I Suffered From PTSD After Giving Birth To My Son

Getting pregnant after a year of marriage makes me and my husband very excited.  I was very confident that I was ready to be a mom.  We frequented my OB’s office to check how the baby is doing.  Months passed by quickly.   The day we’ve been excitedly waiting for finally came.

 

The Supposed To Be A Happy Day Turned Out To Be A Traumatic Day

Very vividly, I still can remember how the doctors suddenly became tensed and worried while we were in the delivery room.  My OB came to me and whispered that my baby’s condition is quite not beautiful.  My baby was born unconscious with his cord wrapped around his neck.  They urgently moved him to the NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit) and stayed there even after I was released from the hospital.

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We have to go back every day to check on him.  For days, my spirit was crushed seeing his condition.  This was not how I imagined things would be.  I can’t even hold him yet in my arms.  The closest we can get is to embrace the incubator he was in.  It pains me seeing him in there, wondering if he will still make it, but I have to endure.

 

His image in there is still very clear in my memory.  His tiny body with tubes and wires attached.  I could see him even in my sleep, and it left me crying in the middle of the night.

 

I Developed Trust Issues

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I was the happiest when he was released from the hospital after a month of fighting for his life.  It may look overacting, but I have to protect my son.  I was very detailed in everything, very particular and hands-on when it comes to his care.  I won’t even let just anyone near him.  My nightmares and fear of losing him turned me into this paranoid mom, afraid that I might lose him one day.

 

It Turned Out I Have A Posttraumatic Stress Disorder

I never thought that there is such a thing as trauma after giving birth.  My son’s pediatrician noticed how overprotective and paranoid I was when it comes to my son, that she talked to me about it.

 

Many new moms suffer from birth trauma due to various reasons, some of which could be

  • Extended time and painful delivery
  • Having to undergo emergent cesarean section
  • Use of forceps delivery or vacuum extraction
  • Having a baby with a disability
  • Baby being sent to NICU

 

What I went through could be enough reason to consider PTSD, but of course, I need to see a doctor to confirm.  My feelings (paranoia) that my son’s life is always under threat is a typical symptom.   The frequent nightmares and the self-blame that I might have done something during pregnancy are also determinants for the presence of PTSD.

 

How Was I Able To Recover?

I talked to my husband about what the pedia told me.   The next day, we visit a psychiatrist.  The psychiatrist said to me things that made me contemplate on my actions.  She was right when she told me that my relationship with my husband and other people around me would be affected by my PTSD.  And very true, sometimes, I find it hard to trust my husband when our son is left alone with him.  I know he felt upset by it sometimes, but he is being considerate of my feelings.

 

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I want to recover from the PTSD that I followed her advice to undergo counseling.  She had me meet with my OB and allowed me to ask the OB questions that are bothering me regarding my son’s condition.    The OB explained once again and precisely what happened, and assured me that my son would grow up a healthy boy, so there’s nothing I have to worry about.

 

Slowly, I recovered from the PTSD, although I’m not sure yet if I’m ready for another baby.  I am trying my best to be honest with my therapist, and she’s telling me it’s okay.  I just have to take it a day at a time.