Every mom wishes for an uneventful, safe, and easy labor and delivery experience. Unfortunately, not every mom gets one. I know, because I’ve experienced birth trauma first hand both times I gave birth. The first time, the trauma was triggered by preterm labor, followed by a chaotic hospital experience and the loss of my child. The second time, I was already undergoing Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) from the first pregnancy, and had a last minute home birth-to-hospital transfer. That traumatic birth completed changed my first year of motherhood once my son was born.
A birth is considered traumatic when you experience a significant amount of distress during labor and delivery, and/or when you experience physical injury due to childbirth. I am one of those unlucky few who experienced both. I was terrified at the end of my labor experience with my son. I didn’t know if he would be born alive or dead, if he was sick (which he was), and if he would make it (he did). When he was rushed to the NICU across town, I was devastated. My stress levels have never been higher than in his first two months in the hospital. Add to that severe vaginal tearing, and my first year of motherhood was anything but a "picnic."
So, how did all this trauma change my first full year of being a mom?