matters… Reading other people’s experiences helped me a lot, to know I wasn’t alone. Although it didn’t seem it at the time, I was lucky that my partner lost his job just after M was born – I had to go back to work when she was 8 weeks so I had some of ‘my life’ back to focus on. x

    Reply
    • honestmum

      Thanks Jessica for this, so important to know you are not alone, I’m sorry you had a tough time too and glad you had your life to get back to when you needed normality, completely relate xx

      Reply
  14. susankmann

    I remember discussing this with you on DM and you know how nervous I was going into have Aria. It’s so difficult and births leave you with a traumatic feeling. Glad you could talk about it x
    susankmann recently posted…Day At the Beach – Silent Sunday Week 33My Profile

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  15. Penny

    What a difficult post this must have been to write, even after all this time has passed.

    “oh the irony of needing to feel strong to admit weakness that you had the strength to reach out for help” – it is indeed the biggest of ironies. I’m glad you had the strength to reach out to your family though, and that you came through the darkest of tunnels ok.

    Your blog is a great testament to your strengths both then and now and I’m sure someone somewhere will read this post and take heart from your words.

    All the very best to you.
    Penny recently posted…Spice Road Table Review: Epcot World ShowcaseMy Profile

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  16. ali

    beautiful words, time is a healer and I hope you found this really cathartic to write. I was so worried about the isolation and not having the work buzz on maternity leave with my third child as in between my second and third I achieved so much; a degree, passing my driving test, finding a career I loved, and the thought of being on my own all day with a baby frightened the pants off me so I started Mum in a Nutshell and haven’y had an ounce of the things I worried about. The power if blogging is amazing!
    ali recently posted…Living Arrows – AugustMy Profile

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    • honestmum

      The power of blogging is incredible isn’t it, I’m so glad you didn’t feel lost because of your blog, I wish I’d found mine earlier although not sure I would have felt strong enough at the start to have started a blog. Well done on all your achievements darling x

      Reply
  17. Becky | Spirited Puddle Jumper

    Oh Vicki, this was so sad to read, but you are obviously such a strong person and I’m sure your story will be inspirational and give hope to other mums who have recently gone through a similar traumatic experience. Big hugs to you xx (PS am having a mammouth blog catch up after taking several weeks off, just in case you think it’s weird if I comment on a post from a while ago!) x

    Reply
    • honestmum

      I don’t think it’s weird at all lovely, always fab to hear from you, thank you for your kind words, it was a tough time but I’m so glad I got it down on the blog, I’ve been moved to tears by the comments here and on social media and hope it helps many women, much love x

      Reply
  18. Nikki Frank-Hamilton

    Vicki, congrats to you, you were strong enough-for yourself, Oliver and your family. Thanks for your words, we all struggle to be enough, and it helps to know that we are not alone. xoxo
    Nikki Frank-Hamilton recently posted…Silent Sunday 8/09/2015My Profile

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  19. Mama and More aka Zaz

    Oh Vicki, from the moment I began to read this I felt tears come welling up and memories flooding back of the turbulent time after my girl’s birth. We are failed in the early months of our baby’s lives by society building us up into uber strong women who can never ask for help, neither in careers, buying swanky shoes or when we so need it in the early months after childbirth, especially traumatic ones. I remember so clearly smiling and feeling like it was a mask, and amazed that no-one could see the desperation in my eyes. Oscar winning we are! You write so movingly and this came straight from the heart. I feel for you, for those months, yet how wonderful that you were able to be in your family’s arms within the year. Your boys know that they have a strong and passionately loving mother, how very blessed they are. Xxx
    Mama and More aka Zaz recently posted…All About You Link Party – Live for 2 Weeks!My Profile

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    • honestmum

      Oh Zaz I am sorry to hear you felt like that too, you are so right about the mask and we do deserve oscars, I wish we had each other then, thank you for your touching words, love and friendship xx

      Reply
  20. Mirka Moore @Kahanka @Fitness4Mamas

    Right, first of all, I am so sorry to be reading this only now, but as you know when I am on holiday in the Czech Republic, I really don’t do much work and kind of try to escape from the world of blogging, social media…. but I still do keep in touch with my favourites and you are my best as you know xxx
    You have mentioned a traumatic birth to me before, but this post really opens my eyes and explains what happened and feel so sorry for you hun. I was super lucky both times, had 2 dream water births and everything always went according to the plan. I know I was lucky as a few of my close friends had traumatic births, and I know these often happen. I had tough times like you after giving birth as my family and hubby could only help first 2 weeks, then I was all alone with baby Isabelle. Hubby always worked very long hours, and I was also lost. My family back in the Czech Republic, so who really helped me to keep sane were my friends from antenatal classes who have been there for me alway until today. I also started blogging when Isabelle was tiny, and letting the steam out that way really helped me to adjust to the world of parenting.
    A very emotional post to read, and of course made em cry. Really hope we will make it to see you and your family in September xxx love you xxx
    Mirka Moore @Kahanka @Fitness4Mamas recently posted…Big Box of Good #GoodDeliveryMy Profile

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    • honestmum

      Oh darling thank you and sorry to make you cry, you are such a great friend, I wish I’d known you then and we could have helped one another, sending you so much love, thank you sis xx

      Reply
  21. Michelle Reeves (The Essex Barn)

    Darling Vicki I’m so proud of you for finally writing this post. I know that you’ve always wanted to keep Honest Mum positive and upbeat but the emotion in this post will resonate with so many who, like me, have also had traumatic births and gone on to have therapy as a result. Thank you for sharing this and showing that we’re not alone and that there is a way through to the light. Wiping the tears away as I type this. Much love xx #brilliantblogposts
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    • honestmum

      Oh Michelle, thank you darling, I cried reading your words, I am so glad I finally wrote this, thank you for your support and inspiration to get this on the page, it was so cathartic for me, much love x

      Reply
  22. Sarah

    Your post, and the comments that have been left, show how different reality is for so many people compared to what we are lead to expect from childbirth. My 1st child is now 10. I really wish I had had access to blogs and recounts like this when I had him, I believe it would have made a real difference to me. I am sure your post will make a huge difference to someone out there x
    Sarah recently posted…Getting kids doing choresMy Profile

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    • honestmum

      I feel exactly the same Sarah, blogs were not that accessible when I was going through trauma, well I didn’t really knew they were out there, it would have helped, when I finally started my own when Oliver was 10 months I instantly connected with other mums who were experiencing what I was, that combined with moving close to my family really helped me gain the confidence to demand I was referred for counselling. I am sorry you experienced a tough time too xx

      Reply
  23. Hannah

    Thank-you!
    I’m in my 9th Month after having my 1st son.
    This post was me, is me, thank god I’m not the only one!!
    After a traumatic induced labour & “crash section” in which I also heamorraged & lost a lot of blood,my son was born.. all 10lb7oz of him!!
    I was sore & disoriented, nurses telling me to feed every two hours, my milk not coming in properly so I was having to feed then go on a breast pump, then try to sleep in between amongst answering reams of questions, tablets, toilet trips & blood pressure readings…. I just wanted to be left alone, to enjoy my beautiful son.
    But then after being discharged, what did I do now??? My husband hadn’t been in his job long enough to get paternity leave, so he was straight back to work, my parents a half hour drive that I couldn’t make because of the c-section, I had gotten my wish, I was all alone!
    There have been many times I have sat looking over my sleeping son in his moses basket, after what seemed an age of crying to get to him to that sleep & just cried, silent tears of exhaustion, tears of anxiety…..was I failing as a mother?? Was I doing the right things?

    Now when everyone compliments me on what a happy, sociable boy he is, what a lovely character he has, I still don’t quite believe that I managed to even get this far!!!
    But thanks to my wonderful neighbour & friend Jo, for holding me up when I had little strength left,My mother for always being on the end of the phone & ready to take my son if I need a break, and of course my awesome husband who even after a hard days work, will just come home & crack on with the housework if I haven’t had chance to do it, or cook the tea if I’ve totally lost track of time,I’ve managed to make it thus far & after I’ve got rid of this terrible bulging disk in my back which causes me daily pain….I might just start to feel like myself against soon!!!
    Thank you Vicki for giving me the courage to write this x

    Reply
    • honestmum

      Oh Hannah, I have tears in my eyes reading this because I understand what you are going through and a tough birth causing long lasting effects and having a baby is hard enough without trauma and it’s so common. You are right we have a baby then we’re out into the world without enough support to deal with the bad birth, I really wish there was readily available support systems in place for us. Please never fear asking for help if you feel you need it or want to talk to a counsellor, much love x

      Reply
  24. Haidee@Maybe Baby Brothers

    That does sound very difficult Vicki, I’m glad you sought counselling to help you through that trauma as lots of women just keep that bottled up. Glad your second was easier! #brillinatblogposts
    Haidee@Maybe Baby Brothers recently posted…The Anti-Fitness QueenMy Profile

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    • honestmum

      Thank you so much, often it’s easier to go into survival mode but I’m glad I found the strength eventually to ask for help and hope this might help other women too x

      Reply
  25. Emma's Mamma

    Aw well done for sharing and for reaching out for help! I had a traumatic birth and felt really inadequate for almost the first year as well. I never even dared to think it was PND but looking back I know it must have been. One of my new mum friends who gave birth 4 days before me suffered from PND too so it was great knowing I wasn’t alone. Great post xx #brilliantblogposts

    Reply
    • honestmum

      Thank you Emma yes PND and PTSD are common yet not talked about enough, it took a long time for a medical professional to tell me I had dealt with post traumatic stress, I hope this posts helps naturalise both and helps others seek help. I hope you are OK now, much love x

      Reply
  26. Mummy Fever

    Really interesting read. Thank you for sharing. My first birth was also very traumatic and it is not something i have ever written down, just shared snippets I guess. My much easier second birth in water healed me for a while but births 3 and 4 were both much more like the first. For me, every day i look at my babies i know i worked bloody hard to get them all here safely and i never take that for granted. Hit by a bus doesn’t really sum it up does it? #brilliantblogposts
    Mummy Fever recently posted…While you were sleepingMy Profile

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    • honestmum

      You are so right, really is tough giving life isn’t it, I hope you are OK now and I’m sorry you had a tough time too x

      Reply
  27. Leigh - Headspace Perspective

    Oh Vicki, sending a huge hug. The support women get compared to what they need after a traumatic birth isn’t good enough and can have long – lasting devastating consequences. The struggles I had after Hugo died were unacceptable. It can take a lot of courage to ask for help, so to be knocked back….and asking for help, as you rightly say, is crucial. Thank you for being so honest about how much of a struggle it was for you – and for giving hope to others by showing it’s possible to move forward and emerge from the fog. Much love xxxx
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    • honestmum

      Oh Leigh, absolutely, It breaks my heart how unsupported you were,how could you be knocked back?! Did you change GP’s? I hate that we have to demand for care when we feel at our weakest. We all need and have a right to the best care, physically and emotionally, I sending much love, am always here for you and hope you are receiving better support now. I am so, so sorry for all you have been through xx

      Reply
  28. Tracey Abrahams (The Anxious Dragon)

    Like you, I had a very traumatic first birth which lead to post natal depression. I wish there was more support for mums who have had difficult births.

    Reply
  29. zoe dunn

    A beautiful post that will reach many who are suffering in silence. I only wish I’d found a post like this when I had PND. To not feel so isolated would have been the greatest gift back then. Well done for being so brave. #brilliantblogposts
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    • honestmum

      Oh Zoe, that makes me so sad, I know how you feel, I felt so utterly alone while suffering from the trauma, not knowing where to turn and what to say, I hope you are well now, much love x

      Reply
  30. Vicki Montague - The Free From Fairy

    Oh gosh. I know your pain…not the traumatic birth thankfully, but the feeling of removal from the tiny thing that was promised to bring great joy. I still feel guilty for the feelings I had towards Roo. She cried with colic day and night until finally someone listened and did allergy tests. Despite me feeding her and removing dairy from my diet, nothing made her better until she went on a dairyfree milk. I wish like you I had asked for help for myself. I see it clearly now that I had pnd but was too ‘strong’ and proud to admit it. I really hope your post helps others. I bet it was cathartic writing it? I know it was when I wrote about Roo’s coeliac diagnosis. Keep up the fab writing x
    Vicki Montague – The Free From Fairy recently posted…Introducing…Gluten Free B & A Gluten-free Malt Loaf!My Profile

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    • honestmum

      Oh Vicki, I totally relate and I am so sorry your suffered too, we must stop the guilt though, we didn’t choose to feel this way, nor did they, a traumatic birth followed by colic and no sleep was so tough, my Mum tells me my brother was allergic to dairy and how hard it was then to get this diagnosed. Colic is horrendous, that constant crying, you endured so much too, we must be kind to ourselves. I hope you feel much better now, much love x

      Reply
  31. wendy

    Such a honest, beautiful post. I am sure there are many women feeling how you felt and this post will give them hope. Thank you for hosting #brilliantblogposts xx

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    • honestmum

      Thank you Wendy, that means a lot, my purpose of writing this was to help others who might feel how I did, then x

      Reply
  32. Mama, My Kid Doesn't Poop Rainbows

    Fantastic and brave post. The more we can talk about these issues the more we can remove the stigmatism and allow other women in the same position to feel like they can seek help. Thanks for sharing, and for hosting #brilliantblogposts
    Mama, My Kid Doesn’t Poop Rainbows recently posted…A One Year Old Smart AleckMy Profile

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  33. Christine Kenny

    Beautiful and so honest. Thank you for sharing such a traumatic time of your life and not leaving out the bad parts. Well done on you for getting through it and coming out stronger on the other side. #brilliantblogposts
    Christine Kenny recently posted…July FavouritesMy Profile

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    • honestmum

      Thank you Christine, it wasn’t easy and it’s taken a long time to get it on the page but I’m glad I did, thank you for your kind words x

      Reply
  34. Laura's Lovely Blog

    Thank you for sharing this I have been debating writing about my own experience with my first son, but not sure I am ready. I actually think there should be PTSD counselling offered to some new mums, nothing was ever offered to me and I struggled for months with what happened. People need to understand it’s ok to feel like that and how to cope. Thank you again x
    Laura’s Lovely Blog recently posted…My Experience of Reactive ArthritisMy Profile

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    • honestmum

      I agree with you, I wish that was available and the signs were easier to spot, I hope this posts helps others know they are not alone and must ask for help xx

      Reply
  35. Lara

    It sounds like you had a difficult time. It’s hard enough as it is without further complications. But you were tough and got through it so well done to you!

    Reply
  36. Lottie Lomas

    I’m so sorry to hear that you went through that. It must have been a very hard time for you. On a very different scale, I had a tough first birth and a much easier second, and it really does effect how you bond with each of those babies. Thanks for this, and for #brilliantblogposts.
    Lottie Lomas recently posted…Facebook v TwitterMy Profile

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    • honestmum

      Thank you Lottie, I fell in love with Oliver the minute I held him but I definitely didn’t feel myself for that first year and it saddens me I was surviving day to day rather than being the fun mum I was later but I’ve come to terms with it, we must be kind to ourselves and know we didn’t choose to feel that way, thank you for your comment, I am so sorry you had a tough birth with your first too x

      Reply
  37. Claire at Life Love and Dirty Dishes

    Beautifully and honestly written. I was rushed to theatre with my first son and prepared for a c section. I was given a chance with forceps and managed to avoid the section. It wasn’t traumatic. A bit scary. But. It wasn’t what I had planned. It wasn’t how I imagined. I somehow felt like I had failed. My second son was a natural birth and like you I felt in control and like you it healed some of those feelings from my first birth. #brilliantblogposts
    Claire at Life Love and Dirty Dishes recently posted…Family Holidays: The PackingMy Profile

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    • honestmum

      I’m sorry you had a scary experience, we do have an image in our head how things will be, I’m glad we both got a good second experience, thanks for your comment x

      Reply
  38. Catie

    A very brave and honestly written account. It is amazing how many women have suffered post birth and when you have opened up I’m sure you have helped many people. #brilliantblogposts
    Catie recently posted…Photo story: A special Holiday in TurkeyMy Profile

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