Suffering From Anxiety After Childbirth

With having such an easy pregnancy with my first child, Finlay who is now 2 years old, it came as quite a shock when the birth didn’t exactly go to plan.

To cut a long story short, it was long, confusing, and I lost a lot of blood (2 Litres). It was quite a traumatic experience, and it took a long time to fully recover. I had a 2nd degree tear, severe anaemia – my HB level was about 7.2, it should be around 12-14.

After this experience and the initial recovery, we were then faced with our little one being diagnosed with GBS ( I have written about that here). So what had already been quite a distressing experience, just shy of 2 weeks later we were faced with the most worrying time of our lives. Add the two of them together, and I was left in a little bit of a state.

It took me a long time to figure out that maybe I wasn’t my usual self, and it took me about a year to finally admit defeat and seek help. For a long time I had been telling myself that I would get over it, and soon be back to my normal self. Plus I also felt a bit silly, I mean there are much worse things that can happen, a lot of people suffer with bad (and much worse) births and all sorts of different problems. I guess I just felt I was being a bit dramatic.

The reality of it was that I really was struggling. Behind the everyday emotions and trying to just troop through, I really feel I was in a bad place. I worried about Finlay ALL of the time. Now don’t get me wrong, every parent worries, it’s just a natural instinct. However my worrying was extreme, I had a thermometer in Finlays ear at least 3 times a day, I would get anxious about people holding him, or taking him into public places. I would take him to the doctor over the smallest cough, mild temperature, any little thing I felt he had I would take him to a doctor about. I kept constantly replaying Finlays birth in my head, and would get flashbacks of all the doctors and midwifes frantically trying to stop the bleeding.

October the following year came and this is when I knew I needed to seek some help. We went on our first holiday abroad to Mallorca. It was such a wonderful holiday, but was soon darkened when we had to come home. I’ve always been a bit anxious flying, but nothing dramatic, I was able to get on with it quite easily. However on our return flight, I completely lost it. We hit a little turbulence going over the Alps, and I completely lost control and had a panic attack. My eyes were blurring, I couldn’t stop asking the flight attendants whether we were going to be ok, I was crying and quite literally out of control. I have never acted this way in my life, I have no idea what came over me! Whether it was because I had Finlay travelling with us for the first time, or the fact we hit quite bad turbulence, I just have no idea! Now when I look back on it, I really do feel quite embarrassed.

After that episode I decided enough was enough and that I need to go to the doctors. He came to the conclusion that I may have been struggling with PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder), I was then referred to a psychologist for an assessment, who then confirmed this.

I have since calmed down a lot, I worry no where near the amount I did. However I am now left with the fear of flying that is so severe, I now feel it impossible to get back on a plane, just the thought of it makes me get that familiar feeling of anxiety. It makes me so sad, I feel so selfish to deprive my family of lovely holidays as a result of this. I can only hope that sometime in the future that this subsides. We’ve been on holiday every single year, and now I cant see us going for a long time.

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Have you suffered anything similar as a result of a traumatic birth?

 

Chloe

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