Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Labor PTSD

PTSD is defined as  a mental health condition that's triggered by a terrifying event — either experiencing it or witnessing it. Symptoms may include flashbacks, nightmares and severe anxiety, as well as uncontrollable thoughts about the event. 

It’s taken some time for me to realize it, but I have PTSD from labor. And I don’t think it happened right away. I LOVED the labor experience- I would boast to anyone who asked about it how amazing it was, how crazy strong the woman body is, how proud I was of myself. And then I got pregnant again….for the first little while I was so so excited to be able to experience labor again! To feel that magic and to work one on one with God to bring another little life into this world. And then the weeks ticked by faster and faster, sometimes so fast I felt like I couldn’t catch up. Time was going too fast for me, I wasn’t given time to prepare, to mentally prepare for this all. I think it’s a mix between being incredibly nervous to have a newborn baby and an 18 month old, and nervous (that word doesn’t even begin to describe what I’m feeling) to have to do labor again. 

Being nervous to have a newborn baby and a toddler is a whole other story, but labor. Man, i don’t even know where to begin. Every time I even get close to thinking about labor or heading to the hospital, my stomach drops and I want to puke. I want time to stop because I know each day is one more day closer to my water breaking and then I won’t be able to do anything about it. It’s sad really, I’ve gotten to the point where I almost forget about the fact that me going into labor means I get to meet my daughter!! How sad is that? That is supposed to be my motivation! Yet, my fears and anxiety about labor are overshadowing that excitement. 

For those of you that didn’t read Milan’s birth story, I unexpectedly had to do a natural birth with pitocin. I had no breaks in between contractions and was told I couldn’t receive the epidural when I was dilated to a 7. This was not part of the plan. My labor was scary-I spent every single moment terrified, full of self doubt. I couldn’t deliver natural, I just couldn’t…this pain was way too much. I started to give up in my mind-mentally I checked out and wanted to give up. Luckily our bodies don’t really let us give up in the middle of labor and it forced me to push and I was blessed with a perfect baby girl. However, labor was the furthest thing from what I thought/wanted it to be. It was not peaceful, it was not magical (for me at least), it was not beautiful. It was pure terrifying. But luckily every second after Milan was placed on my chest was magical and beautiful and calm. 

This pregnancy I told myself labor would be better because I could prepare. I would read up on different methods to handle pain (hypnobirthing, bradley, ect). Except there’s one problem. I can’t search/read/look at anything labor related without sweating and going into a panic. This is all so new to me. And at this point I really don’t know what to do. Now I’m into my third trimester and I haven’t read a single thing. I try my best to avoid the topic of labor at all. I like to pretend that if I don’t think about it, it won’t come. 

I have a meeting with the anesthesiology team at this new hospital I’m delivering at coming up to go over different options/risks. If everyone could say a tiny prayer that I get good news that would mean so much to me! I really really want to love labor again! 


  1. Have you ever thought of a doula? My cousin had one and love her!

  2. Yes! This post! Thank you for writing this because this is exactly what I'm dealing with too (obviously with different circumstances as each labor is different) and I often feel like I'm alone. My husband doesn't seem to get it because in his mind labor went great but in my mind I'm terrified and anxious every single day about it. I hope and pray that you're able to get some good news and make the end of your pregnancy leading up to labor a bit less stressful.

  3. Thank you SO much for this post! As we are planning #2 in the next few months (my daughter is currently almost 4 months) I have been experiencing the same feeling. I had a natural birth also with pitocin and while it was an incredible experience and I feel so empowered I am also breaking at the fact that I am going to do it again. Since I was planning on a natural birth I did have an amazing doula, but I also took an online course call the Calm Birth School…it's online based in London and they have a "Fear Release" mp3 that is AMAZING! I will be listening to that once I get pregnant again and cannot recommend it enough! They even have a private Facebook groups as well which has been a huge support group! Thank you again for your post, I'm so relieved and happy to know I'm not the only one who was feeling like this! xo Kate