Over the last two years, different people have asked me about CJ's birth. That is one of the first things a new mom asks you at a playdate when you have a young baby. “How was your birth?” It seems like such a simple question. I would always shrug it off and say, “Well, it was kind of tough.” and leave it at that. Even with my OB/GYN at my yearly physical (she wasn't my doctor when I gave birth) I would abbreviate everything. My description of my birth would sound something like this “Uhmmm... well I was induced but it didn't go very well and uhmmm I eventually had an emergency C-section and... there were some complications...”. I'd always end it with, “But CJ and I are both fine now” and add a smile. I will never tell a pregnant woman my birth story. Those who have asked I've told, “Well, what happened to me isn't the norm and I don't want to scare you, so I'll tell you when you are done giving birth”.
So for two years, I've kept silent. I've pretended that anytime I think about my son's birth I don't immediately get chills. I've pretended that I can't vividly remember what it felt like when the doctor cut into my stomach. I've pretended that I don't remember feeling completely violated by doctors and nurses and midwives. I've pretended that I didn't almost die. I've pretended that I can't remember the horrified look on the doctor's face when I casually mentioned that I felt a crackle in my chest every time I took a breath. I've pretended not to remember the nights spent away from my newborn son. I've pretended not to remember the nurse telling me I wouldn't be able to breastfeed because I'd been separated for to long. I've pretended that I don't have nightmares at least once a week.
And I just can't pretend anymore.
When I was in the Army, I was a Mental Health Specialist. My main job was to treat soldiers with Post-traumatic stress disorder. I could recognize the signs right away - nightmares, shaking, flashbacks, denial. Yet I kept trying to lie to myself about what I was feeling and I just can't anymore. I am shaking right this second, covered in goosebumps, trying very hard not to cry as I write this out. I hope that finally getting all of this out of my head might help in some way.
Part of me feels ashamed. How could I be traumatized by the act that gave me the most perfect creature I've ever known? How can I not just be thankful that I'm still alive? I remind myself how lucky I am, since childbirth used to be the number one killer of women.
I am thankful. I am thankful for my son, my life, and my family.
This doesn't change the facts. I desperately want to have another baby. Hubby and I planned from day one on a huge family. Yet the idea of actually giving birth makes my stomach get all tied up in knots, goosebumps appear, and my hands start to shake. I pray daily that I will be blessed with another child. I pray daily for the courage to endure another labor. I pray that if I am blessed with another pregnancy, I will have the courage and the strength to be in charge of my own body and not allow things to escalate out of hand again. What else can I do?Pin It