This post deals with suicidal ideation and might be triggering for some readers.
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After what I can only describe as a barbaric birth experience, I watched a nurse mopping my blood off the floor and thought, "F**k you, hypnobirthing. Seriously. What the hell just happened?"
It was 2014. I had just birthed my first child, and it was nothing like I had imagined it would be.
Watch: Questions about childbirth, answered. Post continues below.
As a first-time mum, I had bought into the narrative that pregnancy, birth, and the 'fourth trimester' is a warm and fuzzy time that feels like love and smells like talcum powder.
My reality involved a drop in blood pressure so low I was convulsing. Terror as they held me down and started injecting things. Pain beyond description. Chills as I heard screams emanating from me; sounds I did not realise I could make. The instrument table. The pleading. The cutting. Blood on the floor. The vacuum that kept failing. The bruised baby. The haemorrhaging. The epidural needle that broke in my back and had to be removed later by a specialist with pliers.
I was completely unprepared for birth trauma.
Although the months leading up to my son’s birth were filled with preparation, nothing, absolutely nothing, prepared me for what unfolded.
I had attended antenatal classes where the other mums-to-be and I cooed over each other’s bellies, our partners rubbed our backs and reminded us to breathe. I learnt Baby First Aid and I did a hypnobirthing course, which included showing us a video of an ecstatic, 'orgasmic' birth and instructing us to listen to affirmations each night that promised each 'wave' would feel like a warm hug.
Not once was birth trauma mentioned. Not even as an unlikely possibility.
In fact, I had never even heard of the term 'birth trauma' until I was diagnosed with PTSD after my experience.