It is Birth Trauma Awareness Week. Wait! All you men disappearing away from this page…don’t run away. Now, I know that this page is all about positivity, but it would be a bit weird if a site which began all because of a traumatic birth, didn’t mention Birth Trauma Awareness Week. I’m not the page for graphic birth horror stories, or grim details. If you want to see that, then please head over to the section on my website where my diaries from the time are published. That’s the nitty gritty side of it all, and which will give an insight for some into what it is really, truly like to be trying to cope with horrific birth trauma injuries, a new stoma, a newborn baby and the mental health impact. The sad fact is, that nearly every woman you speak to has suffered a trauma in some way as a result of their birth. That’s right – nearly every woman. You don’t have to have the “on paper” horrific birth like me, to have the right to describe your birth experience as traumatic. Giving birth is a scary time, let’s not deny it.
But! Since my dark days (months, years) there has been such a huge increase in awareness around this subject, so many organisations springing up to support women, and their families. This is extremely heartening, and I am thankful for each and every person who works in any capacity to make this happen. However, I personally think that there is not enough focus on the women who go on to thrive. The women who do go on to have full, active, healthy HAPPY lives. The women who, like me, suffered such crippling post natal depression, their child, in my words “might as well have been a potato for the first 7 months”, but who are able, too, to develop the fierce, intense, overpowering love for their child that everyone else has in those first months. When you are in the grip of a mental health crisis, with painful and embarrassing physical problems, together with the challenge of looking after a baby/small child, you cannot see anything in front of you but darkness. You forget that, actually, women are resilient. We are strong. We can overcome things. Truly overcome and get better, not just put a mask on and pretend to be happy for the sake of the feelings of other people around you, for the sake of the child you have self-imposed pressure to feel happy in front of. I am TRULY happy. There is no longer a mask, and I felt it was time to create a blog and website to give voice to the happiness that is possible, for the women (and their families) who are unable to hear the beat of the drums of their own strength pulsating deep inside.
So for me, Birth Trauma Awareness Week is about raising awareness of what is possible after birth trauma. To give hope to those in the darkness. I won’t throw clichés around (other than the ones I just have), or post a filtered picture of domestic maternal joy. All I’ll do is show it by my actions and my broad smile that you will get there in the end.
Please help me to spread this message of hope by sharing my page. A simple click, a press of the share button, and it may end up on the timeline of a woman in tears over her cup of tea, or the inbox of someone wondering how to show their partner that things will get better in the end.