While not a lot of people realize this, childbirth, in general, isn’t always as magical as it’s expected to be. Of course, bringing life into the world is an amazing thing, that doesn’t mean it cannot sometimes be traumatic.
While only about 9 percent of women experience ‘Post-Partum Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder’ those who do know how damning it can feel. When it comes to childbirth there are a lot of things that can go wrong and whether that trauma is perceived or real, it can result in this kind of PTSD. According to PostPartum.net, it is more-so apparent when things like prolapsed cords occur, unplanned C-sections happen, or even certain equipment is needed to be used in order to get the baby out.
When someone goes through a severe complication or becomes injured as a result of childbirth they can go through this kind of PTSD. Some of the symptoms include things like flashbacks, nightmares, intrusive re-experiencing, hypervigilance, anxiety, and even panic attacks. While it is temporary, it can make you feel like there is something wrong with you in a big way. It is important when facing this kind of thing to keep in mind that it’s not your fault and it doesn’t mean you’re ‘crazy’ or ‘broken.’
Postpartum PTSD is not a specific diagnosis in the DSM-V; it is a subset of the diagnosis of PTSD itself. In a postpartum woman, the trauma in question could be a negative perception of the birthing process, but previous traumas, such as a history of sexual abuse, can also qualify for the diagnosis of postpartum PTSD. The diagnosis requires the presence of 4 categories of symptoms. The first is persistent re-experiencing of the trauma, which can play out as dreams, thoughts, or flashbacks. Second is avoidance of stimuli associated with the trauma. For example, a patient may avoid the hospital where she gave birth to avoid the feelings she had during the delivery.
Third, the patient should display negative changes in mood and cognition, such as the inability to remember details of the event, a depressed state of mind, feelings of detachment from others, and exaggerated negative views of the world. Patients often present with depressed mood and, as Dr. Baxi explains, “they are often misdiagnosed to have postpartum depression.” However, the treatment is different and, thus, it is important to understand the nuances of the two diseases.
The final category is an increase in arousal and reactivity. Patients often describe sleep changes and an inability to concentrate. Some women present with irritability and self-destructive behavior. To fulfill the criteria for PTSD, a patient must have symptoms that are clinically distressing for more than one month.
If you or someone you know is going through this please be aware that there is help. Medication management and therapy can work wonders in regards. Working through the trauma that was faced is crucial when it comes to moving on from it. You should not feel any kind of shame for not enjoying the act of birthing itself, even for those who don’t suffer complications it is usually painful and stressful on a very intense and deep level.
For more information on this kind of thing please check out the video below. Just because it’s not widely discussed doesn’t mean it isn’t happening to women across the globe. You are not alone and if you need help, please take the time to seek it out.