Birth Trauma is Real Trauma

I remember having contractions that would stop and start all day for 4 very long days.

I remember waking up and thinking “oh I had a few strong ones last night”.

I remember getting out of bed and feeling that my waters had broken.

I remember taking two steps and *knowing* my waters had broken.

I remember seeing what can only be described as sludge instead of amniotic fluid.

I remember thinking I would need to have a section.

I remember bringing Alex to playschool as an only child.

I remember the contractions starting.

I remember the look of shock on the nurses face when they saw how much meconium I had in my waters.

I remembered the slight panic in their voices.

I remember the wonderful midwife and student midwife who cared for me.

I remember thinking that my body was going to break in half from the pain of the contractions.

I remember being told that after 7 hours of contractions (that were 30 seconds apart) that I hadn’t dilated from the 3cms that I was 5 days before.

I remember not having any pain relief as the hospital didn’t provide anything unless you were in dire straits.

I remember walking for an ultrasound and being doubled over on the floor during a contraction

I remember the doctor telling me that baby was back to back.

I remember getting something to relax me to try and help me dilate.

I remember thinking I was dying as the pain was horrendous.

I remember being examined an hour later and baby’s heart rate was dropping rapidly.

I remember being examined and there was blood everywhere.

I remember being told I was 10cm dilated but I was going to need a section.

I remember the panic and being told that Michael couldn’t come with me.

I remember the pain.

I remember having to be held down on the bed to get the spinal in as I couldn’t sit still from the horrendous pain.

I remember crying and begging and pleading for Michael to be allowed to come and help me, but he couldn’t.

I remember the doctor was unable to get baby out as baby was so stuck inside of my pelvis.

I remember being told she was a girl.

I remember the pediatrician telling me that she was okay.

I remember the nurse handing her to me and I had no clue what to do.

I remember being told it was okay to kiss her.

I remember the doctor telling me that they couldn’t stop the bleeding.

I remember seeing Michael 3 hours after Emma was born.

I remember meeting our little lady for the first time.

I remember the blood transfusions and the spinal headache in the following days.

I remember the nurse laughing at me when I started to cry because I bled all over the bathroom when I stood up.

I remember thinking that I had no right to feel this way because no matter how awful I felt as a result of the birth, I had a healthy baby and that is all that mattered.

I remember thinking that I was so traumatised by what had happened that there was no way on earth I was ever going to have another baby.

I remember thinking that I was never going to put myself through this again.

I remember being told that my experience was just as important as having a healthy baby.

I remember finding a birth trauma councillor who helped me validate my feelings and talk about what happened.

I remember the panic attacks when I was driving and the tears that would flow when I was on my own.

I remember looking at Emma and not knowing how she had gotten here.

I remember the heartache.

I remember a lot of work and talking and beginning to feel better.

I remember the flood of love I have for Emma.

I remember deciding that maybe having another baby wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world. In fact, maybe it may be a very healing experience.

Just because I had a healthy baby, doesn’t mean I didn’t experience birth trauma. Just because I agree with all the medical decisions that the doctor made, doesn’t mean that I don’t feel tremendous sadness and anxiety when I think about the day that Emma was born. Birth trauma, like most mental health issues, has a stigma attached to it because we should be happy that we have a healthy baby. How can a mum possibly come to terms with what has happened her and her body if society repeatedly tells us that we should be thankful and not complain?

Please speak up if you are going through a birth trauma. Find your tribe who can work with you and get you to a place of peace. Get your notes and have them reviewed by a professional. Seek help from a birth trauma specialist. Don’t suffer in silence, I promise you, it’s not worth it.

A wonderful source that I used (and can be accessed worldwide) is Mindful Birth





Mummy Times Two


  1. February 27, 2017 / 12:08 pm

    I’m sure this wasn’t am easy piece to write. Sounds like it’s not something you would want to relive and think about too often. I’ve heard that back-to-back is incredibly painful. So sorry it wasn’t a positive experience for you. I remember feeling anxious and scared during my first labour too. Horrible. Thankfully the subsequent labours were much less stressful. More painful but less stressful!

  2. February 27, 2017 / 12:17 pm

    Well done on being so open and sharing your story. It sounds like a terribly traumatic experience. I think so many women feel we can’t talk about how we ‘felt’ about the experience as we need to be grateful that we had a healthy baby at the end of it. I think the gratitude for our babies health and our own personal feeling are two separate thing and you describe that so well. I am glad that you got help and that you are speaking out. I have no doubt your story will be of great help to so many women!

  3. February 27, 2017 / 12:33 pm

    Sending a virtual hug to you, bless you. I had an awful c-section too where I almost bled to death and my daughter is healthy (ish) now but it was terrible. People are always so quick to say ‘you had a healthy baby’ as if that is all that matters. What about me? What about my mental health! Well done you for posting this, take care x

  4. February 27, 2017 / 12:41 pm

    Well done for putting your experience down on ‘paper’. It must have been difficult to write. It’s ok to feel like this. It’s ok to have found it traumatic, because it was. I wish it hadn’t been for you but all the feelings you have are normal. In an ideal world we’d all have straightforward normal uncomplicated births. As a midwife and a mum, I know people who have found ‘uncomplicated’ births traumatic too. It puts your body through the mill, and the whole thing can be so overwhelming.

    The main thing is you’ve recognised it and you asked for help. So many don’t ask for help. I mean it should be discussed postnatally but don’t get me started on that! A healthy baby is important but it’s not all that matters, mum’s matter too xx

  5. February 27, 2017 / 1:02 pm

    I’m sure this was a hard piece to write. It was also hard to read, particularly as I relate to so much of what you’ve said. I also had an emergency c-section (after 29 hours) and my daughter was back to back (and 10lb 3oz with no where to go). She was healthy and perfect, which I said was all I wanted but I’ve realised since that it goes so much deeper than that. The experience is part of the reason why I would never have more so I completely feel for you. Thank you for sharing. #postfromtheheart

  6. Ann Woodward
    February 27, 2017 / 1:09 pm

    So sorry that you experienced such a traumatic delivery and well done for being brave enough to put your feelings out there to help others. I am a retired midwife and fully agree that your experience is important. Best wishes x

  7. February 27, 2017 / 4:08 pm

    Sending so much love. Having ended up with two emergency c-sections and two healthy babies I can relate to everything you have written here. It’s frightening to feel out of control and as though our bodies fail us just when we most need them. I too remember screaming for my Other a Half as they wheeled me away. He even now says hearing me scream for him and knowing he couldn’t come was the worst part of the process. Time is a great healer, but without doubt we need to acknowledge what we have been through. Thank you so much for sharing this incredible post with us at #PostsFromTheHeart

  8. February 27, 2017 / 4:34 pm


    My first was traumatic as all get out- it didnt get better for a year at least and all that panic came rushing right back when I got pregnant with my second.

    This mothering is no freaking joke!


  9. February 27, 2017 / 6:47 pm

    My birth with Piglet was awful, and it is the main reason I am delaying thinking about having a second child #kcacols

  10. February 27, 2017 / 11:57 pm

    I think it’s awful your husband couldn’t be with you when you had the section. My wife had the baby in the bath at home and that was traumatic enough. #kcacols

  11. February 28, 2017 / 12:34 am

    I didn’t know birth trauma specialists existed. I wish I had done. I had such a horrendous birth with Erin and I’m definitely still not over it now and she’s 14m old. Thank you for this post.

  12. February 28, 2017 / 11:29 am

    Thank you so much for writing this. Just want to agree with everything you said… I had lots of panic attacks and was so helped talking to a birth trauma counsellor. I wrote to the hospital and had a meeting to review my medical notes – this was helpful too. My next birth – I was panicky preparing for it, but I was able to put some things in place to help me, and it was soooo smooth. Very healing. Hugs to you, I hope this post is all part of the healing process 🙂

  13. February 28, 2017 / 3:29 pm

    Well done and thank you for sharing this. I know how hard it is to write about these things. I still need to tackle the birth of my youngest but all in good time.
    Thanks again. Xx

  14. February 28, 2017 / 8:55 pm

    Thank you so much for sharing your story. I am so sorry you went through this. This was inhuman and uncalled for. I too had a traumatic birth – to the point it caused my baby to be in NICU for a week on oxygen as he couldnt breath unaided.
    Unfortunately, due to hubby working at the same hospital the complaint that we were recommended to make was an informal chat to the head of midwifery and the doctors and those involved were given a slap on the wrist.
    Im going to look at the website as I do think there is an element that I havent dealt with yet. Thank you again for sharing this. #PostsFromTheHeart

  15. March 2, 2017 / 12:22 am

    I’m crying reading this – I’m so traumatised by my sons birth 2.5 yrs ago I have regular nightmares and I’ve never come to terms with it. Only now am I waiting for counselling but I don’t think it’s specifically for birth trauma. May I need to seek specialist help. Thankyou for sharing, you aren’t alone, I’ve been there too xxxxx

  16. March 2, 2017 / 9:42 am

    Every mama deserves to have her planned perfect birth, and I’m so sorry you didn’t get yours. And while you do have a healthy baby and thank god for that, it’s also important that your feelings are validated. They are very real, and they matter. I completely understand. I hope that with your second baby you are able to have a much better experience and that it will help you heal. #postsfromtheheart

  17. March 2, 2017 / 10:12 pm

    That was such a powerful post to read. I didn’t experience birth trauma—it must be awful. Well done for seeking help. I hope your next birth is a much better experience #KCACOLS

  18. March 3, 2017 / 1:09 am

    Well done for managing to get this down. I had a similar birth with my eldest and didn’t manage to dilate to 10cm and had to have an emergency c-section. He was also stuck in my pelvis. it took me a good while to even think about the possibility of having another child but I did get there in the end.

    Thank you for sharing this with us and for linking up to #KCACOLS. I hope to see you back again on Sunday x

  19. March 3, 2017 / 7:02 am

    Wow. I’m glad you had a healthy little girl but no wonder you feel traumatized! I am so sorry it was like that! I’m glad you got help and are reaching out to others. Thank you for so bravely sharing.

    • Susan
      March 4, 2017 / 8:45 am

      thank you so much for reading. I think it is important to talk about our experiences, regardless if they are good or bad. It helps with processing it too. Thanks so reading x

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